Talking Food and Wine with Chef Michael Schlow - Episode #613
Gary Vaynerchuk returns to Boston for a visit with one of the leading chefs in the United States.
Gary: Hello everybody. Welcome to Wine Library Tv. I’m your host Gary Vaynerchuk. And this my friends is the thunder show, AKA the internet’s most passionate wine program. As you can see, we are in Boston, a city I love for the patriots with a very, very special chef, world famous, Michael Schlow. How are you, my man?
Michael: I’m doing great.
Gary: Thanks for being here.
Michael: My pleasure. Thanks for coming in. Do you need an espresso or anything?
Michael: Okay. I wish could offer.
Gary: I see you’re a little…
Michael: I’m a little out of key today. I wasn’t expecting the wine in here.
Gary: I understand. Tell me the five people who don’t know who you are that watched my show. Why don’t you tell us where we are and how we got to this place and your career.
Michael: Okay. Well, we are at Via Matta today and this is one of my Italian restaurant. It’s something about the lovers. It’s more like the Radius which is a modern French restaurant, Via Matta and Great Bay. Those are the three that are in Boston. Great Bay which has a lot of seafood. And then also, I have two Alta Strada restaurants, one is in Wellesley, Massachusetts, one is in Connecticut. And I also consult for an American corporation and the restaurant stands for itself. And so, that was an American restaurant.
Gary: Where was that?
Michael: That one is also in Boston. It’s down by the seaport district.
Gary: Chefs are very fast. I mean, with the whole living and the personal granting and entrepreneurialship because I feel like I have a lot about it. I love that. Your genre has gone into that with the food network. Are you looking for world domination? Where are you going with this?
Michael: No. I would say world domination is not on my radar anyhow. I’m very happy with where I am.
Gary: Are you looking for more projects? Are you all creative? Do you feel there are other things that you want to do?
Michael: Well, as a chef, I’m so lucky that I have these to really get involved with. I have great chefs in the world with me also. But what else is happening is that restaurant is successful and things with food, especially as Americans, we always wanted to do a little bit more. But right now, I’m very happy. I want to do more, but it’s got to be the right project. There is only 24 hours in a day and seven days a week and I think I’ve fallen pretty much with food.
Gary: So tell me how you got here? I mean, did you grow up in the food industry?
Michael: Well, I was wandering broke in New York and I was born…
Gary: Are you a Jets or Giants fan?
Michael: I hate to say it, I was a fan of all New York teams except for some reasons…
Gary: You can see where we’re at. It’s the skills, Mott. I can taste the fanship. This happens all the time by the way. I can nail them.
Michael: It wasn’t the marketing. I was a little kid and—there is a long story and I’m loving it.
Gary: Go ahead.
Michael: It’s such a pathetic story.
Gary: I mean, how many times have you talked about this in public? Unlike Barbara Walters, I suck it out.
Michael: Okay. The real story is that I was five years old and my grandmother would take me to the movies in Brooklyn. And the movie she took us, it was Ball Ben. And I was sitting on my dad’s lap watching them, you know, the highlights. One day, a few months later, and they stayed at Don Berry [Inaudible]. He threw us the ball in number 19, Lance Alworth. And so I think that it’s a fine world that Bandy is still playing for that team and that’s how I like Dallas. That’s a true story.
Gary: That was not what I was thinking.
Michael: I wish I was like a Cowboy cheerleader and I got…
Gary: You got more, man. That’s a tremendous thing. Thank you for that.
Michael: Well, I would finally come clean on this.
Gary: How many times have you talked about your dad in public?
Michael: It’s just something I’m proud of than a cartoon character.
Gary: That’s a pretty amazing story. I like that.
Michael: I feel uncomfortable with that but that is the real story.
Gary: You picked three dishes here. We are lucky enough, you said this is what we’re going to take. I think wine is around it and that’s what we kind of do. We really want to focus on your dishes. Tell me Mac—oh! We have Matt today and not Mott. We are in Boston for the Boston Wine Expo so we replaced the “o” with the “a”. Matt got in here. Matt, maybe you could do a quick little over the counter shot. You know, nothing too smooth. Make sure it’s bouncy a little bit. Why these three dishes? You know, when you knew we were doing this, what kind of made you say, these are the three dishes I want to do.
