430 Dauphine Street
New Orleans, LA 70112
Dan Brown’s childhood took place on farms in rural Tennessee.
He grew up working on his grandfather’s farm and in his grandmother’s
garden. Of note were his grandfathers many varieties of tomatoes, which
the family would consume at every meal during the growing season. Holiday
feasts at the Brown home were enormous and made from scratch. When his
father’s family in Nashville celebrated, their German style food
was served on antique china with family silver.
Brown arrived in New Orleans on a scholarship to Loyola University
in 1973. He took a job bartending in a nightclub that didn’t serve
any sustenance, but required jackets. Brown dove into the nightlife
of New Orleans and found the architecture and culture of the city fascinating.
So fascinating, in fact, that he left his studies to work at the Audubon
Park and Zoo. Brown also became heavily involved with win. His wife
was employed by Martin Wine Cellar, one of the nation’s prevalent
wine dealers. They attended wine tastings and seminars, and began making
contacts in the industry with collectors and vintners.
In 1988 Brown found himself at a crossroads in his career. He had created
and sold his own contracting business, and had begun making a name for
himself in both the construction and wine fields. Susan Spicer was hiring
for Bayona, Brown had his eye set on the sommelier position. Instead,
he was hired as a prep cook and expediter, for a very small salary.
He planned to open his own restaurant and applied to attend classes
at the New England Culinary Institute. After he was accepted, his wife
became pregnant and he realized he must stay in New Orleans. He continued
at Bayona, and returned to Loyola to finish his undergraduate studies.
Simultaneously, he began buying and selling culinary antiques, specifically
18th century silver flatware and wineglasses. Brown looked forward to
when the sommelier at Bayona was going to leave to start his own business.
Keeping in contact with Spicer paid off. In 2000, she hired him as
part-time sommelier at Bayona. Brown was ecstatic, though his life was
very full with his studies, his work on historic properties and his
wife and daughter. After a year, Brown assumed the full time sommelier
post at Bayona. He creates a unique experience for his special customers
by serving wines in 18th century glassware. He finished his Master’s
and is now working at a Ph.D., while teaching part time at Tulane, and
consulting at his former construction company. At Bayona, he feels as
if he has found his home, and he hopes he will be involved with Bayona,
wine, and their customers for the rest of his life.