Interview with Chef Jennifer Knowles of Rubicon - San Francisco
Antoinette Bruno: How did you develop an interest in wine?
Jennifer Knowles: I was working in a restaurant when I was 16-years old and was asked to do a wine tasting. I learned the smell of wine and was turned on. I was a chemistry major in college and that fed it more. Then I had a friend who was at the CIA and that fueled my interest even more.
AB: What is your philosophy on food and wine?
JK: My philosophy is based upon what the customer wants, not what I tell them. If they tell me what they really want, I can add my opinion. The customer should be allowed to direct and I can include them and their taste in their experience.
AB: Do you favor Old World or New World Wines?
JK: I prefer Old World whites because of the clarity of flavors. I like that they typify where they are from. With red wines I can really go both ways.
AB: Tell me about a perfect match that you discovered.
JK:Alsatian Riesling and pork, either bacon or braised pork.
AB: Why do you think you stand out as a sommelier?
JK: I try to make education and approachability the focus. I want to make people feel comfortable.
AB: What wines do you favor for your cellar at home?
JK: Champagne, Rieslings, and dry rosés.
AB: What are your ultimate career goals? Where do you see yourself in 5 and 10 years?
JK: I’d like to be a wine director of a restaurant and be able to educate staff and customers about wine, show that wine is for everyone.