What was the vision behind opening Ten Bells?
The story of The Ten Bells was to open a place where we would go to : good food with the priority of getting ingredients from local producers working organic or sustainable methods, and natural wines.
What did you do before Ten Bells?
I worked for more than 8 years at Le Pere Pinard, a French Bistrot who was located on Ludlow Street, 3 blocks away from The Ten Bells. As the G.M, I was running the day to day operations including taking care of the wine list.
Are all of the wines at Ten Bells considered natural wines?
I would say 99% are.
What does the term natural wine mean to you?
A wine is considered natural when the winemakers use organic methods not only in the vineyard but in the cellar as well, meaning less intervention as possible, indigenous yeast, no sugar added, very low or no sulfites, no collage.
Do your customers understand natural wine and do they ask for wine that is organic or biodynamic?
Some of them knows and come to us because we carry the wines that they’re looking for. But for most of them, we have to explain the difference between organic, natural and biodynamic. The only phase of winemaking that got the “organic” label is the growing of the grapes. After that, winemakers can use chemical yeast, add sugar, wood chips or sulfites as much as he wants, he will still have the “AB” label on his bottle. Then the natural wine keeps the organic methods in the vinification process, and for biodynamic wines, every steps of the process is ruled by the invisible forces of the Earth.
What makes you happy?
Right now, the first thing that makes me happy is my daughter… she was born 3 weeks ago!!! In a more general way, I would say that my life makes me happy. I do what I love. I travel to visit vineyards and winemakers, only in France so far, I visit farms upstate New-York to find ingredients, and the final idea of it is to share it with people that understand or hopefully will understand that it is a necessity for everyone to eat and drink better. And with The Ten Bells, it’s the perfect way to show that you can do so without breaking your wallet.
What makes Sundays so amazing at Ten Bells?
We created the “Sunday Night Delicacies” so every Sunday we offer a special treat to our patron. it changes every week and we like to bring items that people are not use to eat. So from one week to another, you can feast on a roasted baby goat or a suckling pig, a creamy chicken gizzard and heart stew or a spicy lamb curry.