The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2014

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82  /  the tasting panel  /  august 2014 N estled in the well-manicured lawn of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Ray's and Stark Bar offers patrons of the arts seasonally inspired, farm to table Mediterranean cuisine in a minimalist red couture setting. It is here where I met Martin Riese: a well-groomed, modest man visibly excited about sharing his passion for water with the world. "I hope you are thirsty!" he exclaims striding over from the bar, hands and arms brimming with mineral water. Riese was born in tranquil Aventoft, a small town in Northern Germany flanked by the North and Baltic Seas. Surrounded by water, Riese dates his passion to his child- hood. "When my family would go on vacation, I always wanted to try the tap water from different places. See how different water would taste in other cities, countries. My parents thought there was something wrong with me." Riese had his eureka moment in 2005 working in the prestigious First Floor Restaurant in Berlin. One afternoon, a guest approached him at the door, saying, "How can you have over 1,500 wines and only one water? I don't even like that water!" Riese began taking water seriously shortly thereafter, crafting a diverse 40-plus mineral water menu, co-authoring Die Welt des Wassers (available for those proficient in German) and, in 2010, receiving his official Mineral Water Sommelier Certification from the German Mineral Water Trade Association. Reunited with Patina Restaurants in 2011, over a decade after his original introduction by Matthew Lorton / photos by Cal Bingham The Most Hydrated Man in the World Keeping his head above water: Two years in the making, Ray's & Stark Bar's Water Menu features some of the best mineral waters in the world today thanks to Martin Riese. MARTIN RIESE, GM AND WATER SOMMELIER FOR PATINA GROUP, BRINGS WATER INTO A WORLD OF ITS OWN

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