Tuesday, June 3, 2014

6/03 ROBERT LARSEN, RODNEY STRONG VINEYARDS, ROB HARPEST, BOUCHON, STARCHEFS.COM™, RISING STARS AWARDS

ROBERT LARSEN - 24th ANNUAL SUMMER CONCERT SERIES AT RODNEY STRONG VINEYARDS

Rodney Strong Vineyards’ 24th annual concert series lineup is now official. This year, the winery will open their new patio as they welcome guests and host great names in music starting with jazz supergroup Jazz Attack, continuing with Bay Area favorites Chris Isaak and Chris Botti, and concluding with horns galore, Tower of Power, over Labor Day weekend. The series will have a festive feeling this year as the winery celebrates their silver anniversary of family ownership. Join Rodney Strong Vineyards at their beautiful lawn setting, The Concert Green, and enjoy the music and award-winning wines. For all the details, visit www.rodneystrong.com/concerts.

Rodney Strong Vineyards Wine Club members enjoy an exclusive reception before the shows and at intermission, as well as $5.00 discount on each ticket price. Wine Club tickets must be purchased through Rodney Strong Vineyards by calling (866) 779-4637.

Rodney Strong Vineyards is dedicated to crafting world-class wines that capture the essence of Sonoma County.  Rodney Strong sustainably farms 14 estate vineyards and produces wines from Sonoma County’s finest appellations – Alexander Valley, Russian River Valley, Chalk Hill and Sonoma Coast.  The winery was founded in 1959 by Sonoma County wine pioneer Rodney D. Strong as the 13th bonded winery in the county.  It was purchased by the Klein family, a third generation California farming family, in 1989.  The company aspires to conserve and protect the environment in all its operations.

WWW.RODNEYSTRONG.COM/CONCERTS


ROB HARPEST - SOMMELIER OF BOUCHON - STARCHEFS.COM™ 2014 LOS ANGELES RISING STARS AWARDS

StarChefs.com™, the award-winning restaurant industry trends magazine, is on the heels of announcing its 2014 Los Angeles Rising Stars Awards, honoring up-and-coming chefs and culinary professionals, who represent the vanguard of the contemporary American dining scene.

The winners will be showcased at the StarChefs.com Rising Stars Gala on Thursday, June 12, beginning with an awards ceremony at 6:30pm and followed by a tasting gala from 7:30pm to 9:30pm. The walk-around tasting gala will give attendees the opportunity to experience 20 of Los Angeles’s top chefs and restaurants with beverage pairings and cocktails by the winning sommeliers and bartenders, in one location for one night only.

For a list of past Rising Stars Award winners by city, see the “Rising Stars” section of our Chefs page.

ABOUT ROB:A server position right out of college at Outback Steakhouse had Rob Harpest memorizing two-word descriptors for a generic by-the-glass program. While that wasn’t revelatory, the experience piqued his interest in wine. Harpest went out and bought all the wines from the list so he could taste, compare, and make some kind of personal connection.

While in Las Vegas, he plunged head first into the wine world, participating in the opening of the Aladdin Hotel. A move to California found Harpest making frequent trips to Santa Barbara vineyards, and working at Morton’s Steakhouse as a bartender and wine captain. Harpest briefly left the company for a stint at a Hollywood steakhouse, but Morton’s drew him back with a beverage manager position at their Downtown Los Angeles location. Seeking further challenges and more freedom with his wine list, Harpest took his skills to Chef Suzanne Tracht’s Jar, where he spent five years immersed in the industry. It was the best time he’d ever had running a beverage program—small, comfortable, with room to explore and an amazingly loyal clientele. Tasting regularly with his mentors, including 2010 StarChefs.com Rising Star Chef Chris Miller of Spago, Harpest continued to hone his skills.

Since his formative experience at Jar, Harpest spent two years as sommelier and beverage director with Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air before Bouchon came calling. At Bouchon, Harpest combines his love of wine with lessons learned from his travels and life in the industry—from the home of the Bloomin’ Onion to the house of Thomas Keller.

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