I am back….Hi everyone.
For the last four weeks I have been working at the lovely Citrus Etoile Restaurant (Champs Elysees) under the head sommelier … wow. What an absolute experience.
I went from being so incredibly intimidated my very first night … to now being the only other trusted person in the restaurant to provide proper wine service to all of the clients…other than the actual sommelier. I cannot believe the transformation that has occurred in just a short month.
Citrus Etoile is a very high-quality, fine dining…. french restaurant located in Paris….right off of the famous Boulevard Champs Elysees. It can seat approximately 70 guests… this is a restaurant where everything is impeccable and perfection is expected. I have never been so nervous as I was my first night. Not only is the restaurant striving for excellence, but this is Paris…. image is everything. Mistakes are not to be made. AND the entire staff speaks in french. I was a fish out of water. Despite my immense restaurant background…this was a step up and huge challenge for me.
There are about 60 wines by the bottle and there is a cellar (where I spend the majority of my time) with open viewing for clients. Bottle price ranges from 25 Euros to 500 Euros. Yes! I have sold and presented 500 Euro bottles of wine 🙂
I have seriously had some of the best training thanks to the head sommelier here. I am very well versed on the wines as well as proper bottle service.
True story. Below is me with Elizabeth~ who is married to the Chef and owner Gille Epie. Elizabeth was on a date (20 years ago) with Richard Gere …. and they were eating at a french restaurant in Los Angeles. The french chef came out to the table… because well obviously it was Richard Gere…. it was that night that the french chef and Elizabeth made eye contact and she tells me “it was love at first sight” … they are together now running this restaurant in Paris….20 years later 🙂 She got away from Richard Gere to marry a french chef and run a restaurant in Paris!
So…two California girls. In Paris. LOVE.
Okay, and can we talk about the refined perfect creations coming out of the kitchen. No words.
Truly, truly honored to work here. The training as far as food and wine, wine sourcing and presentation, and dealing with very high end clientele that expect a night of pleasure has made me so much more of a professional than ever before.
I have definitely had some rusty embarrassing moments. That is for sure!
Such as the second night of work when I could not find my corkscrew…. so my sommelier lent me his in a quick moment of panic….. and I actually wasn’t used to it… I could not open the bottle properly at the table in front of the guests. Humiliating~ I had to retreat back to the cellar and open it.
Or the night when a Champagne bottle I was opening sprayed all over the cellar. The french waiters saw this. Their mouths dropped in disbelief.
Or when I dropped two wine glasses right as I was entering the kitchen and they shattered right in front of the chefs.
But despite my mishaps and embarrassments I am extremely proud of the professional I have become. I am now extremely confident handling ALL of the wine service and inquiries. It is like tracing the back of my hand now.
The other crazy part is what is expected of me beyond my wine knowledge. The sommelier, chef and owner have told me that I am expected to dress like a glamour girl every night. Their words… “selling wine is about image and beauty as well as knowledge in Paris. Please dress very sexy and walk seductively.”
Folks this is Paris. Image is everything….sophistication, glamour and beauty are highly valued.
Up next… I have two weeks left of working at this restaurant. Then classes will resume in Sommelier School. I am heading to Amsterdam the last weekend of Febraury. I will definitely blog about this city.
Then I head to Cognac, France the first week in March… followed by exploring the Rhone Valley Chateaus in April as well as Alsace, France. My friends and I just booked a 5 day stay in the beautiful island of Corsica in May… I will be documenting all of my travels… and much more in Paris. Resuming to normal life soon.
Check out the restaurant website if curious. http://www.citrusetoile.com