Michael: Well for Via Matta, the food here is not complicated. The idea here is for you to feel like you are eating in it. That is the most important thing to us. You have an all Italian wine list, the dishes that I make here for the most part are dishes that I learned pretty much for being the way they were taught to me. A few of them have a little twist of chart. What Italian food to me is about simplicity and recreating ways to taunt you over and over and over again. It doesn’t necessarily need anything like 5:11 to make it good. So what I love to do with the dishes today is if you—at a table, if you just came and eat some food, this are three things I would put down today. One is a Salmon Trutta and that’s got some film, a little bit of red jalapeno and some oranges. Right now, Phil cooked the trout by himself. It’s a fantastic salad. It’s one of my favorites. This one would jazz it up a little bit. It’s a pretty presentation but it’s so clean and so simple. The pasta dish, it’s Boston and it’s the winter time. It’s cold, it’s snowy, it’s miserable. You know always that pasta is pasta. It’s something that has a little bit of home to it. So this is the Italian vignette that gives me the lay. We’d make a deep bologna.
You know, I grew up in Brookly and in New Jersey also.
Michael: Somewhere along New Jersey.
Gary: I grew up in Hunterdon County.
Michael: Okay. So I’ll take your buts in the lobster.
Gary: Let’s be careful. Hold on. But you mean, by the old twist of the restaurant, it would be dinner in the channel and all that stuff.
Michael: Oh yeah.
Gary: I know it’s a little circle.
Michael: I can watch that from my house. And you have to take your life in your hands when you…
Michael: So the funny thing is about when you open that area, you can walk the way out of it then with a sort of a soprano style of Italian. You know, you cut the ends of all and maybe like, “Give me a little prosciutto, a little mozzarella.” And I really got my ass kicked when to my first real Italian restaurant. Then I even expedited in an Italian school (Inaudible) and learned a lot of these dishes.
Gary: Because you were Cuban in heart. You were on feel.
Michael: Yes. There is more feel than I would say to my friends. I’m like, “What are you going to make with that calamar?” And he looked and he say, “The what?” You know with foreigners with what we take it’s calamari. You say the whole word. But I thought [Crosstalk]. None of those words exists in Italy, except around a little [Voice Overlap]
Gary: It’s Jersey, that’s how.
Michael: Right. It’s Jersey and Brooklyn Italian. And so when I first started things like the Italian and wanted to use it, I just thought it was a meat sauce with potato. I had no idea what really went into it. And then as I would go to Italy each year and I would go only twice a year, it really just sort of validate to make sure that what we are making is the plate that they do there. I think that’s really, really important. There is no beer. When Italians come into a restaurant and say, where did you work? Where did you learn how to make this? This is exactly like my mother and grandmother in a restaurant that I worked with…
Gary: They call you over and pretty much say, you’re from New York because they can feel like you’re from there.
Michael: You know, it has changed a lot also. There is a lot of sophistications like you wouldn’t have seen in raw fish, but maybe a few inside town. When you have seen one restaurant in Rome—it’s incredible. The raw fish is so good. They just put like little salt and a little lemon juice on it.
Gary: Let’s let the fish speak.
Michael: I think that’s important. You know, so what wine did you pick?
Gary: Yeah. let’s go with this. It’s a Movia Ribolla. It’s actually from Slovenia. And this grape, Ribolla, you might know that some people are jealous, originated really from Greece and came to Slovenia. Actually they’ve grown, believe it or not, in Italy and then made it to Slovenia. It’s a grape producer. I saw it in your list. Right away, when I think of it though, I think of really crisp and clean wines. However, they’re seasoned with little oak.
Michael: Yes. You can see in the color, it’s not as blonde as a lot of great wines from Italy.
Gary: It absolutely hasn’t grown old. So to me, anytime I can talk about a big bowl of jell-o on a thunder show, I want to, I want people to try these grapes. The Ribolla grape is very interesting to me. So I want to give it a sniffy sniff.
