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Monday, January 26, 2015

Dori Murvin: Sorceress of Service

Almost everyone has a connection to the service industry. Whether you're a frequent restaurant diner or a former (or current for that matter) service industry employee, you are surely aware that there are some people who dedicate their lives to making each of your restaurant experiences memorable. We see general managers doing table visits and celebrated chefs with write ups in magazines, but there are others that pump blood through the restaurant industry.

After being laid off during a large corporate buyout with Maison Blanche, accountant Dori Murvin began waiting tables at the old Colonel's Club where Chelsea's Café currently sits in Baton Rouge. Six months into the game, Murvin moved up to bartending. A year in, she was managing. Dori moved to Mansur's to fill in for a couple of months and ended up working there for 5 years where she fell in love with wine and began handling their wine program. After that, she helped whip the Camelot Club's wine program in to shape and worked with Chef Peter Sclafani at Ruffino's with their new wine dinner program at the time. Further along in her career she worked at Fleming's as their wine director.

Dori Murvin
Dori Murvin Enjoys a Glass of Wine

Over the years, the bond Dori formed with players throughout the industry began to turn into something more. She and some of her friends started talking about creating a wine round-table to better the dining experiences offered in Baton Rouge. They wanted to help gain buying power for the market to bring in wines not typically seen in the city. Talks turned to action thus producing the Baton Rouge Epicurean Society. The organization is known for their glorious events, such as Fête Rouge, that raise money to be poured directly back into the community. Each fête is a competition, and with Dori Murvin as one of the founders, there is most definitely a Fête du Vin. She is in charge of getting the wine flights prepared for tasting, contacting teams to taste each wine, and more recently has expanded the the event to include local sommeliers to help further educate the tasters and enhance their experience. 

She worked at a few more restaurants along the way until one fateful evening when she attended a friends and family night at the newly opened Beausoleil Restaurant and Bar. It was love at first sip. "Jeff (the general manager) went and grabbed some of [chef] Nathan's gnocchi and I tried it with the pinot and said, 'I have to work here.'" At the time Conaway couldn't offer her a management position, but Murvin believed in the food so much she offered to return to a server position for the opportunity to work at the new, inspired eatery. She showed up for work the following Tuesday in 2010 and the rest is history. "I love working here. The food's good, the wine's good, it's just a good place. I don't have a poker face, I have to work somewhere I believe in." Now serving as the Front of the House Manager and Wine Director at Beausoleil, Dori dedicates herself to keeping Beausoleil on the cutting edge of the local dining scene. She also does wine consulting for other programs in the city and is still heavily involved in all aspects of the Baton Rouge Epicurean Society. 

Dori Murvin is a strong, in-charge female who has been consistently killing it in the Baton Rouge service industry for years. Discovering her love of fine wines along the way ended up being a stepping stone that lead to being one of the founders of an extremely charitable organization in the capital city. The Baton Rouge service industry needs more passionate people like Dori who dedicate themselves to the making fine cuisine and wines approachable and elevating our food culture.

This post is part of a new monthly series spotlighting Louisiana women in the business of booze. Previous features include:
Natalie Parbhoo: Duchess of Distribution
Lindsay Nations: Baroness of Beer