Episode #559 – A Renowned Chef. A Beloved Winemaker. Two Stories About Innovating Beyond the Quarantine’s Confines

These days, a “Grape Encounter” is far different than what it used to be. Until “Shelter in Place” became the new normal, a Grape Encounter usually occurred face-to-face. Unfortunately, in today’s socially-distanced world, the way we enjoy wine has changed radically overnight. The good news is, while a lot of people may be content to just stay home and catch up on any number of Netflix serials or movies, there are plenty of people out there reinventing themselves and their businesses in an effort to make the best of a really, really terrible situation. That being said, a few days ago, Grape Encounters Host David Wilson was online, checking up on what everybody in the wine, food and hospitality businesses were doing, when he came upon a live video from somebody who has been beloved on the show since day one. His name is Keith Saarloos, the voice of an extraordinary family-owned and operated boutique winery on the Central Coast of California.

Keith is a guy who has never played by the rules. It’s not that he’s not a team player, it’s that he always seems to find new and better ways to do things that we have always done the same old way! It’s that maverick spirit that has earned Keith and the family winemaking operation an enormous social media following to complement the extraordinary popularity of their sensational limited-production wines. In the first half of today’s show, Keith talks about what the family business is doing to remain strong. One of those measures involves Keith getting into his vehicle to deliver wine and gourmet cupcakes personally to local fans of the Saarloos and Sons brand… which is exactly what Keith was doing when he made the video that caught David’s attention!

The same day that David came across the very heartwarming video posted by Keith Saarloos, another post – this time from a renowned chef – caught his attention and he just had to make an immediate connection. The chef is Rick Moonen, who until recently, operated two world-class restaurants in the famed Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas. Rick is a frequent guest on numerous high-profile TV programs, has graced the pages of several of America’s best-read magazines and has creative instincts about engaging present and future fans that are as innovative as his cuisine.

Sequestered in his Las Vegas Home along with his wife, Chef Moonen has transformed his backyard into a true Garden of Eatin’, growing everything imaginable to create extraordinary dishes while waiting out the Coronavirus health crisis. But that’s just the beginning. Rick and his beloved partner have come up with a daily ritual they call, “Quarantine Cuisine!” Wait until you hear about all the moving parts of this ingenious idea! Rick says they’re having so much fun taking this idea further each day that it makes the quarantine more of a fun challenge than a major disruption of his life. And Quarantine Cuisine is just one of the many ways that Chef Rick Moonen is making lemonade out of lemons during this trying time. To hear plenty more, you need only tune in to Grape Encounters Radio!

Today’s edition of Grape Encounters is brought to you by Total Wine & More, where you’ll find thousands of wines produced by folks who started with a dream and never looked back. Be sure to spend a little time online at TotalWine.com. You’ll be very glad you did!

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