Chris Leo is an enlisted man in Food & Beverage. Starting begrudgingly at the lowest rung, and even more begrudgingly returning year after year to higher levels with more responsibility, an unrequested American inertia driving him further and further up the ladder. Restaurant and bar work began for him only as a means to support a life with music and writing, for bread and butter money between tours. However, over a pre-show bottle of Dornfelder in Nuremberg — yes, Dornfelder — he had an epiphany that he also hated getting on stage. It wasn’t the performance or spotlight that had him in the arts, it was the endless human exchanges that came with it. Yet here he was in two careers wherein neither one was a perfect fit. As he began whittling away what it was in both that kept him coming back, both roads lead to the same point: wine and beer. Since wanting to be here, he’s worked as a cook for Raw Food gurus Matthew Kenny and Sarma Melngailis at Pure Food and Wine, as a manager at the Soho Grand Hotel and at April Bloomfield’s The Breslin in the Ace Hotel, as sommelier for Mario Batali & Bastianich’s Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles, and several seasons of harvesting grapes and making wine with his wife, Laura Marchetti, from the Settentrione to the Meridione.
Laura Marchetti is a native of Le Marche who studied semiotics under Umberto Eco at the Università di Bologna before bouncing around from the Sorbonne to NYC to Mexico back to Italy and NYC several times until finally settling in to the world of Food & Beverage at NYC hotels like The Bowery, The Crosby, and The Standard. Convincing Chris to head out West she continued zeroing in on her place in the world of wine and beer via WSET, as a wine consultant at El Vino Wines in Venice Beach, as a lecturer and host with LAWineTastings of Beverly Hills, as the Los Angeles sales rep for San Francisco’s Un Po’ Pazzo Wines, as a sommelier at 3Twenty Wine Lounge in Hollywood, as the bartender at Batali & Bastianich’s Pizzeria Mozza, and via several seasons of grape harvests and wine making apprenticeships across the Boot.
Enrico de Donà is The Maritime Republic’s eyes and ears on the streets of Bologna, sempre in giro, a gastronoming flâneur. When not consulting on the opening of gelato shops in Berlin or co-running Pubblico Bene, a crowd-sourced information site based on creating a different dialogue of the news via “slow journalism”, he blogs for Puntarella Rossa about the best piadine in Emilia-Romagna, where to take your parents to eat, and the champions of fomenting wine and beer events like Gusto Nudo and Birrai Eretici.