The journey from Bulgaria to Boston is
a long one, but getting there has been half the fun for Christian Vassilev
of Mantra, Bostons hot new restaurant.
to diluted table wine by his father at the age of six, Christian followed
his hunger for wine knowledge from Canada to California, before arriving
in Boston just before the Millenium.
left his family home in Sofia, Bulgaria in 1990 and landed on the west
coast of Canada, where that regions expansive wine market made
him curious to learn more about the elixir he calls "not just a
beverage but a culture."
formally at the Court of Master Sommelier, and found work in a series
of top-rated dining rooms in both Relais & Chateaux and Preferred
hotels, including Sooke Harbor House. He rose through the ranks, from
bartender to maitre dhotel, gaining confidence in his wine and
people instincts along the way. Naturally, at one point, Christian went
to Napa, where he completed the Sterling School hospitality program.
virtually every restaurant that Christian was affiliated with had won
a Wine Spectator Award, and Wine Trader magazine was calling Christian
"one of the top five sommeliers in the U.S."
he was beckoned to Boston to open The Federalist at XV Beacon, whose
spirit program rapidly earned it a Wine Spectator Grand Award. But the
lure (and lore) of a ground-breaking new restaurant drew Christian to
Mantra, for the opportunity to match wits with a menu of French-Indian
marriage of New England ingredients, classic French cooking techniques,
and a wide ranging palate of Indian herbs and spices makes choosing
wines for Mantra the challenge of a lifetime," says Christian,"
but challenges are what life is all about, right ?"