The odd saga of Amy Payne continues today with the news (as revealed via her twitter and reported by Bill Daley at The Stew) that the NoMI assistant sommelier (who was erroneously reported yesterday be the restaurant’s new head sommelier) is leaving her gig to take on a new job — as a server at the soon-to-open Benny’s Chop House.
It’s an understatement to say that waiting tables is a change of pace from the wine life, and Payne announcing this decision the day after her big buzzy Tasting Table profile and the accompanying coverage elsewhere — and then all the meta-coverage correcting the erroneous earlier coverage — seems a little too coincidental. NoMI rep Lynne Bredfeldt issued us a “no comment” when we inquired about the circumstances surrounding Payne’s departure, leaving us alone at our desk with our speculations about the real story. In any case, Payne tweets that she’ll be using her new downtime to study for her Advanced Exam in oenology and also train for a marathon.
In an unrelated but curious confluence, Benny’s Chop House has just recently played host to its own oenological miscommunication micro-saga: the restaurant’s sommelier was announced as Justin Leone, who we (and pretty much everyone else) ID’d by his affiliation with Alinea — that is, until Achatz himself spoke up in the comments to let us know that the January in which Leone left the restaurant was that of 2009, not the one that was five weeks ago.