Alison Christ Writer TYL & Sommelier

Alison Christ, Writer & Resident Somm TYL

Alison Christ – Contributing Writer & Resident Sommelier -The Yum List

Alison Christ, contributing writer and resident sommelier at The Yum List, shares a little about her background, food and travel preferences and gives some insight into her role.

What’s your role at The Yum List?

Contributing writer and Yum List fan (and our resident somm).

When you’re not Yum Listing…

I’m running Cheong Somm wine bar or walking my dogs. 

Where did you grow up? What countries have you lived in? 

I grew up in NY, went to Hotel-Restaurant Management school in Rhode Island, and spent a long time as a Sommelier in the Washington DC area. I became a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers in 2008. I lived and worked in Barbaresco, Italy (my favourite wine-growing region). I’ve been an expatriate for 11 years now, living in Hong Kong, Cambodia, and Malaysia. 

What is your food and beverage preferences/ preferred style of dining? 

The more dining experience I have, the less I enjoy “foam and tweezer” fine dining. I love the classics like duck confit, Bolognaise, yakitori and Indian food. 

Go-to drink? 

Well, of course, wine, but I also love mezcal and rum. Mezcal Negroni is my go-to nightcap. 

What is comfort food for you? 

Cheese! Aged cheeses. Comte, Gouda, Manchego, and for my guilty pleasure Port Salud. 

What style of traveller are you? 

I’m spontaneous. My favourite quote is, “Let’s leave tonight.” Of course, this is pre-covid. When I travel, I want to eat and drink and walk. I love walking. I’m also a hedonist and love the sea, beaches, and piña coladas. 

What’s in your fridge? 

Wine, cheese, and dog food. 

What do you like to cook? 

Risotto, duck rillettes, roast chicken, whole fish, and I ferment my own hot sauce and kombucha. 

What do you look for in a menu? 

Dishes with five ingredients (not 15). Gluten-free, organic, good value. 

What do you do for fun? 

Drink Raventos sparkling wine in the pool, Monday BBQs at my condo, and dance to house music or disco. 

Something people might not know about you… 

I have a student helicopter pilot license (I haven’t flown in a long time, but it was a great part of my life). I’m also a street artist – don’t tell anyone. 

Favourite place to travel? 

Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, and Italy. 

Stand-out travel story…

Once in Koh Yao Noi, Thailand, while on a yoga retreat, I was stung by a stingray! I was alone, far from any humans, on a beautiful white sandy beach. It was my birthday. A river was running down from a hill into the sea and was churning up the sand. I walked out knee-deep into the water and thought; something’s not right. I turned around to go back to shore, and I stepped on a stingray which was getting some sun in shallow water. He stung me on my foot (thank god, not my chest, or I wouldn’t be here to tell you this story). I had no idea what had happened because I couldn’t see the stingray. I got out of the water, and my foot was bleeding and burning. Within seconds, the pain radiated all the way up my leg. I was on my back now in the sand with my foot over my head, pushing on the wound to stop the bleeding (what I was doing was pushing the stinger farther into my foot – but I didn’t know that). There were no humans around, so I started screaming, “Sawasdee kha, Sawasdee kha,” as my Thai is limited. After a while, two Thai guys came running out of the jungle with machetes (they were using them to clear a path, I suppose). One of the guys grabbed my foot and wiped the blood away with his bare hand and said, “Stingray, we take you hospital” I said, “No! It’s my birthday. I can’t go to a hospital” he said, “Must go or die”. So, I said, “Okay, let’s go.” He was about a foot shorter than me. He picked me up and carried me on his back for about a 1/2 kilometre until we reached the main road, where he put me in a cart attached to a motorbike that had chicken feathers stuck to it. He drove like a maniac while I held my foot and screamed in agony and went into shock, and began hyperventilating. I was thinking… am I going to lose my leg? I had no idea. Finally, we arrived at the hospital, and they gave me a big shot of painkillers in my backside. The Dr came and removed the stinger from my foot. The pain subsided, and I was sent back to my yoga retreat. After the shot in the ass wore off, the pain came back as if it had just happened (the poison stays with you for a while). Pain pills did little to help. Only time helped. I had to stay another week on the island to have the wound drained every day for seven days. Needless to say, I wasn’t able to do yoga for a while. It took several months to fully heal. I have a small scar there as a reminder. Later on, I got a tattoo on my arm that says “cidi” in Thai, which means good-hearted. As a tribute to the guys that saved me. 

Something readers might not know about The Yum List…

Monica, the editor-in-chief, is one of the most dedicated, hard-working, lovely, knowledgeable, fun, and beautiful humans to ever walk the earth. 

Something unexpected you discovered with The Yum List…

Sake snacks! Not for the light-hearted! These are little bites the chef throws in at Sushi Azabu during a tasting menu. They may consist of such things as sea cucumbers, fish intestines, or sperm and go well with sake. 

Most memorable Yum List experience…

The Sushi Azabu Chef Series Dinner at The Datai. Even with all the sake we consumed, it will be a dining experience I will never forget. See the article here.

A restaurant/bar worth mentioning… because…

Some shameless self-promotion here… Cheong Somm wine bar in REXKL. We support small family-owned wineries that have a positive impact on the environment. 

Pet food and beverage or travel peeves… 

This is going to sound totally snobby, but I hate long check-ins at hotels. We just flew or drove for hours and arrived at our destination, ready for our holiday or adventure to begin, they sit us down at a desk in a lobby with aircon cranking (I can see the ocean out the window calling my name), they don’t even bring us a glass of champagne while we are waiting. Where’s the champagne, guys? That’s all I’m asking for! 

What are you listening to/ reading/ watching at the moment? 

I love Tiny Desk from NPR. I listen to it all the time. It’s my go-to for finding new music. I always have a Murakami novel close by. He’s my absolute favourite author. I have two dogs, so I read a lot about dogs. The best dog book ever is ‘The Forever Dog’. How to promote longevity in man’s best friend, including healing through food. I learned how to make my own dog food, which is a Labour of Love. Also on my highly recommended list for dog owners is ‘How Stella Learned to Talk’ by Christina Hunger. It’s about teaching your dog to talk using these programmable buttons they can push with their paws. Right now, I’m trying to teach mine how to say food and walk. 

One of your fave books/ movies/ music of all time? 

My favourite movies are ‘I am Legend’ and ‘The Book of Eli.’ Oddly both are apocalyptic. Does that say something about me? Hmm… I wonder. 

Final words… 

It’s been an honour and a pleasure to work with The Yum List and to spend time with Monica. Truly a joy.

Read some of Alison Christ’s articles on The Yum List here, and stay up to date with the latest gourmet happenings around Malaysia here and here.

One Comment

  1. Gee! Your pool of writers sure is getting bigger and bigger! Gosh! That’s one horrible experience, the encounter with the stingray!

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