Samira Bechara

Who is Samira?
Samira is chef/sommelier at Le Beirut Nola pop-up and The Tell Me Club speakeasy in New Orleans, Louisiana (USA).

Why/how did you get into wine? 
I started exploring wine during my many years in the restaurant industry. I’ve always been a rather cerebral person and delving into a course of study that would enhance my career was a natural decision for me. I’ve always had a passion for flavor and the way a perfect pairing can inspire true presence; I often think back to the first time I had kibbe nayye with arak and how before that moment I was unaware of the way food and beverage can truly belong to one another. Life is hard and stressful and bizarre – flavor can transport us, at least for some brief moments, to a place where we forget about the world around us and are simply present in the experience of it. As a restaurant professional I am always seeking to provide my guests with the best wine and food pairings possible, to take them to that place…to inspire them to live in the moment. My wine career really began to gain traction while I was managing at Trois Mec in Los Angeles, where my mentor, Jeremiah Henderson, introduced me to the practice of biodynamics and the natural wine world. From there I became immersed in natural wine and worked at such places like June Wine Bar and Henry’s Wine and Spirits. Now I consult for a restaurant here in New Orleans and also have a Lebanese fundraising pop-up with a residency at a natural wine speakeasy.

Who’s a woman you look up to and why? 
Uznea Bauer – she is the woman who runs the natural wine speakeasy that hosts my pop-up. She is talented and humble, she is consistent and reliable, she is an innovator and a professional, she is a self-starter and an excellent coworker. She is the kind of person you can look up to and lean on, and also know that she will ask your advice and let you provide a shoulder when she needs it. She is an incredible wealth of knowledge yet always approachable. She is a wonderful human being and someone I am proud to call friend, teammate, and inspiration.

What’s your superpower? 
I think we all have superpowers that are applicable to different times and situations, and what is coming up for me right now is simple – compassion. I know I have the ability to hold space for people to be exactly how and where they are in each moment I am interacting with them – and always, especially during trying times like these, we just need a little validation to get through our days. Through all my life’s experiences I have become a hyper non-judgemental person and I think that is a powerful quality, indeed.