Duke Bourbon Hosts Inaugural "Meeting of the Masters"; Groundbreaking Spirits, Food And Wine Pairing Creative Challenge

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Industry Leaders Included Master Sommelier Fred Dame, Top Chef Master Rick Moonen And Master Mixologist Francesco Lafranconi

Duke Kentucky Straight Bourbon, crafted after John Wayne’s own Bourbon collection and tasting notes dating back to the 1960’s, hosted the first ever “Meeting of the Masters” on January 19 and 20 in Las Vegas. The worlds of spirits, wine and food came together for an epic two-day series of challenges involving a “master” from each industry including Master Sommelier Fred Dame, Top Chef Master Rick Moonen and internationally renowned and celebrated mixologist Francesco Lafranconi.

“What an unforgettable experience to bring together some of the most influential people from the wine, food and spirits industries,” says Chris Radomski, Founder Duke Spirits/Owner, Hundred Acre Wine Group. “Never before have these three worlds come together to collaborate. Over the course of two days the masters and six of the top mixologists and chefs from around the country participated in a variety of challenges and got to show off their skills in pairing dishes with not only wine but spirits.”

The chosen mixologists, bartenders and chefs from around the country included Kurtis Williams, Bartender at The Gladly in Phoenix; Dane Nakamura, Beverage Director and Head Mixologist of Bryan Voltaggio Restaurants; Greg Richie, Executive Chef of Soco Restaurant in Orlando; Jeremy Hawn of Seamstress in New York; Mackenzie Cavanagh of The Hawthorne in Boston; and Will Benedetto of William Collier’s, Nashville. They competed in challenges ranging from mixology to food and drink pairings and even a John Wayne lifestyle challenge. Chris Radomski and Ethan Wayne, who is the son of John Wayne and a partner of Duke Bourbon, oversaw all of the challenges along with a series of judges.

  •     Challenge one: The kick-off challenge was at Southern Wine & Spirits and was hosted by Francesco Lafranconi. Contestants were tasked to create three cocktails inspired by John Wayne’s movies and life.
  •     Challenge two: Yardbird Restaurant hosted the second challenge where owner John Kunkel served up two dishes to the contestants. The contestants in turn paired one wine with each dish which was judged by Fred Dame.
  •     Challenge three: To fully experience the John Wayne lifestyle, the third challenge was on a shooting range. Contestants received a training session and then shots were fired!
  •     Challenge four: Hosted by Rick Moonen at his restaurant RX Boiler Room, Moonen prepared both a seafood and meat dish for the contestants to create both a specialty drink using DUKE Bourbon and wine pairing with each dish.

The winner of the “Meeting with the Masters” challenge is Greg Richie, Executive Chef of Soco Restaurant.

About Duke Spirits
Monument Valley Distillers is an artisan distiller crafting small batches of superior Bourbon, Whiskey and Brandy. Monument Valley was born in Calistoga, California, many years ago, over an epic dinner featuring wine, shared memories and laughter between founders Ethan Wayne, son of John Wayne, renowned vintners of Hundred Acre Wines, Jayson Woodbridge and Chris Radomski, and great friend Richard Howell. Creator of DUKE Spirits, Monument Valley Distillers is committed to preserving the legacy of John Wayne by creating authentic products bearing his name. For more information visit http://www.dukespirits.com. Please enjoy all Monument Valley Distillers products responsibly.

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Lauren Hedstrom
Fox Greenberg Public Relations
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