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New series fronted by Jermaine Stone pairs wine and food with hip-hop

Street Somm with Jermaine Stone.

A black, self-taught wine expert, Stone explores six culinary hubs across the United States – from New York to San Francisco – with numerous stops in between. Each episode highlights signature dishes, unexpected wine pairings, and the story behind both along the way.

The episodes also showcase a food expert from the featured city, who accompanies Stone as they explore its culture, which naturally influences its food and wine scenes. In tandem with the regional expert, Stone challenges a number of preconceived notions surrounding food and wine pairings while simultaneously sharing bits of his personal story.

‘Street Somm is a show about how wine and food bring people of diverse backgrounds together,’ Stone said, stating that wine is treated more as a supporting character on the show rather than the protagonist.

‘The Tastemade team and I wanted to prioritise a diverse set of chefs and cuisines for this series. Not only highlight how wine can be paired with any meal but also to highlight the important backgrounds of the chefs,’ he added, emphasising that the rich cultural histories of each featured city have greatly influenced their modern dining scenes.

‘In partnering with an in-the-know local for each episode, I got to taste some of the best dishes in each city and learn how the chef’s personal background shaped their food – the same way my background has shaped my own wine journey,’ he said.

A Bronx native, Stone has built a career around merging his two passions in life together: hip-hop and wine. After a burgeoning rap career, Stone explored the intricacies of the fine wine industry, eventually becoming one of the founding directors of Wally’s Auctions back in 2013. In addition to creating the concept for Street Somm, he hosted The Original Wine & Hip Hop video and podcast series. Stone is also the founder of Cru Luv Selections, a New York-based wine branding and marketing agency dedicated to engaging hip-hop fans in the world of wine.

To make wine approachable to new audiences, Stone takes more relatable approaches to wine and food matching. Stone noted that there are a number of things to consider when pairing food and wine, including where you are and who you’re with. ‘Just like you may not enjoy drinking milk on a hot day, I don’t like a crisp Vermentino on a cold winter day,’ he said, adding that considering a wine’s texture is ‘equally important’.

‘An easy way to start is to experiment with similar flavours in the dish and the wine,’ he said, stating that although not all pairings will work, you never know what unconventional pairing you’ll discover along the way.

When asked how hip-hop plays into the show’s concept, Stone’s answer was plain and simple. ‘Hip-hop plays a part in anything you see me in,’ he said.. ‘I’m a product of hip-hop, I live that culture through and through with everything – the way that I dress to the way that I speak to the narratives that I represent with my guides in each city.’

Stone revealed that in one episode, he even ‘comes out of retirement and spits some bars in the studio’. ‘I’m really looking forward to people’s response to that because I’ve always spoken about my background in hip-hop, but people have never gotten a chance to see it on display.’

Street Somm premieres on Monday, 25, September, at 7:00 pm EST on the Tastemade streaming channel.

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