(left, Chuck Williams, right, Miiljenko Grgich)
Before my next wine and food pairing post comes to term, I wanted to direct your attention, dear readers, to a special website that I think that all of you will appreciate.
While at UC Berkeley I had the opportunity to work with the UC Berkeley Food and Wine Archives in the Regional Oral History Office. This is a department, funded partially by the university but primarily through philanthropic donors such as Chuck Williams of Williams and Sonoma, that records and transcribes interviews with movers and shakers in the Bay Area food and wine industries.
These movers and shakers, such as Paul Bertoli of Fra' Mani salumi and Olivetto, are interviewed, and thier responses are recorded and transcribed. Later, the interviews are downloaded to the program's website. The interviews tend to be very telling of the person's nature because they are only lightly edited, unlike with journalistic interviews, when the interviewees voice shines only when the journalist allows it. Granted, the lack of editing associated with oral history makes a very long interview. That is, its a loooooonnngg read. Interviewees ask about the person's background, childhood, road to wine or food, and much more.
However, while they're long, these oral histories are detailed, telling, and amazingly interesting. Depending on whose interviews you select to read, you might even get a dirty joke or two out of the journey.
Some wine interviewees include: Ernest Gallo, Miljenko Grgich of Grgich Hills, and Justin Meyer of Silver Oak. Most of the wine interviews include insight on the 1973 Paris Tasting too. Just some of the people interviewed in the food realm include: Mary Risley of Tante Marie Cooking School, Cecilia Chiang of Mandarin, Chuck Williams, and food writer Doris Muscatine. And, most covienently, all of the aforementioned interviews can be downloaded online at either of these two web addresses: