Garfene Grandison, Gleaner Writer
Visiting the island as a guest for Select Brands for the Gleaner-sponsored Restaurant Week is South America-born, Chicago-raised Luis Torres. Here, on the island since Monday, Torres has been making his rounds hosting wine and food pairing seminars with hospitality experts, media personnel and sponsors of Restaurant Week. Dubbed the 'Liberation of Wine and Food Seminar', Torres gave an animated and interactive session at the Waterloo Road CB Chicken headquarters on Wednesday morning.
The Liberation seminar is dubbed as an "exciting new understanding of the interaction of wine with food, enabling us to show how easily wine can be enjoyed with all kinds of food," he told the gathering.
His select audience of Restaurant Week sponsors and ambassadors were treated to a step-by-step wine-and-food-pairing session with six different wines and various food items that people use on a daily basis.
Each participant had to rate the taste of each food item with the various wines as Torres worked the session, explaining the tastes of the different wines and how exactly the palate works.
It is widely known and appreciated that the appropriate balance between wines and foods must be met to bring out the best of both. Torres skilfully brought out this and more at the seminar.
What some might often think would be a boring session proved to be quite informative and even jovial, as Torres' use of technology and music did wonders to relax the business executives. Hits from reggae legend Bob Marley was an extra treat during the seminar.
The man behind the seminar has had a distinguished relationship with wines over the years. Torres studied food, science and technology before spending 15 years in the restaurant industry. His experience includes an apprenticeship at Charlie Trotter's with Master Sommelier Larry Stone, studies with the Court of Master Sommeliers, The Wine and Spirits Education Trust, and management and wine-buying responsibilities for all of Hilton's Chicago star properties. As a manufacturer's representative, Luis represented a portfolio of world-wide high-prestige wines. His expertise in the education arena quickly became apparent. In 2001, he was promoted to his current role, directing the Academy's Central, and East Coast education programmes.
Just a few of Luis' clients include: Back Bay Restaurants, Bravo Brio Group, Carrabbas, Hilton, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, JW. Marriott, Marriott Marquis NY, Omni Hotels, Ritz Carlton Chicago and Puerto Rico, Ruby Tuesday, Stansfeld Scott Duty Free, Sofitel Hotels, the Carnegie Mellon Tepper School MBA and the US Geographical Association.