AIWF Folks Announce Winners of Best Restaurant Week Wine and Food Pairings

red-wineThe members of the American Institute of Wine and Food’s DFW Chapter have been doing a lot of eating lately. They had to, in order to find who had the best wine and food pairings at restaurants participating in KRLD Restaurant Week (17–23).

The winning chef and somm get a week’s stay at the Culinary Institute of America’s Greystone Campus in Cali.

Here’s a hint: the winning restaurant served a grilled Texas peach salad with a Brazos brie crouton.

Jump for the winners.

Winners of the 2009 AIWF D/FW Chapter Wine & Food Pairing Contest
For KRLD Restaurant Week – Presented by Central Market

It is with great pleasure that AIWF D/FW Chapter is announcing first, second and third place winners of this year’s AIWF D/FW Chapter Wine and Food Pairing contest in conjunction with KRLD Restaurant Week.
Drum Roll Please!!!

DALLAS (August 27, 2009) – – Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek took first place with exceptional pairings of the incomparable team of Eric Brandt, Executive Sous Chef and Michael Flynn, Wine and Beverage Director. Those dining at the iconic restaurant were all abuzz over the terrific pairings throughout their menu. “The pairings were incredible, balancing and enhancing flavors with every course.” commented Cheryl Neufeld. Additionally, the Frisée and Grilled Texas Peach Salad with Brazos Brie crouton matched smoothly with the wine’s bright red fruits which complimented the peach. The slightest hint of white pepper on the finish tied in nicely to the slightly bitter frisée. The wine pairing for the salad was Domaine de Nizas Rose, Coteaux de Languedoc, 2007 (a Wine Spectator top 100) which proved a favorite of Christina LaBarba. “The magnificent texture of the salad combined with the wine is unbelievable!” she claimed. When Michael was asked about the restaurant week popularity at The Mansion, he replied “Comments from our guests have been consistently favorable. We have had a sizeable percentage of our Restaurant Week diners opt for the wine pairings, which I think has enhanced their dining experience considerably”. As first place winners Michael and Eric will each receive a scholarship to the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley. Michael! Eric! Congrats! You are Napa bound!

Second place goes to Executive Chef Matt McCallister and Wine Director Brian Boomer of Stephan Pyles Restaurant. These two creative professionals developed a first class experience that included an imaginative menu of food and wine featuring both familiar and exotic flavors of Texas. Mexican Chocolate Fondant with Fleur de Sel Caramel and Kahlua Creama paired with Marenco Brachetto D’ Acqui “Pineto” Piedmonte DOCG 2008 was definitely the most popular choice for dessert. Brian said, “People just go crazy over it!” As second place winners these two great “foodie” minds will be awarded monetary prizes for their Wine and Food pairing achievement. Kudos to Matt and Brian!

Third place is awarded to Hilton/Anatole’s Nana restaurant team of Executive Chef, Anthony Bombaci and Wine Director, Russell Burkett for their superb pairings. The unique culinary style of Chef Bombaci delivered European flavors with Italian- influenced dishes paired with Burkett’s choice of world renowned wines. As third place winners Tony and Russell will receive monetary prizes for their Wine and Food pairing achievement.

This is the tenth year of the AIWF D/FW Chapter’s contest. The committee for this year’s contest was Chaired by AIWF D/FW Chapter Board member Kelly DeKort with assistance from Debbie McKeever, Chair of AIWF D/FW Chapter and Marianne Howells of KRLD radio.  Judges are recruited by Coordinator Michele Axley, a culinary professional from Dallas and Northern California. The identities of the judges for the contest are not revealed. Each is considered a leader in their culinary field

For those that are not familiar with Restaurant Week, KRLD Restaurant Week it is a charitable event in which participating restaurants expand their usual dining experience to patrons at a remarkable reduced cost of $35.00 for a three course menu. Price of wine pairings is left to the discretion of the restaurant. Seven dollars of that cost is donated by the restaurant to North Texas Food Bank and the Lena Pope Home. A majority of participating restaurants will continue offering their Restaurant Week menu through Labor Day weekend. A list of participating restaurants can be found online on the KRLD website.


  • Worzel Gummidge

    Who is the “Cheryl Neufeld” quoted in the press release? One of the secret judges? A slapper they met in the bar? Someone at the next table who was overhard by the ‘secret judges’?

  • jduffm

    Are these judges really going to look us in the eye and tell us that they went to EVERY one of the restaurants who participated in RW and offered wine pairings? That’s a mighty nice prize, but is it legit if some participants were not even judged?

  • Worzel Gummidge

    AIWF: How would a BYOB restaurant win this award?

  • Julia

    Congratulations to The Mansion. Great honor and some nice attention for Eric Brant and Michael Flynn – two very talented and humble guys who happen to be excellent at their crafts. I loved My Mansion RW dinner and totally agree with the judges.