Talk & Taste! The Invention of French Restaurants and Wine Pairing

With HCC's own Richard Shepro (AB75, JD79) and Rebecca Spang (AB84)


HARVARD CONNECTION Event! Join Harvard Club of Chicago past President and current board member Richard Shepro AB75 JD79, attorney and food historian, and Rebecca Spang AB84, author of The Invention of the Restaurant: Paris and Modern Gastronomic Culture (Harvard University Press, 2020) at Chicago's Alliance Française for an evening of discussion (in English) and tastings that explore the historical roots of French restaurants and wine pairings. 


Event Details

Date/Time: Thursday, February 13th, 6:30pm


Location: Alliance Française de Chicago | 312.337.1070


Address: 54 W. Chicago Ave. (event entrance)


Cost: $10 Alliance Française Members | $25 Non-Members


Language: This event will be in English


Register at the Alliance Française de Chicago website


Talk & Taste: The Invention of French Restaurants and Wine Pairing


Why would anyone consider it preferable to eat alongside perfect strangers in a loud and crowded room? 

When and by whom was it decided that we should drink red wine with beef?


If you are as curious as you are a foodie, here’s the program for you! We'll kick off the night with a discussion about the history of restaurants and food pairing, then we will sample some historical and not so historical food and wine pairings! 

Author and history professor Rebecca Spang brings us back to eighteenth-century Paris where the institution of the restaurant was beginning to shift from a purveyor of health food to a symbol of aristocratic opulence. With the subsequent reinvention of our modern culture of food and fine dining, the social life of the entire world was forever changed. 

Attorney and scholar of law, economics and food history Richard Shepro will reveal the true history of the four essential methods of pairing he discovered in research he published for the Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery. He brings us on a tour of French regional cuisine to find out why a dish is “married” to a particular wine—and why those not respecting the rules might be regarded as unrefined or ignorant. You will be surprised to find out that most of these “marriages” are not so old, and even  “red meat with red wine”—erroneously understood today as the most immutable of wine pairing rules – has an elusive, recent origin.


There will be a book sale and signing with Rebecca Spang after the program. 

About Rebecca Spang and Richard Shepro

Rebecca L. Spang: ‚ÄčThe Invention of the Restaurant: Paris and Modern Gastronomic Culture has just appeared in a special twentieth anniversary edition with a new preface by the author and foreword by Adam Gopnik. The original won two major prizes and was translated into Japanese, Portuguese, Turkish, and Modern Greek. Author Rebecca L. Spang is Professor of History and Director of the Center for Eighteenth-Century Studies at Indiana University. She also directs the Liberal Arts + Management Program (LAMP), a nationally recognized program that combines the benefits of a Liberal Arts education with core workplace competencies gained through the Kelley School of Business. Follow Rebecca on Twitter @RebeccaSpang

Richard W. Shepro: Polymath Richard Shepro is an attorney with an international practice and law professor who has a special relationship with food and wine: in addition to writing about regulations governing offal, foie gras, bakers, and seafood, Shepro is an accomplished cook and an officer of oenophile organizations in both Burgundy and Bordeaux. Through his work in France he got to know Joël Robuchon so well that Robuchon advised him on the renovation of his home kitchen. Follow Rick on Twitter @rshepro