8 Questions With Christian Shaum, Sommelier at Bazaar Meat & Bar Mar
1) Tell us about yourself (and welcome!) How did you come to Bazaar Meat?
I am a lover of soccer, classical music, and all things fermented from Detroit. I have worked in some stellar restaurants from Copenhagen to Chicago as a Runner, Wine Director, and everything in-between. But I found my way to TFG while working in Chicago through a friend at Gibson’s Restaurant Group who thought I would be a great fit. From there I was fortunate enough to get brought onto Bazaar and Bar Mar as the opening Head Sommelier/Wine Director and it’s been a blast ever since!
2) What was the moment where you knew you wanted to work in restaurants?
When I was 18, I interviewed for a back-server job at a restaurant in Birmingham, MI (just north of Detroit) and was offered a job that I was woefully unprepared for. However, the Wine Director at the time (and second Female Master Sommelier ever) saw potential in me and helped me improve. She made me come to all the wine classes (even though I could only smell the wines) and helped me work on my service skills. After improving under her I fell in love with humanity and person-to-person connections I experienced and that hooked me from then on.
3) What’s your favorite dish on the Bazaar Meat menu?
I know it seems strange to pick a plant-based dish at BAZAAR MEAT, but the tomato tartar is absolutely bonkers. It goes with so many wines and always impresses any guest who has it. It's so frustratingly simple but extremely delicious.
4) Which dish is most popular with guests?
At the moment Cotton Candy Foie is the most ordered item at Bazaar Chicago, however that dish is brand new to Chicago so it’s to be expected.
5) Which dish is underrated and why?
Bazaar Chicago’s most underrated dish is the Onion Soup Cappuccino, people think it’s a traditional soup (and try to eat it as such) or they think it’s a foie gras dish and get confused by the presentation. It just requires some re-education after the dish is dropped, and then people love it.
6) What’s your favorite cocktail?
Plantain Scotch Highball, I have always been a highball drinker and this one actually delivers a drink that doesn’t dilute the original essence of an original highball white delivering a new and fun experience.
7) What’s your favorite thing about living in Chicago?
For me it’s the number of cultures in the city’s neighborhood. Being able to jump around to a Chinese, Mexican, and Vietnamese neighborhoods for breakfast /lunch/dinner is pretty great. However, the best part is that all of these neighborhoods embrace meaningful evolutions of their culture's foods and celebrations. Watching the new generations of those culturally historic parts of the city evolve and start to come into the fore of Chicago is wildly exciting.
8) What are you looking forward to at the Bazaar this summer?
As insane as this is going to sound, I am really looking forward to the THIRD reopening of Bazaar Chicago and the menu that’s going to come from it. Being able to mash up the classic bazaar menu and the Bazaar Meat menu is going to be something really special and unique. I think we will be able to introduce a restaurant people in Chicago have never seen before...again.