Rajat Parr

Author Profile

Though food was Rajat Parr’s first love, wine became his great passion.  Luckily, Parr works in the best of both worlds as wine director of Mina Group and its signature restaurant, MICHAEL MINA, where he presides over a list of more than 2,500 wines from all over the world, including one of the most in-depth lists from Burgundy.  The restaurant and Parr’s wine list was awarded Wine Spectator’s Grand Award in 2006 and 2005.  The MICHAEL MINA 2005 award was the first Grand Award presented to a restaurant open less than a year. 

“At MICHAEL MINA we have the opportunity and challenge to find wines that can match the wide range of flavors presented within each meal, and even within a single dish,” says Parr of the innovative menu format.  Each dish presents guests with a palate of taste sensations by introducing a foundational ingredient to three distinct flavor variations.  “In building the cellar, we have put an emphasis on mature wines which have the depth to fully complement the cuisine.  Nothing is more pleasing than finding the perfect pairing.” 

In 2003, Parr was named wine director of Mina Group where he is responsible for developing and managing the wine programs at each restaurant: MICHAEL MINA Bellagio (formerly AQUA Bellagio), ARCADIA (San Jose), NOBHILL TAVERN, SEABLUE and STRIPSTEAK (Las Vegas), SEABLUE (Atlantic City), MICHAEL MINA and CLOCK BAR (Westin St. Francis, San Francisco), STONEHILL TAVERN (Dana Point), NEMI (Mexico City),BOURBON STEAK (Scottsdale, Miami and Washington D.C.), SALTWATER and BOURBON STEAK (Detroit) and XIV (Los Angeles).   

Parr’s schedule is full but he does not rest on his laurels.  Parr has found the time to start his own label, Parr Selection, making its debut in 2007, as well as build and nurture significant relationships with choice California estates, allowing Parr the opportunity to pour selections exclusive to Mina Group restaurants from these preferred estates. 

Parr began his career as an apprentice to one of the industry’s most acclaimed master sommeliers, Larry Stone at Rubicon.  There, he worked closely with Stone to gain extensive knowledge of great wines from around the world, as well as an affection for wines of Burgundy.  In 1999, Parr brought his expertise to Fifth Floor in San Francisco, which quickly received rave reviews and the Grand Award from Wine Spectator after only 2 years of its opening.   

After earning a bachelors degree from the Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration, Parr entered the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, New York.  An externship at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore gave him the opportunity to work closely with such renowned guest chefs as Alain Ducasse and Jean-Louis Palladin.   

Born in Calcutta, Parr credits his uncle in London for first introducing him to great wines.  At 37 years old, Parr is an ardent wine educator who has been invited to host seminars as well as lead panel discussions at several of the country’s most prestigious food and wine gatherings.  He enjoys creating and hosting wine dinners that share his love of wine with others.

Cookbooks by Rajat Parr