"I always try to keep an open mind and an open palate to new experiences. Experimentation is one of the best way to educate your senses."
Accredited Sommelier, Algonquin College - Ottawa
Smart Serve certified
Certification in Marketing
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Question: What makes for a successful dinner party?
Patti: It has to be fun and never stuffy—something I’ve learned from my time at the Savvy Company. That goes right to the planning, which people don’t always realize can be as much fun as the actual event. I hosted a Canadian harvest dinner with guests from various other countries. I chose foods and wines that reflected our culture. From the first course and the accompanying sparkling wine to the final course and the dessert wine, the food was local and the wines were Canadian. There’s no better way to educate people about our culture than to feed it to them—literally. For our guests it was the contrast with their own cultures that they enjoyed as much as the meal itself.
Question: How did you come to be a sommelier?
PP: My love of wine was preceded by my love of food: thankfully the two are a package deal. I grew up in a family that loved to cook. Matching wine and food is where I like to focus my energy. While some choose a mystery novel as bedtime reading, I fall asleep reading cookbooks from around the world. Cooking is empowering. I can prepare a meal and experience another culture from my dining room table. I’m always looking for new wine and food pairings and I take great satisfaction in watching people enjoy a pairing they would have never thought to try.
Question: What was your first memorable wine experience?
PP: Fittingly, it was the City of Love that solidified my love of wine. It was on a surprise trip to Paris for my birthday almost 10 years ago that my enjoyment of wine turned into a genuine passion. We ate and drank our way through as many cafes and restaurants as possible over eight days: sitting at sidewalk cafés sipping a glass of wine; enjoying a bottle during a picnic one the banks of the Seine. Learning to equate wine with experiences like that changed my perspective.
Patti's Wine Tips
Rule #1: Throw out the old rules. Trust your own palate. What tastes good to you is what matters.
I always try to keep an open mind and an open palate to new experiences. Experimentation is one of the best way to educate your senses.