The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2018

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november 2018  /  the tasting panel  /  1 15 says is all "about scratch cooking." "It's about not using butter and embracing olive oil. It speaks to freshness, but it also speaks to being current, being gluten-free-friendly, offering vegan and vegetarian options, and all of these more recent health-conscious trends," he explains. "I think Fig & Olive operates in that sort of space where we are luxury, but approachable luxury, so in many ways the impetus for the brand revitaliza- tion was figuring out how to best cultivate this," Bronson adds. When I worked with Fabrizio Nocilla, Fig & Olive's National Beverage Manager, at a restaurant in Beverly Hills many years ago, I was just starting to study for my certified sommelier exam. A certified somm himself, Fabrizio continued to help me in my endeavor even after moving on to another post. His good will extends well past convenience, and we've remained friends to this day. The relationship is made that much more effortless thanks to his Italian- esque charm, which is as warm as the Tuscan sun under which he was born. You can imagine, then, my willingness when asked to report on the newly redesigned Fig and Olive on Melrose Place in West Hollywood. I knew I'd get to see not just Fabrizio, but Fabrizio in his element. With more than a decade of experience overseeing beverage programs, Fabrizio started out at Fig & Olive as its West Coast Beverage Manager almost four years ago and has been managing at the national level for nearly a year and a half. "Fabrizio is part of our beverage program's success story," says Christopher Meaker, Fig & Olive's Senior Vice President of Operations. "He's well-versed in all things Old World and New World." Fig & Olive's Mediterranean-inspired wine list offers both domestic wines and imported selections from Burgundy, Bordeaux, Provence, Languedoc-Roussillon, Tuscany, Sicily, Puglia, Priorat, Jumilla, and Penedès. Fabrizio is quick to enthuse about the various bottlings with a twinkle in his eye: "We have this amazing, dry, still Parellada and Macabeo-based blend from the Penedès, which as you know is usually made into a sparkling Cava," he tells me. "It's an amazing wine—very aromatic." As I followed Fabrizio around the newly designed space, he combed through the cellar before pointing out his top-shelf selections behind the bar. He also shared details of several noteworthy offerings at Fig & Olive, including Caymus Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon by the glass at some locations and an upcoming customizable dessert flight. With all of the restaurant's recent improvements, it's good to see it's keeping what works—or in this case, who works. Among the slew of pairing suggestions made by Fabrizio Nocilla, a standout is the Hamachi crudo with the Fig & Olive cocktail, which features botanical gin, basil-infused olive oil, and vegan "egg-white" foam made from garbanzo beans. Fabrizio Nocilla, Fig & Olive's National Beverage Manager, poses playfully on the flagship location's new rosé terrace. Mediterranean Warmth Meets California Cool A few of the Fig & Olive higher-ups from left to right: Executive Chef Timothy Hughes; Vice President of Marketing Cory Bronson; Director of Events Samantha Heart; Senior Vice President of Operations Christopher Meaker; and National Beverage Manager Fabrizio Nocilla. The bright and airy main dining area at Fig & Olive. Fig & Olive's new upstairs bar area is referred to as "The Riviera."

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