Complex Pairings

July 4, 2016

Foodies and wine snobs take note.

Interviewed by Susan Kehoe, Ph.D. | Photography by Jerry Zolynsky

Frederick Amady, a true gourmet and wine connoisseur, talked to SEEN to share his insight into wine and food. Amady is general manager at Prism restaurant at Greektown Casino-Hotel in the heart of Detroit.

He moved to the States from Quebec in 1990 and has a great resume, including work in Metro Detroit at Iridescence at the MotorCity Casino Hotel, the Park 600 bar + kitchen at the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester and the Westin in Southfield, among others.

Amady, a knowledgeable sommelier and food gourmet, is often found chatting with customers about historic events as well as the menu. He delights in his daughter, Loren, who has “a little lap dog named Dobby, yes, after the character from Harry Potter. We read many of those together,
Loren, the Malt-Poo and I.”

SEEN: What’s involved in stocking a wine cellar for a major casino restaurant?

FA: We must have something suitable for every guest every time they come. At Prism, we like to keep a balance of wines from Old World countries combined with the new world. For that reason, I stock a cellar with a range of wines from France, Italy and Spain, to Argentina, Australia, California and Michigan.

SEEN: What are some of Prism’s most popular wines?

FA: Caymus Cabaret Sauvignon is one of the oldest wines from Napa Valley. It’s difficult to keep it in stock, and there tends to be shortages every year before the new vintage is released. By the glass, guests enjoy Black Stallion Cabernet Sauvignon, full-bodied and balanced with savory aromas of black cherry, cocoa and spice. Another favorite Cab is from Joseph Carr; the aroma exudes coffee, cherry, mint and fig. It’s hard to go wrong with a glass of these two wines.

SEEN: Tell us about the popularity of wine pairings.

FA: You pair wine to bring more flavors into the food and vice versa. This is the attraction for those who enjoy both food and wine. You can choose to pull out a flavor to complement whatever you wish. With a white wine, flavors of crispy apple, pineapple, peaches or pear are common. You can choose to pull out any one of these, using acidity, sweetness or tartness to complement your dish. The more you enjoy and taste wines, the more your pallet is trained to recognize these elements.

SEEN: Should we still follow the conventional standards of pairing white wine with fish and chicken and red wine with meat?

FA: There’s a migration away from traditional standards, and people are abandoning white wine with fish or chicken for a different flavor experience. Today, people have more refined pallets and are savvy about what they eat. In the end, it’s about enhancing the entire dining experience.

SEEN: What do you recommend for some of your frequently ordered dishes?

FA: There really are no textbook answers, but if you order our Kansas City strip steak, which is aged 28 days, I’d recommend a wine to maximize that flavor. The 2012 Coach Insignia Cabernet Sauvignon is a good choice — and has a Detroit story behind it. The original family owners of Fisher Body have produced this wine in the Fisher Vineyard for many years. It has the red coach logo on the label, which Fred J. Fisher II, proprietor, says “is a treasured symbol of my family.”

SEEN: And for the seafood choices on the menu?

FA: I’d recommend a buttery Fume Blanc or Landmark Chardonnay from Sonoma to enhance much of the seafood, although with our hallmark sea bass I typically recommend a traditional but more robust Burgundy like Collovray & Terrier Macon-Villages.

SEEN: Is it difficult to find a good dessert wine?

FA: I have just one word for you: Chateau d’Orignac. It’s fermented in Cognac barrels and the taste comes through — compare it to Port, or better yet, try it with chocolate cake!

SEEN: Have American wines evolved over the years?

FA: That’s an interesting question. Baron Phillippe de Rothschild once said of California wines that they “taste like soda pop.” Yet recently he has partnered with Robert Mondavi’s son, Tim Mondavi, to produce a robust Bordeaux blend red named “Opus One.” Although bottled and signed by both vintners, the label reads “Oakville, California.” I think a marriage with Rothschild Burgundy shows that American wines have reached the highest level.

SEEN: What’s your impression of the Michigan wines?

FA: Several of the wines in the Traverse region have matured to the point where they’ve won awards in competition with California wineries, especially the Rieslings, which are light and refreshing in the summer.

SEEN: How have you found working in Detroit this past decade?

FA: I love seeing the resurgence of the city and its transformation into the beautiful, modern frontier of technology and innovation it’s reinventing. NS

Prism Restaurant
Greektown Casino-Hotel
555 E. Lafayette St., Detroit
(313) 309-2499


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