How to make cider from 300-year-old pear trees, what it’s like working alongside Dan Barber at one of the world’s best restaurants and how it feels scoring Gourmet Traveller‘s Sommelier of the Year award – Caitlyn Rees can give you a first-hand account of all of these standout experiences.
When she was at Fred’s in Sydney (where she served fascinating wines from the Adelaide Hills to Armenia), she was singled out by Gourmet Traveller as Australia’s best sommelier in the magazine’s 2018 restaurant guide.
And because she won Melbourne Food and Wine Festival’s Hostplus Hospitality Scholarship, she ended up doing time at three places on her worldwide wish list: Relae in Copenhagen (a Michelin-starred restaurant that upended her expectations about how chefs and wait staff should work together), Dan Barber’s Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York (her behind-the-scenes stories about this acclaimed restaurant are truly amazing) and helping Eric Bordelet in Normandy, the ex-Arpège sommelier who collects fruit from centuries-old trees to make his famously great cider.
She also talks about the “rough red” that her grandfather made (and how it was her first encounter with booze), her time at Momofuku Seiobo (another wish-list job of hers), why she left Fred’s (even though she loved working there) and what she’s currently doing at Cirrus. Plus, a tragic story about suitcase wines and we hear her list of favourite places to eat and drink in Sydney (including the restaurant where she’s spent practically all of her birthdays).
You can listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts or download it via RSS or directly. You can also find it on Stitcher and Google Podcasts nowadays. Major gratitude to everyone who has written a kind review in Apple Podcasts. Shout-out to anyone who happened to be listening from Slovakia (and was somehow responsible for making this the Top 3 Food Podcast in the country for a minute or two)!
Photography courtesy of Caitlyn Rees (Normandy, France) and Merivale (Fred’s).