DB BISTRO MODERNE | New York
Arnaud Devulder, sommelier of db Bistro Moderne,
was born in Lille in the north of France. He dreamed of becoming
a pastry cook, and in high school he studied culinary arts. But
Devulder never intended to become a sommelier. At 18, he graduated
and moved to Lyon, where he began working as a waiter. There he
met world-renowned chef Paul Bocuse, who referred him to a French
restaurant within Epcot Center in the US. It was there that he tasted
his first Puligny Montrache, Premier Cru, Les Combettes from Jean-Marc
Boillot and decided to learn more about wine.
Devulder was offered the position as sommelier and
wine buyer of Stage House in Scotch Plains, NJ, where he
trained for two years before moving on to Restaurant Daniel.
Under the wings of Jean Luc Le Du and Phillipe Marchal, Devulder
fine tuned his wine service skills while taking care of inventory.
All the while, he took wine tasting courses with the American Sommelier
In November of 2004, Devulder came to DB Bistro
Moderne to serve as Maitre D’ and Sommelier. There he
continued his training under Sommelier Jerome Dupulch. With Delpuch’s
departure to Las Vegas to run the wine program and Daniel Boulud
Brasserie at the Wynn, Devulder took charge of the whole liquor
and wine program of DB Bistro Moderne.
In addition to his responsibilities at the restaurant,
Devulder currently teaches wine classes for the American Sommelier
AT: How did you develop an
interest in wine?
AD: I am from Lille, in the
very north of France, near Calais, and since I was very young, I
wanted to be a pastry cook. In high school I studied the culinary
arts to become a chef. I never really intended to be a sommelier.
When I graduated at about 18, I moved to Lyon and that’s where
I finished up my classes and started to work as a waiter. I met
Paul Bocuse and he gave me the name and address of a restaurant
within Epcot Center that he was associated with, and I worked there
in 2000 as a waiter. I became interested in wine after tasting a
Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru 1996 “Les Combettes” from
Jean-Marc Boillot. I still remember the taste and how it made me
want to learn more about wine.
AT: What is your philosophy
on wine and food?
AD: I always defer to the chef.
Because I’ve never worked as a chef or a line cook, I do not
know how frustrating it is to not see the eyes of the guests. I
think of Chef Olivier Muller’s food first and then recommend
a wine to compliment the dishes. I try to keep the focus of the
wines to both old and new world. I pair a California Syrah with
Daniel Boulud’s signature burger, and a Fixin with his Tomato
Tart Tatin. I keep some great values on the list as well
AT: Do you favor Old World
or New World wines? Why?
AD: If you open my cellar right
now, it’s mostly French wines. I love French wines! But I
also love Spanish and Italian wines. And as far as California goes,
I love Shafer, Merry Edwards, Channing Daughters in Long Island,
and Starlite Vineyards. I just did a wine dinner with Seth Kunin
from Paso Robles, who’s great. All these wines have a special
quality about them and a lot of character. I really believe in a
sense of terroir. The winemaker that respects terroir will always
make a great wine. I don’t believe a wine should be judged
and compared with other ones; it should just be enjoyed as a representation
from that part of the world.
AT: Tell me about a perfect
wine and food match that you discovered.
AD: Soft shell crabs are in
season now, I like them pan roasted with a light, brown butter sauce
and a little lemon, diced tomatoes, old-fashioned pommes purees
with some tiny capers. Pair this with a Crozes Hermitage Blanc Les
Meysonniers 100% Marsanne. It’s in between a Chardonnay and
a Sauvignon Blanc—a really perfect match for that dish. Right
now that’s what I like to do, but I move my wine list a lot
to work with Olivier’s menu.
AT: What are your ultimate
career goals? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
AD: There’s so much to
do in New York City. In terms of Daniel Boulud, there are a lot
of things going on. For now, I see myself with Daniel. Eventually,
I might want to go in another direction, but for the next five years,
I want to be here, educating people on the floor. I’m always
on the floor! I always like to see wine service and how people react.
AT: What are some wine trends
AD: I’m seeing people
drinking a lot more French, Spanish, and Italian wine again, and
there’s been a 20% increase in French wine drinking at DB
Bistro Moderne. I’ve also noticed drinkers returning
back to top