Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Local Dining Community, Foodies Come Out Strong For Battered MANA Food Bar Line Cook

Ashley Pruneau (Photo: Facebook)

Here's an update on Ashley Pruneau, the MANA Food Bar line cook who was brutally attacked in her home by a stranger in early July.

If you recall, the assailant beat her around the head so badly with a hammer that she required emergency surgery. She is set to have another one on Sept. 13. Add to that the mounting hospital bills, and she's in dire need of some assistance.

Elizabeth's Wine Director Scott Noorman An Unsung Hero in the Restaurant Business


People like Scott Noorman send goosebumps down my back.

He's one of those guys who's in the restaurant business for the sheer love of it all. Not for the lights or the cameras. Not for the awards. And most certainly not for the $$$.

As wine director at the farm-to-table-focused Elizabeth, Noorman lights up as he describes the exciting beverage program he'll unveil when the Lincoln Square-based restaurant opens Sept. 19. During an exclusive sneak preview, he gleefully rolls out an impressive vintage champagne cart, which he and owner/chef Iliana Regan affectionately call the "drunk trunk."

"This will fit into what we're doing over here," he says, as he proudly points to the interior of the empty cart. "It'll mostly carry select wines and sparkling wines, but I will also leave room so I can focus on a few locally sourced spirits to make classic cocktails."

Noorman continues, going on and on about the possibility of using offbeat bitters and tinctures, seeking out stemwear, and the endless choices of vino. He then talks about how he can go to a tasting of more than 300 wines and effortlessly remember what he liked without taking notes.

His knowledge of spirits and wine is vast and impressive, so it's hard to imagine that he learned absolutely everything through experience and no formal training. Yet, after getting to know him, it's not hard to see why Alinea's Grant Achatz "to this day still calls me one of his generals; he mentions me in his book, Life on the Line."