Michael: Of course.
Gary: Sniffy sniff is very important to me. It’s one of my things.
Michael: Is that a real sort of trade lingo kind, the sniffy sniff.
Gary: Yes. It is.
Michael: Okay. So it’s sniffy sniff time.
Gary: You know, it just something that I always use to say and I brought on the show. People liked it, but it’s easily remembered. I think you don’t want to smell though.
Michael: Right. I would do it and also I think people don’t drink wine with the wrong temperature on.
Gary: I’m actually completely a room temperature guy. I’m like—I’m all like this (Inaudible), it’s a little bit cold.
Michael: And with the food, it’s the same way. You can’t taste food if it’s too cold or too hot. I don’t need to taste the nuances of food if it’s ice cold.
Gary: Tell me about smelling food.
Gary: Well, I smell food quite a bit because it just translates from what I do. I think that’s important. I wish people did more of that.
Michael: I use every sense in the restaurant business. I mean, your eyes, your ears, your nose and definitely touch are attacked by pleasure and it’s awesome.
Gary: How could you hear?
Michael: I don’t like hearing here. Actually, when I try to say hear though, I use my ears when I’m cooking like the sizzles or something or I can’t hear something.
Gary: I wish the sound of the cork popping would have something to do with wine. We’ll give this a little whirl like how I do my job. This is so exciting. Pretty clean. I do get a little of that subtle on the back end. Matt, we’re going to need some sort of bucket or something to spit to or something.
Michael: That’s our tip jar, Mott.
Gary: Don’t take the tip jar.
Michael: We’re going to spit at money.
Mott: There’s a calculator too.
Michael: Why don’t just go for a glass.
Gary: Pretty clean, very complex I think. And to me, one of the reasons is this is what I saw.
Michael: Right. It had some spice to it.
Gary: And I want this with a little oak, and the oak can actually balance against the little bit of heat from the spice.
Michael: That’s a good call.
Gary: You know what, let’s try this. This one we should try. You have to (Inaudible)
Michael: You know, it’s interesting that you said that the oak is fat in general. It’s got a little richness. It’s got a sort of smell just a little bit there with the super spices. And also, we don’t do a lot of sweeter. So, we get the flavor in it. We got all of that super hot, hot feed. And then the food is going to cool it off whether we chose it.
Gary: Probably, when you give into a wild dish and things in this nature, I would just go Italian. I love it. I mean, this is how I wanted it.
Michael: I would put a little salt on it and add some spice.
Gary: There is spice. Now let me see what happens here.
Michael: It has a reaction. It’s very interesting—on each flavor from the Pinot.
Michael: I actually got—this spice gets picked up before.
Gary: Which is good for me, but you (Voice Overlap). To me, it extenuates a little bit of pepper. So, it depends on anyone who really play that. To me, that’s always going to work. We do some spicy kind of character.
Michael: I do not really want them.
Gary: You do that, huh?
Michael: I have heard it before.
Gary: Wait a minute. You didn’t know that, you were working for 40 minutes before you even knew I was here. I was quiet, I poured a cup of cappuccino and then you were, “Oh! You are here.” I didn’t even look on it. It was like a drizzle.
Michael: Your thunder wasn’t rumbling quietly.
Gary: Yeah. It’s like a comic book store. Alright. Let’s move on.
Michael: You’re going to love that but we’ll make another crest.
Gary: We talked a little bit about the meat sauce. I’m going to show this wine. We’re going to taste it but you’re going to tell us how you really got into cooking. Let me focus on this. This is a little Bressan 2002 Pinot Nero. This is $90 on the list. I don’t really know the retail or whether (Voice Overlap)
Michael: I guess you’re telling more of the drinks.
Gary: Drinks are more important. Pinot Nero is Pinot Noir in Italy. But really, this wine, I think a lot of people don’t realize how flexible Pinot wine is with pasta and sauce.
Michael: I also like light fish too.
Gary: Bit time. But, here is where it gets a little fun for us winers. 2002, horrible vintage by every standard, wrecker horribleness. I mean, if you speak to any Pinot winers, probably the worst vintage in a 60-year span of Italian red wine.
