Eugenio Jardim; photo courtesy of Jardinière.
Just as I am packing my bags to head to Brazil, it seems fitting to receive a call from Brazil native Eugenio Jardim, and it wasn’t to discuss where to go in Rio (although we did chat about that too). Big news, my fellow members of the Eugenio fan club: after 12 years as the wine director at ~JARDINIÈRE~ (since 2001), he has turned in his resignation as of last Friday. He said, “I decided after 12 great years of working with Traci [Des Jardins], and so many wonderful experiences, with so many chefs and sommeliers, that it is time to test the waters. I am leaving such a great job, but I am leaving because I am ready for the next step.”
As for what those next steps are, he will not moving to another restaurant, but instead focusing on consulting and education (stand by for more on his LLC soon!). Eugenio looks forward to working with restaurants who perhaps cannot afford an experienced sommelier, but with his consultation can still benefit from his wisdom and experience in how to create an excellent—and profitable—list.
He also shared that with all the events, educational sessions, and dinners he has been hosting lately (like his work with the Wines of Portugal), he found that he is happy in front of a crowd, and gains a great deal of satisfaction with those interactions. As many can attest, the man is a wonderful educator.
So for now, he is utterly and beyond thrilled to be embarking on a much-deserved monthlong vacation, something any restaurant professional can empathize with. He is going to be fulfilling a lifelong dream: to see the men’s and women’s finals at Wimbledon, and will then be off to Brazil for a family reunion.
There is nothing officially announced yet about Eugenio’s replacement, but for now, the wine team and program will continue to be led by sommelier Jai Wilson (who is assisted by Betsy Ross).
Eugenio’s last day on the floor is Sunday June 30th. There is talk of a potential going-away party at Jardinière (kindly suggested by Traci)—good friends of Eugenio should follow up with him about it. I know I am going to miss his ever-warm greeting at the restaurant (“Hello, darling!”), which was always quickly followed up with a glass of something sparkling and fabulous. But it’s kind of like what he is about to embark upon now: a warm farewell, and a new stage of his career that will be sparkling and fabulous. Best wishes and thank you for your many years of excellent hospitality, elegance, and service at Jardinière, Eugenio!