Leslie Affre was born and raised in the French Riviera, surrounded by the culinary influences of Provence, Piedmont, Liguria, and the Mediterranean Sea. Starting at the acclaimed Paul Auger Ecole Hoteliere et de Tourisme, her passion took her to restaurants and hotels along the Cote D’Azur—working in some of the finest Michelin star restaurants in the South of France.
She was part of the opening team of Sketch Restaurant in London, with prolific restauranteur Morad Mazouz, ran the floor of Pierre Gagnaire in Paris (helping to be awarded 2 Michelin Stars and 5 rosettes from the AA) and helped to pioneer Asian dining in Notting Hill with Will Ricker and E & O Restaurant.
Leslie, together with James Robson, opened Mews of Mayfair in London in 2006 before moving to New York City to join the AvroKO Hospitality Group, first at Michelin-starred PUBLIC in NoLiTa and then opening Double Crown on the Bowery as General Manager.
Together with Alexander LaPratt, Leslie opened Atrium DUMBO in the historic clocktower building in Brooklyn’s waterfront enclave of DUMBO. It’s new American, French-influenced cuisine received 5 consecutive Michelin recommendations from 2015–2019 before it temporarily closed during the COVID pandemic.
Brooklyn’s only Master Sommelier, Alexander was born and raised on a farm just outside of the Detroit where at 19 he began working alongside Master Sommelier Madeline Triffon at Morels in Bingham Farms, Michigan.
With added experience of having donned a chef’s jacket in a professional kitchen at Tribute (Michigan’s best restaurant at the time), Alexander brings unique kitchen experience to his role as Sommelier.
He has worked with world-renowned chefs that were dedicated to the quality of their restaurants’ wine cellar and service. Alexander was Chef Sommelier for Jean-Georges, overing seeing the wine programs at his 3-star Michelin flagship restaurant AND his 1-star Michelin bistro on Central Park South. Prior to joining Jean-Georges he was a sommelier for Eric Ripert at the 3-star Michelin Le Barnardin Restaurant as well as the head Sommelier at db Bistro Moderne.
Before coming to New York, he spent two years as the first ever Cellar Sommelier as Thomas Keller’s renowned 3-star Michelin restaurant, The French Laundry.
The first wine to leave a mark on Alexander’s palate was a Penfold’s Cabernet-Shiraz “Bin 389”. Not a legendary wine, he confesses, but an important one for him. Ever since he’s operated on the premise that it’s not always the most expensive or rare wine that creates the greatest experience.
He has received many accolades for his contribution to the gastronomic and hospitality industry such as being inducted into the L’Order des Coteaux de Champagne as well as receiving the Diplome d’honneur from the Acacdemie Culinaire de France. He is a founding board member for The Best Sommelier in the United States Organization.