Michael: Really not bad.
Gary: You know that.
Michael: I’m going to eat a lob here and didn’t have a problem.
Gary: I’ll look something better with it. You know, there may be a farm or a shop where you guys are on…
Michael: There’s always somebody.
Gary: There’s always something there, right? There is always 15 to 50 wines in a vintage that’s completely viewed as awful, and that my friends is where it counts. 2002 Bordeaux is also considered very poor. We have Noir Pavi, we have Chateau Pavi which is a world class Bordeaux. It was sold for 200 bucks. We offered it for like 70 because the market was crushed. In America, people get it globally. If 2002 is bad, it’s bad. We’re not going to give a chance. And we look for diamonds. I have no idea that it’s going to be a piece of crap.
Michael: Well, let’s find out.
Gary: We’re going to find out. So while we sniffy sniff this and talk about it, tell me about how you really got into cooking?
Michael: Well, my grandmother took to a movie when I was five (Laughs). So what happened was…
Gary: You’re still back on that one day.
Michael: Now what happened was I’ve been working in restaurants my whole life. Really, my first real job was like paperboy and washing cars and so. I was 14 years old and I started to be dishwasher in a restaurant. And it was a local restaurant.
Gary: In Brooklyn?
Michael: We moved to Salvador when I was 14 years old. My mom got remarried.
Gary: That was another shop away from Brooklyn, right?
Michael: Well, you know what, we had stopped in one other place that was just as bad.
Gary: This was where?
Michael: Eastmont of New Jersey. We are on the areas.
Gary: Well, we almost had a very interesting thing. I grew up in Edison first and then (Voice Overlap)
Michael: So we’ve only been in places where the sports teams compete and my teams have won. It’s true.
Gary: It’s true. I’m not upset. Thank God I’m not a Patriots fan.
Michael: So anyway, my family became friendly with a guy that owns this little restaurant on the news room and it was kind of like a cheers type of place. And we met each other and we went there with a great burger and cold beer. That’s really where I was hit by the restaurant, but I would wash dishes. I remember having this crazy thought. I was back in the dishes by myself, and I thought that I want to be the best dishwasher that the cooks actually think, “Wow! When Michael is back there washing dishes, everything is better.” And unfortunately, I hate to say, that’s something that my parents were wrong. You know, my stepfather really amazed me. No matter what you touch, it has nothing to do with price. Sure, everything you do, it has quality behind it. And unfortunately, I think a lot of that stuff. I don’t want—there are one of those…
Gary: Generation advance?
Gary: Kids these days, the texting, the iPhone, you know.
Michael: I looked up and all, you know, both ways and the snow in your shoes whenever you go to school.
Gary: But it was different.
Michael: But it was different and it was a bunch of American kids and washing dishes next to me—and I don’t have any kids that are going to do that anymore. They ought to be chefs, they ought to be shu chef. And I would say, “What’s happening? You know, I did not do anything yet and you want to be the top.” It’s like, it’s a long road.
Gary: And we have to pay the price.
Michael: You know what, that might be worthwhile.
Gary: So, let’s get into this wine and then we’ll continue the story. Earthy, obviously. Also, do you notice, it is a little herbaceous.
Michael: Well as a customer behind this, definitely. And you know what, it doesn’t have and you see a lot of the more American and French Pinot Noir. This is not as much as that very, very cherry flavor.
Gary: Maybe fake fruit. Let’s give it a whirl.
Michael: I like that wine a lot. It’s not that big.
Gary: You know what, I like this wine too.
Michael: I like it a lot.
Gary: I was just really kind of getting excited to like say this to the worst point and see what happens.
Michael: No. What do you think?
Gary: Because like my team will be in your team.
Michael: We should make the wine.
Gary: Obviously, I don’t care of the rest of them. I’m so unemotional about any wine.
Michael: What do you think of this?
Gary: First of all, the first stuff that comes to my mind is much heavier than I expected.
Michael: There is a drinkability about it and not because it’s red wine.
