Photo Credit: Peter Pioppo

Arnaud Devulder
55 West 44th St.
NY, NY 10036
(212) 391 2400

Amy Tarr: How long have you been with DB Bistro Moderne?
Arnaud Devulder: I’ve been with the Dinex Group since 2003. I started at Daniel and was promoted to sommelier last February and came to DB as maitre d’ and sommelier in charge of the whole liquor and wine program in the fall of 2004.

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Arnaud Devulder

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 Association.

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 Association.

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Interview Cont'd
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 you anticipate?
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 to Merlot.


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   Published: September 2006