5 Ways to Cook with Wine

by | Mar 2019

MasterChef Junior's Ariana Feygin and her father Lenny

Photo: Ariana Feygin

Father-daughter sommelier and chef team talk cooking and pairing.

There are more ways than you might expect to cook “with” wine. Here are a few of our top tips for using wine at the stove, and pairing it with food.

  • Flambé: Flambéing is the process of adding wine or other liqueur to a hot pan of food and setting it aflame. This burns off the alcohol and adds a layer of complexity and flavor to a dish. I love to use this technique, and although it is a bit intimidating, the results are amazing once you master it. —Ariana
  • Dessert: Using wine in desserts is a technique that can be a total game-changer! I love to incorporate red wine into the liquid when I poach fruits, and champagne in my glazes for cakes and pastries. —Ariana
  • Focus on the sauce: When I pair wines, the very first thing I consider is the sauce, not the meat. Is it creamy, spicy or tomato-based? For example, tomato-based sauces don’t pair well with fine red or white wines. Instead, a ripe, young Zinfandel or Grenache works better. —Lenny
  • Acidity is your friend: Wines that have high acidity, such as Riesling, Chablis or Sauvignon Blanc, do a great job of cutting through fatty, rich foods. Deep-fried foods and creamy sauces in particular pair beautifully with acidic wines, leaving you with a very refreshed palate. —Lenny
  • Fine wine, simple food: If you are trying to make the wine the star of the show, then the simpler the food, the better. Especially when I pair an old, complex wine such as a Bordeaux, I tend to steer clear of spicy or overly rich food. —Lenny

Ariana Feygin is a 14-year old chef and Minnesota’s first contestant on Fox’s MasterChef Junior. She is the founder of her business Ariana’s Kitchen and is passionate about philanthropy. Her dad Lenny is a certified Napa Valley-Wine Academy sommelier.


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