Gary: White wine stole that because they’re worried about the wine industry. It is a wine term. Silkiness, there is a silkiness at the back end. I get really crushed cranberry meets cherry flavors on the mid palate and it’s great because you get this herbaceous flavor in the beginning, but then it finishes more fruitfully. When we were picking it up with the nose, it is a sour cherry with little hints of cranberry at the back, so we get a little bit of a full component on the back end, but it rounds out the palate extremely good, and there is a factor of this wine, the reason that we acted this way, and I was teasing maybe you noticed. If you rewind, you’ll see my eyes go, “There is a delicious factor to this wine.”
Michael: It really is good.
Gary: It’s just delicious.
Gary: I’m very surprised actually.
Michael: You’re surprised because you picked a wine that tasted good or you’re surprised that the 2002 taste is so good.
Gary: I’m surprised that the Cowboys are going to get some damage.
Michael: We could come back to that.
Gary: I mean, that is like interview more.
Michael: How many of you like doing something really, really important to me like, “Bambi!”
Gary: It’s a tremendous wine. Very crisp and clean, so it falls in like 89 point type wine for me. This really comes in like a 91 or 92 point wine. I can’t get over the bright—it almost has—you know this better than I do. You know the little fresh strawberries?
Michael: Sure. There is a flavor of that right here.
Gary: Yes, exactly. I get that quite on the aftertaste. I’m liking this. You like this wine, right?
Michael: Yeah, I do. I mean, I continue drinking it all night long.
Gary: Smell this again, are you noticing this new—there’s like white pepper component starting to develop on the nose.
Michael: It’s not intense but it’s behind everything. You know it’s in there. There is no question about it that it’s in there. But that would mean like displaced in your face.
Gary: No. It’s simply that. It’s not black pepper.
Michael: But it’s in there.
Michael: So 2002, we liked this.
Gary: Yeah. And this is kind of why we roll like this. We’ve done this before, I mean—I mean, that helped me when I tasted Bordeaux, I tried 117 wines and 112 of them were atrocious, 3 of them were solid and 2 were phenomenal one being an expensive hobby and one being some 12-dollar Bordeaux.
Michael: Let me ask you a question. How many wines can you really taste…
Gary: … before I fatigue?
Gary: Anywhere between 80 and 120.
Gary: Firstly, you spit and you just get used to it. I’m just getting used to it.
Michael: Aren’t they like perfume to you? Sort of like I’m selling—not that I do this. But if you smell a couple of perfumes or whatever, they all start to smell alike to me.
Gary: Things like that happens. You know what, and it’s a day to day thing. We were tasting not too long ago at a store 20:39
Gary: Yeah. I mean, it’s like shooting free throws and…
Michael: You see, I never a free throw with money, I always make them.
Gary: You’d be careful because I don’t want to move outside right now and just do it. This is not food now. Forget the cooking. Alright. We’re going to the last, just tell me about this and then we’ll finish. We’ll go to your cooking and we’ll taste the wine.
Michael: So the next dish is Pollo al Mattone which just means chicken under a brick. People said, “Do you really use a brick?” Yes, we really use a brick but it is wrapped with tin foil so that the brick doesn’t actually touch it. What you do is you bone out a half of the chicken so there’s no bone on the thigh and the leg meat. And obviously, I left this little wing joint right here. You just salt pepper and you cook it in a pan with the olive oil and flip it over so that the skin is down, and you put that brick on top of the breast part. It sort of spreads the chicken out so that it has complete contact, all the skin on the pan. It’s really crispy, really delicious. Now we serve it so simply with just a little bit of sautéed Swiss chard and just a little bit of fresh chards and some juices from the chicken, squeeze it with lemon. And that’s it. That’s the Italian dish.
Gary: That’s classic.
Michael: Maybe I like to side it with potatoes or roast potatoes or something and it’s so easy to do. What did you pick with this?
Gary: I picked the classic, kind of like super Tuscan style wine. It’s a third, a third, a third of cabernet sangiovese and merlot. It is a 91 point wine and we actually hooked up to find one over here. We saw that they actually sell it. So it’s a 40-dollar retail wine from Tassinaia. When I first got into wine business and started buying for my dad’s store in like ’94 or ’95, this was one of the first ones that I’ve ever bought.
