New York's Raquel Vo on winning with Star Wine List: I had a blast in Stockholm!

Raquel Vo at the 2023 New York awards at Vinexpo America, flanked by jury members Doug Frost MS MW, Véronique Rivest, Rajat Parr and Star Wine List's Liora Levi and Krister Bengtsson. Photo Gabi Porter.
Krister Bengtsson
Published 08-February-2024
Interview / New York City

Last Year, Raquel Vo took home two Gold Stars with their Tonchin Brooklyn list at our first Star Wine List of the Year New York awards and traveled to the International Final in Stockholm. As we approach the deadline for the next New York event, we caught up with Raquel at their new job.

Star Wine List of the Year is our celebration of the great wine lists of the world and the teams behind them. The upcoming New York event will be held in March and the deadline is already on Sunday Feb 11th - so somms of New York, do like your colleagues at Terroir, Eleven Madison Park and Cafe Boulud and enter now - read more here. Entry is free of charge.

Raquel, what have you been up to since winning two categories with Tonchin Brooklyn in our New York wine list awards last year?
"Tonchin Brooklyn helped me delve further into Asian food and wine pairings, a relatively untouched market in the grand scheme of the wine world. I’ve been inspired to look towards my Vietnamese heritage for play - visionary Thu Buser, a Saigonese chef here in NYC, has allowed me to pair wines with her banquet style dinners. I’ve found my pocket here and can’t wait to continue exploration."

You also travelled to our international final of Star Wine List of the Year last June in Stockholm - how was it?
"I had a blast! I used the trip as an excuse to experience Sweden. I visited Malmö and Lund (Grand Hotel Lund!) in addition to putting around Stockholm. We went on a little tour of some restaurants that have participated in Star Wine List of the Year, including Hörte Brygga and Far i Hatten. I couldn’t have asked for a better trip."

Would you encourage other sommeliers to enter the awards?
"Absolutely. It was refreshing to be around such a welcoming and diverse crowd at the awards ceremony in Stockholm. It’s a great chance to learn about new wine spaces, support other sommeliers, and get input and feedback from legends in the industry. I’m so grateful that I was able to submit my list!"

Raquel Vo. Photo courtesy of Raquel Vo.

Tell us about Foxface Natural where you are working now!
"Foxface Natural is a fine dining space that breaks all of the rules. We focus on the freshest seafood around, avant garde meats (kangaroo anyone?) and utter fun with a punk soundtrack and casual ease. It can get pretty rowdy in our 27 seat restaurant and that is definitely part of the charm. "

Going forward, you are planning some changes in your life - what can you tell us about your plans?
"Big changes afoot! After a beautiful 13 years of service, I’ve decided to pivot off of the floor and move into freelancing, consulting, and the like in March. The biggest change will be attending hair school in the fall. Doing hair is a family affair on my mom’s side; I’m looking forward to the tactile work and creative expression. Maybe I’ll have a private studio with a full blown wine bar? Who knows, the future is bright!"

Read more about the New York awards here. Entry is free of charge.

The winners on this Star Wine List tour will be invited to our International Final in Stockholm in June, meeting colleagues from around the world.

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