Robert Gilbert, ex GM and Sommelier at Moto is looking for a job.
Anyone in food and wine in Chicago, and indeed most of our industry across the country will know of the circumstances surrounding the last days and months of Moto. What many people may not know is that there are still quite a few members of the Moto team looking for jobs commensurate with the talents they brought to and developed at this unique restaurant.
When Bobby came to our warehouse recently we reflected on our long history working together while we talked about the future. I quickly realized that thanks to the technical acumen of most everyone associated with the restaurant, Bobby has a unique library of photos and videos that include some truly creative pairings of Candid Wines. I also realized, to my surprise, that a Bobby is in a unexpectedly difficult position: Despite the fact that as GM he guided an utterly unique restaurant through the worst of times and managed to keep the team moving forward fast enough to maintain it’s Michelin star, he is not yet thirty years old, and Moto is the only FOH job he has ever had. (Seriously – look at his resume on Culinary Agents) The result is that he is having some trouble finding a job on par with this skills.
And so we’d like to suggest that you or someone you know in the Chicagoland area with a kick-ass concept, chef and beverage program #HireBobbyG!. You can find him on Twitter at @rmcuz14 and on Instagram at @rmcuz.
Of course, this is not asking for sympathy or charity – Bobby is a pro and we were honored that he selected so many of our wines to be served along side Chefs Farina and Cantu’s food over the years. In particular, Bobby and the whole team at Moto were long time supporters of Turner-Pageot, finding uses for many of the wines. What follows are Bobby’s memories of pairing the 48H with Chef Farina’s “Spring Log” dish that Manu Pageot and I were happy to enjoy at the restaurant in 2014.
Beverage, wine pairings, and food!
Wine Pairings are one of the parts of my job that I miss the most. The whole reason I love this industry is the ability to make food and beverage pairings shape the entire way you experience a meal. There are certain nuances that a wine can pull out of a dish, even some that the chef, never expects to be there, and vice versa. Being able to find these flavors can seem like sorcery to some people. They always ask, “What goes through you mind when pairing a dish?” Or simply, “How the hell did you even come up with that?!” Either way, I know I have changed the way people experience food and wine.
It’s exciting to see people’s reactions when they combine that perfect bite, with that delicate sip of wine. Something happens; they experience what a pairing can truly be. They suddenly understand the subtle different variables that we, the somms, are talking about. It is truly an awe inspiring moment. In my opinion it’s on par with your first roller coaster ride… or something just as exciting (maybe more.)
I’m sure all of my industry friends have that one story, when you found or tried the perfect pairing. Every time you find one it’s amazing and you have that sense of pride like you just made a hole in one, even it isn’t your own pairing.
I want to take you through some of my favorite pairings. We are going to start with what I believe was my first hole in one; Moto restaurant’s Spring log course created by Richie Farina. This was one of my favorite courses for a very long time. It was made to look like a fallen log in the forest with moss and other stuff growing out of it.
The Log course, which evolved into different seasons with the same idea, earth and mushrooms. The Spring Log course was a piece of salsify that chef prepared to look like a fallen log. If you have not tried salsify, you absolutely should, it’s like a less starchy potato and can hold great flavor. Chef marinated the salsify with herbs and soy to give it almost a jerky like flavor. Underneath was a cremini mushroom puree and dehydrated cremini “dirt.” Then it was garnished with wild mushrooms, chrones, and anything else that was earthy and in season. We often marinated portions of it in vinegar to brighten up the dish.
When I was pairing this I wanted to come up with something really fun and could highlight and brighten up the dish. The obvious answer was to go with a Burgundy, because nothing screams earth like an old world pinot noir, but that was too easy. Luckily, Candid Wines, always has very interesting wines, and they helped me take this in a very interesting direction.
Candid brought to my attention Turner Pageot’s 48 Hours. 48H is a rosé blend of Grenache and Syrah, but not your normal style of rosé, because the Grenache is allowed to macerate on the skins for 48 hours, hence the 48H. This gave the wine more structure, and a very slight tannic value. This was the wine I was looking for.
Turner Pageot always has had an interesting take on how to produce their wines, and 48H is not expected. This is a bold rosé, with a beautiful earthy flavors, that you would never expect from just looking at the wine. Despite its rich earthy flavors, it still holds on to the bright fruity quality that are known to rosé wines. This helps brighten up the dish and compliments with the components of the dish that are cooked with vinegar.
This is one of my favorite pairings because it pushed myself to think outside the box and not go with the easy idea. Sometimes you have to let yourself be wild, and try something new and interesting. Especially when pairing don’t focus on the norm. Take three bold elements in the dish and then push yourself to think of other wines which can relate to those characteristics. You might not be pairing a log but mushrooms can always come with an umami flavor, which can really open up the opportunities. Be bold and happy pairing. – Bobby Gilbert, Sommelier and GM at Moto
It was a privilege and a pleasure to dine at Moto with Manu Pageot in the fall of 2014 – it would have been towards the end of the run of the Fallen Log dish.
The menu here was printed onto a paper thin sheet of wood, and carved by Chef de Laser HC. Watching this video on how they made these menus it is easy to be reminded once again of the talent we lost, but I am also aware that the spirit of the restaurant lives on in the people who made it happen everyday. I hope you will consider sharing this with someone who might want to #HireBobbyG!.