Two of the city’s leading beverage professionals have left the restaurants at which they were stationed while becoming nationally-known names.
Deschaine started her local career at Tristan just prior to its closing, nailing an upset victory in Charleston Wine + Food Festival’s Iron Mixologist contest soon after the downtown restaurant shuttered. She’s since competed in a variety of national bartending events, and last summer was featured in the New York Times as inventor of the color-changing Disco Sour. The cocktail “will be on my tombstone,” she told writer Robert Simonson.
Deschaine hasn’t decided what she’ll do next.
"Things don't always happen the way we plan, or in the timing that we foresee," she says via e-mail. "My personal future and the future of the 492 bar program are still to be determined. But I am very confident in the talent of the team there, and I know they will do well."
She added that she's confident she's made the right move, and is enjoying earlier bedtimes.
And Cappie Peete Chapman has left Neighborhood Dining Group (NDG), which she seven years ago joined as an assistant sommelier. Promoted after earning her advanced sommelier certification, Peete was director of beverage and education for the restaurant portfolio at the time of her departure; during her tenure, McCrady’s received a prestigious James Beard Foundation award nomination for outstanding wine service.
“Our beverage needs are unique to each of our restaurants, and we realized that we are better off having individual beverage professionals at the helm of each location versus one central position,” NDG’s David Howard said in a statement. “We thank her for all her hard work and wish her the very best.”