Michael: Is that right?
Gary: Because everybody wants (Inaudible) to take in that, right?
Michael: Sure. I mean, there’s always so much to go around.
Gary: That’s true. But we were pretty lucky with that. We were in the game that I just wanted a difference. I wanted to find what was the next like, and this kind of popped for a very long time.
Michael: Now as far as the percentage, is that very, very similar that it’s always 33-33-33 for the super Tuscan or did they really messed it up.
Gary: They super messed it up. It would be 70 cab 30.
Michael: As long as you have 3 in there.
Gary: Not always necessarily. It could be so high or low and it really, really do mix up. This is 34 sangio if you want to miss everyone the…
Michael: What do you think about it? I mean, with what they named it, Super Tuscan. It’s like…
Gary: Do you know who named that? Robert Parker.
Michael: Did he really?
Gary: Yes. When they started, they were breaking the loss from the wine, and so they were trying to produce the world class wine and the Italian were all too strict. And so, Parker branded them as Super Tuscan with Premium Tuscan wines and it really—one of the big things he ever did for that that really took them to their success.
Michael: That’s great. Actually, if you do that like with our food, I would say…
Gary: That’s my little brother AJ.
Michael: What’s going on AJ?
Gary: He’s from Brooklyn bro so anything could have happened.
Michael: It’s interesting that I could like do it on some of our restaurants. You know, instead of being like just Via Matta, it would be known as like Ultimate Italian, you know.
Gary: We’re served.
Michael: These are ultimate with our Italian food deals.
Gary: Let’s put up a restaurant together. Let’s just call it The Greatest Restaurant of All Time.
Michael: You know what, you’re going to laugh and being funny about it. Just open the place called The Greatest Bar. Now that’s a lot, The Greatest Bar. It’s a great theme. It’s fantastic. I send a not and you’re going to do this and you’ll end up with the greatest ever, the greatest drinks, the greatest all of that, I think of a lot, the greatest girls, the greatest music, you got that everything.
Gary: You’re definitely right. Okay. So, we’ll give this one a minute. Let’s continue. You got the restaurant, and what?
Michael: I got the dishwashing thing…
Gary: What happens in there?
Michael: I was dishes. (Laughs) Oh! I tried everything. I went to college. I played baseball in college for a little while and I though that maybe baseball—and then I was in the fourth grade…
Gary: You didn’t really think that (Inaudible)
Michael: I didn’t. I mean, people—guest maybe. I was with the minors. I was over 18 years old, I’ve not finished growing and all that stuff. I was good. And I couldn’t play anymore. But once very short, I always cooked. I mean even in college, I’m a little hot ladies man. I meet a girl and I make her a little omelet or something like this, and…
Gary: Was that good for you?
Michael: That was what I started to do. And what ended up happening is my mom said to me, “What can you do? You don’t want to continue to go to college, you don’t want to go to horse race, you don’t want to be a doctor…”
Gary: Well, the horseracing?
Gary: I’m into horseracing.
Michael: You know when I was a kid, I used to go out. And if you remember this up at where you lived, the old farms and all these—I used to work there as a kid in the summer. I worked on the farms and I love horses as well. I was thinking, maybe I’m going to climb that. Maybe that’s what I’ll do. So I rode a little. Bring up all of the food because it just doesn’t feed itself. But I went to college and mom said to me, “Why don’t you just go check out a race? We’ll just look.” So I looked and (Inaudible). And when I put that chef’s jacket on the first day, I got yelled up the first day too because I walked in and I got two buttons not buttoned up. So I walked in thinking I’m cool, that’s why sold it.
Gary: Was it because you want to show the chest hair.
Michael: I don’t have that much chest hair. But to be honest, I thought watching Jack Ritter and…
Gary: His company, yes.
