LUSH Interview, 10 Questions with…
Sommelier and Manager of NoMi at the Park Hyatt
At the Park Hyatt Hotel
800 N. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
BIO: So, this kid knows a thing or two about wine…and food. When Fernando speaks of his mom’s cooking, he is evoking the essence of real freakin’ authentic Guatemalan food. But, he has traveled extensively, sampling language, culture, food and beverage from the east and west, as well as the middle, up and down. Mr. Beteta is graced with an advanced palate, a good nose, and a charming personality. His wine and menu pairing is quite lovely and he is absolutely adept at pulling off such a prestigious and demanding position at NoMi. Fernando has dashing good looks and a rockin’ collection of awards, including 3 editions of ‘Best Young Sommelier Midwest’ by L’Ordre Mondial Des Gourmets Degustateurs Chaine Des Rotisseurs and is officially a ‘Rising Star’, although we think his star quite high enough at the moment. Wanna meet us at NoMi for a glass of wine?
INTERVIEW: Thanks for agreeing to be a part of the Lush Wine & Spirits blog. Please answer the following questions in whatever way you see fit. We want your voice, personality, and opinions to come through!
1) What is the best thing you’ve drank in the last week? What about in the last year?
Aquavit from Sweden last Sunday for Brunch. Some of my Swedish friends gave us some with pickled herring and home smoked salmon. They served it super chilled and a Carslberg Beer.
The best thing I’ve tried this last year was Adam Seger’s rum liquor, infused with Hibiscus, Cardamom and Ginger.
2) What do you think is the most underrated grape varietal or region? Overrated?
The most underrated is Gruner Veltliner from Austria, really a wine you SHOULD find anywhere but too many people are afraid to pour it by the glass.
One of the most overrated is Pinot Grigio. This is one grape I can’t understand, it can be so beautiful and so blah.
3) Who are your favorite food and wine writers?
Doug Frost M.S., Evan Goldstein M.S., but I don’t read too much.
4) What are your three favorite food cities?
Chicago is number one, for many obvious reasons.
Bangkok is the food-porn capitol of South East Asia. You can try something new everyday for the rest of your life.
San Francisco, I love the mix of ethnic food, California cuisine, casual and edgy food in that city.
5) Top three restaurants you revisit all the time in Chicago?
Mercat a la Planxa, tapas restaurant in the Blackstone hotel
La Gondola, Italian restaurant on Ashland
Ping Pong on Broadway
6) What is your most memorable dining or drinking experience?
10 Friends for B.Y.O.B at Le Francais, I specifically remember the 1994 Montrachet from Jacques Prieur with Truffled Potato foam.
7) Between wine, beer, and spirits – when do you reach for each? If you HAD to do without one, which would it be?
Spirits, when you’re looking for a date.
Wine, when you go on a date.
Beer, when you can’t find a date.
8) What is the best thing about your job?
I get to taste some amazing wines and meet great people.
9) If you had to describe yourself as a certain wine, what would it be? (i.e. Australian Shiraz – spicy, bold, and seductive. German Riesling – sometimes sweet (but hard to predict if it will be), elegant, and requiring of patience.)
Right now, I feel like a field blend. No one knows what’s in it and not sure what to expect.
10) You’re on death row (sorry). What’s your final meal?
My mom’s cooking.