On Sept. 16, culinary leader Dorothy Cann Hamilton died in a car accident in Nova Scotia. She was 67. A groundbreaker in the dining world, Hamilton founded the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan in 1984, later renaming it the International Culinary Center. Among the school’s celebrated alumni are Dan Barber, David Chang, Christina Tosi and Bobby Flay, and its deans include acclaimed chefs such as Jacques Pépin, José Andrés and Jacques Torres. Hamilton was the recipient of numerous awards throughout her career, including a Légion d’honneur from the French government in 2015, Food Arts’ “Silver Spoon” award, and the “Who’s Who in Food and Beverage in America” award from the James Beard Foundation. She is survived by her daughter, Olivia Hamilton.
On Saturday, Oct. 1, the New York location of Wolfgang Puck’s CUT steak house will open in the Four Seasons Hotel Downtown. Located on the border of Tribeca and the Financial District, just a block from the World Trade Center, the restaurant will serve prime steaks and sides, with a focus on Japanese wagyu beef, for lunch and dinner, along with breakfast.
CUT’s locations in Beverly Hills (a Best of Award of Excellence winner) and Las Vegas both provide extensive wine lists, and the New York spot will be no exception. Wine director David Morris notes that the program is debuting with roughly 800 selections; the rotating by-the-glass list will feature several wines served from magnums.
“From the beginning of conceptualizing the program, we wanted to create a global list, one that showcases not just the classic steak house wines, but also wines from countries that many of our guests have yet to try,” Morris explained to Wine Spectator. “At CUT in Beverly Hills and Las Vegas, the focus is strongly rooted in California wines, as it should be, considering proximity. In NYC, the program moves a bit more overseas. The classic wines of France, Italy and Spain are spiced with wonderful selections from Turkey, Israel, Croatia, Austria and Argentina.”
The wine team at Grand Award–winning Pearl & Ash in New York’s Bowery neighborhood welcomes a new head sommelier. John Kelly, previously of Best of Award of Excellence–winning sister restaurant Rebelle, has assumed the role and is now working with wine director Patrick Cappiello to oversee the 2,250-selection list, which is strong in choices from Burgundy, the Loire, Bordeaux, the Rhône, California and Champagne. He is also working on developing the restaurant’s late-night wine concept, featuring a list that changes weekly and is available from 10 p.m. until midnight from Sunday to Thursday and 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Kelly is no stranger to Cappiello’s lists; he joined the wine team at Pearl & Ash in 2014 before becoming a member of Rebelle’s opening team in 2015.
After closing for repairs in July following a fire in Tysons Corner Center mall, Seasons 52–McLean reopened on Sept. 23. The restaurant, at 7863L Tysons Corner Center in McLean, Va., is one of 42 current Restaurant Award–winning locations in the company. Wine director Dane Scott oversees the McLean outpost’s 90-selection list of wines from around the globe, which has earned an Award of Excellence each year since 2012.
Addison at the Grand Del Mar in San Diego has gained a new wine director. Rafael Sanchez, who joined the team as a captain in 2013, has taken over the role previously held by Melanie Kaman and now oversees the 3,200-selection list. Known for its depth in wines from Burgundy, California, Bordeaux, Piedmont and Spain, Addison’s program has held a Grand Award since 2009.
“At the moment, my main goal is to maintain the balance to the wine list,” said Sanchez, who also aims to champion local San Diego County wines. “This means bringing in some older vintages from classic regions as well as new releases. Some things that immediately come to mind are 1960 Inglenook, ’70s and ’80s Heitz Cabernets, 1999 Leonetti Cabernet, 1990s Bordeaux and a few others. As far as newer releases that we are excited about, there is a wonderful 2013 Napa Valley Cabernet that we feature by the glass made by Thomas Rivers Brown called Riverain…. We are also excited about the 2013 single-vineyard Cabernets from Lokoya.”
Best of Award of Excellence winner Formento’s in Chicago has a new chef. Replacing Stephen Wambach is Todd Stein, previously of Chicago’s 4 Star Restaurant Group. The restaurant’s Italian-American cuisine is complemented by a wine list of 475 selections, with strengths in Italy and California, managed by wine director Jen Schmitt, who joined the team in June.