Michael: You know, he worked there. He worked at…
Gary: Shayne Ward, remember? The guy with the mustache is tossed…
Michael: So, he was at Angelino’s and he always had two things. And so, I brought the two things with standard dress. So I walked in there with my first chef, Chef Witter, 6 feet 6. And he looks down at me and he got the hat and that. And he looks down and he’s like, we got name tags on, “Mr. Schlow.” And I said, “Yes sir.” And he goes, “Button that jacket up or remove yourself from my class?” I was like, “Oh boy! This is serious stuff.” But I loved it. From that moment on, really on that first day, I knew that this is what I wanted to do. A quick side story. I got asked to be the first student alone, and actually never come back and give a commencement speech. So I put on my best suit, I flied down to the school…
Gary: Where was this?
Michael: This is the Academy of Culinary Arts in Mays Landing in New Jersey, right outside of the land.
Gary: Did you get a little nervous with it?
Michael: No. As a matter of fact, I didn’t. But I go down there and they got me all set up, I’ve got the best suit on, a little nervous, I’ve gone along with my life. So I go down, and all of my chefs, a lot of them that were my teachers are now in the lounge having coffee before the commencement starts. And I walked in, “Hello chef. Nice to see you chef. How are you?” And Chef Witter was still there all these years later and he says to me, “Mr. Schlow…
Gary: Unbutton your shirt. (Laughs)
Michael: No. He said, “I want to let you know that we were all sitting around here yesterday having lunch and we were discussing the fact that you were coming back to do a commencement speech and we are incredibly proud of you. We just want to let you know that.” And a lot of people are saying what is going on with you when you were here at school. And we all agree and want to let you know something on patience. How are you? What’s going on? What he said was, “While we all knew that you were going to be a great success. We just didn’t know that it’s going to be in cooking.” And I said, “Alright. Well thank you for those words of wisdom and encouragement. I’m going to go out now and give the commencement speech.”
Gary: That’s pretty awesome.
Michael: You know, but they were just saying things to me. But they were so proud, of all the things that have happened. And they keep in contact with me and they send me students all the time and it is really a very cool strike. And I worked in New York and I came here in Boston in 1995 never intending of staying.
Gary: I want to know, where was the prime time spot in New York before you came into Boston?
Michael: Well, I worked for a guy named Pino Luongo. I know you said something a little bit earlier about naming. He was a hug influence in my life. I worked at Sapore di Mare, Le Madri, Coco Pazzo all over New York. He had a great restaurant. But the last thing that I did before I came to Boston, I knew I would stop by for just a short time. And that guy is a genius. I mean, he is a genius. I learned so much not only about cooking but how to handle yourself, how to be professional and how with your staff. He was amazing.
Gary: A great springboard for you.
Michael: Unbelievable. I heard so much about him. If you are alive and great, thank you very much.
Gary: Okay. Let me jump into this. Let’s taste the Tassinaia.
Michael: Wow. That has got a fantastic nose to this. Now what year is this one?
Gary: It’s a ’04, classic vintage, classic nose, you got a classic sour cherry or more so than the last wine, but almost creamed up, almost like a creamy base raspberry type that goes on the nose.
Michael: You know, while I was drinking, you spit it.
Gary: I got to say, it’s something about me about this one. We have very, very few shows where all the wines are well, but this is one of them. Great complexity with this wine, very dry.
Michael: Yeah. It is dry but it’s really a good one too.
Gary: It’s a little creamy from here. Vanilla, almost like—I just got a lot of vanilla extract from the back end. Blackberries are dancing on my palate, good solid Tuscan wine.
Michael: Actually, it does.
Gary: You know, a little more of like the (Voice Overlap). This is a good wine. A little new world for me to be honest. A little bit too new world for me. I agree, I think it would do well with the dish. More of an 89+ wine for me. Good stuff for 40 bones retail price. Probably not if you have some other alternatives. I’ll tell you, on paper, you know, somebody goes to a wine store, they see this, it’s got a 90 point from a shop talker. It’s a 2004 classic good vine. You got to see this. You don’t know much about it. It’s 2002 crap vintage Pinot Nero and it dominates it, and that’s a classic. You can’t judge a book by its cover. Brooklyn boy that wasn’t supposed to be good with cooking is a dominant chef of our era.
Talking Food and Wine with Chef Michael Schlow - Episode #613
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