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Wine Spectator: Straight Talk With Restaurant Industry Stars

July 10, 2020

What does it take to weather the restaurant industry’s biggest crisis in memory? Three Wine Spectator Grand Award winners recently offered a glimpse at how they’re adapting to the Covid-19 pandemic while maintaining world-class wine programs. Chef Marcello Fiorentino of Marcello’s La Sirena, Aviram Turgeman, wine director at Nice Matin, and chef Charlie Palmer recently joined Straight Talk with Wine Spectator on Instagram Live, in a trifecta of episodes that discussed their early days in the business, redefining quality takeout, and advice for young members of the restaurant industry.

The pandemic has required restaurants to make difficult adjustments. Fiorentino’s La Sirena normally closes for the summer, but this year the restaurant closed in March. In order to keep his employees protected and business running, Fiorentino created a “dinner box” concept for four, featuring two bottles of wine, an appetizer, pasta dish, entrée, dessert, water and bread, all to-go.

Palmer has done something similar with Aureole at Home, delivering quality dishes to customers’ doorsteps, nicknaming it “white-glove delivery.” It isn’t a new concept for Palmer, who partners with Meals on Wheels to bring dishes to homebound elderly in New York and Sonoma.

Both chefs are feeling optimistic about the future. Fiorentino plans to reopen his doors September 9, for La Sirena’s 35th season, at 50% capacity, and Palmer has already started to welcome back patrons to some of his restaurants.

Watch the full episodes with Fiorentino, Turgeman, and Palmer on Wine Spectator’s IGTV channel, and tune in to catch Straight Talk with Wine Spectator, sponsored by Wine Access Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7pm ET.—Shawn Zylberberg

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