Friday, December 16, 2011

Eleven Madison Park: The Wine Director's Cut

Over the summer I spoke at length with John Ragan, who opened acclaimed restaurant Eleven Madison Park as its sommelier and wine director, and who built a top notch wine program there over the course of a near 6 year stint. Going back over the edited video footage, I was reminded of those bonus discs you receive with a dvd purchase, wherein a film's creator talks you through a movie as it plays. It seemed as if John was letting the audience in on his way of thinking, his rationale for directing the wine show at EMP as he did. Why the emphasis on dialogue in those scenes at the table? What were John's favorite lines from wine script? Who was the target audience for this wine story? John lets us know.

"And the Oscar goes to..." John Ragan (left), winner of a James Beard award for Outstanding Wine Service at Eleven Madison Park [photo by Kent Miller]

In the interim since the interview was filmed, John has gone on to accept a corporate level wine director position with Union Square Hospitality, Danny Meyer's restaurant group. Seeing John again recently, he said to me "I had completed what I wanted to do at EMP." The snooth interview occured just as John was putting a wrap on his work at that restaurant. This is an excellent opportunity to hear from John about what went on behind the scenes. Don't miss this interview!

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