I received a surprising e-mail yesterday. Jennifer Malone-Seixas, the sommelier at Fleur De Sel in the Flatiron district, whom I had profiled in the New York Sun July 18, wrote to tell me that five days after the article appeared, she was dismissed by the restaurant. She said there was no clear explanation. (I feel it's all right to reveal this, since she stated that her comments were on the record, even though I offered to keep them off the record.)
This struck me as strange. Past sommeliers I've profiled have received nothing but positive feedback from my "In the Cellar" columns. Making Fleur De Sel's action all the more peculiar is that Jennifer's picture was featured in Wine Spectator the very same Wednesday. Publicity for your wine program is good, no? Or isn't it?
One can't help but wonder if professional jealousy played a part. After all, the Sun chose to place the article on Page One—something they'd done only twice before with the column. And the pieces featured not one but two pictures of Jennifer.
These events are particularly ironic since part of the thrust of the article was the paucity of female sommeliers in the wine world. Now there's one less.