P.A. culinary team showcases peninsula wine, cuisine

Several times each year, Joy Siemion, chef and owner of Joy's Wine Bistro and Joy's Bistro at Peninsula College in Port Angeles, can be found working around the country alongside internationally renowned chefs including the Food Network's Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis.

Similarly, while his wines age in barrels at Olympic Cellars, you might find winemaker Benoit Murat working the harvest at Cloudy Bay, New Zealand's most famous winery, or studying the latest winemaking techniques in France.

Each of these Olympic Peninsula culinary talents is committed to continuously augmenting their skill and expertise to bring Port Angeles diners an exquisite gastronomic experience.

On Nov. 8, Siemion and Murat will join forces in presenting "La Gerbebaude 2," a winemaker dinner showcasing seasonal Olympic coastal cuisine expertly paired with peninsula-made wines. The event will take place at Joy's Wine Bistro, with seating at 6 p.m.

"La Gerbebaude," is a French term meaning "end-of-harvest," Siemion said. "La Gerbebaude 2 is our second end-of-harvest winemaker dinner. For this event Benoit and I have worked together to create a perfect fall menu. It is an expression of the local bounty with simple ingredients and clean, fresh flavors, complemented by Benoit's wonderful handcrafted wines."

Working with celebrity chefs

Siemion recently returned from the Food Network's New York City Wine & Food Festival, one of the largest televised cultural events of the year featuring the best and brightest stars of the culinary world. Now in her 10th year as culinary stage production manager, Siemion and her crew take care of every behind-the-scenes detail for celebrity chef demonstrations on a particular stage. This includes receiving chef recipes, ordering and receiving food, prepping ingredients, organizing ingredients for the stage demonstration, troubleshooting and directing the chefs on camera. Siemion's crew supported chefs Bobby Flay, Lidia Bastianich, Rachel Ray, Rocco DiSpirio, Tyler Florence and Masaharu Morimoto at the New York event.

In February, Siemion will be off to South Beach, Fla., for the South Beach Wine & Food Festival and in June she will work the Aspen Wine & Food Festival.

"I return from each event feeling personally challenged and look forward to applying the new knowledge and techniques I learn in my own business," Siemion said.

A mélange of winemaking techniques

French native Murat was educated in enology and viticulture and began his winemaking career in the Bordeaux region of France. Seeking to experience winemaking in different parts of the world, he came to the United States and since has traveled to winemaking areas in New Zealand, Italy and other parts of France.

Murat reads constantly to keep up on what's happening in the industry and confers with other winemakers regularly. His personal winemaking style is a mix of the techniques he's learned around the world.

Working closely with Siemion, Murat carefully creates the wine lists at Joy's Wine Bistro to complement her culinary creations and often recommends some delightfully surprising pairings.

Seating for La Gerbebaude 2 is limited and early reservations are recommended. Tickets are $55 per person. For reservations, call 452-9449.

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