Tenzing Embarks on Chicago Journey

Three big names in the Chicago wine scene are embarking on a journey to bring quality wholesale wine and spirits to local restaurants as well as loads of wine knowledge.  As reported by Crain's, Tenzing Wine and Spirits is a new venture by Fernando Beteta, Master Sommelier and former Wine Director of NoMI, Doug Marello, former sommelier of L20 and Wine Director of Spring, and Ken Fredrickson, former VP of Wine Marketing at Wirtz Beverage Group

The name comes from Tenzing Norgay, a Nepali-Indian Sherpa mountaineer who guided Edmund Hillary to the top of Mount Everest.  This will be a another kind of journey, of wine and spirits tastings and knowledge.

Tenzing will focus on bringing their portfolio to the Chicagoland market, while educating consumers through their blog, along with classes and tastings in their storefront on 165 N. Morgan Street.  This is a smart idea, bringing the consumer in direct relation with the distributor and their products.  In Illinois with regards to alcohol, we have a three tier system where you'll have the manufacturer or importer selling their product to a local distributor, who in turn re-sells the product to restaurants, bars and wine/liquor stores.  More consumer demand for your distributed product will inevitably lead to wider availability and demand in both restaurants and wine shops.

Some items in the Tenzing portfolio include Block Nine Pinot Noir, Ayala Champagne and Domaine Select Wine Estates.  We'll look forward to more products as they're added and the tastings and classes which follow!

Chicago Semifinalists for James Beard Awards

The Semifinalists for the James Beard Foundation Awards 2010 have been announced and the list is littered with Chicago establishments and professionals.  It's always exciting to see how well Chicago does with these awards and to bask in the fame that is given to our culinary scene. 

Now for those of you who don't know, the James Beard Awards are a BIG deal.  They've been called "The Oscars of the food world," by Time magazine.  They are named after one of the biggest names in American culinary history, Mr. James Beard.  Mr. Beard was born in Portland, Oregon, in 1903.  His mother ran a boarding house and began an 81 year culinary journey into American food.  He was dubbed "dean of American cookery," by the New York Times.

Now let's get to our Chicago nominees:

The finalists will be announced on March 22nd at the Palace Cafe in New Orleans leading up to the Media Awards presented May 2nd and the James Beard Foundation Awards given out on May 3rd.  Good luck to all Chicago Semifinalists!