Manage episode 305403598 series 2905529
Inez recently released her memoir, Life After Windows, for the 20th anniversary of September 11th. Inez had her dream job working in the North Tower, until one day it was gone. She has gone through many ups and downs recovering from this dreadful day but her greatest joy in life has been becoming a mother. Inez is also one of the few people in the world to pass the level 3 Court of Master Sommeliers Advanced exam. She will discuss her journey through life post-9/11, and how she has continued to grow into an inspiring woman.
Inez Ribustello Bio:
Inez Ribustello grew up in the small town of Tarboro, and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1998 with a degree in journalism and mass communications, but her dream was to pursue a career in the culinary arts. She moved to New York City to attend ICE. After her externship she began a job at Best Cellars wine store. She went on to become an Assistant Cellar Master at the renowned World Trade Center restaurant Windows on the World. She was promoted to Beverage Director, making her the wine buyer for the largest grossing restaurant in North America. For two years, Ribustello worked in Atlantic City and was in charge of wine selection, service, and education for the Borgata’s 11 restaurants. In 2002, she and her husband opened On the Square, a combination restaurant, wine bar, and wine store. In addition to running On The Square, she is an Adjunct Professor at East Carolina University in Hospitality Leadership, Wine & Beverage Management.
That sheer coincidence, the randomness of her, and her now-husband Stephen Ribustello, both being off work that day, and her being home in North Carolina, is the backbone that holds together the two seasons of her life, as told in her new memoir Life After Windows. In it, Ribustello traces her journey from naive, privileged Southern belle to becoming one of the most powerful people in the New York wine scene during the dot com bubble. When the September 11 terror attacks destroyed her world, in both a literal and spiritual sense, she found herself back in the very town she vowed to never return to, opened On the Square, one of North Carolina’s most heralded restaurants, and, eventually Tarboro Brewing Company.
Ribustello’s memoir is a microcosm of her personality — fast-paced, bubbly, with the occasional epithet tossed in to remind you that she’s not the proper Southern girl she once was. But it’s also raw and honest and at times gut-wrenchingly sad. For someone who lives and raises her family in the same small town where she grew up, that kind of brutal honesty, about her struggles to return to her Christian faith after 9/11, about how the restaurant industry both brought her some of her greatest joys and lowest lows, about any myriad of issues that “we just don’t talk about in public,” can be terrifying. Ribustello seems to approach the act of revealing her entire life to the world with the same pragmatic optimism she has leaned on to get her through the past 20 years. The book is woven through with opportunities to take a break from the dark stuff and laugh, and one would imagine that’s exactly how Ribustello lives her life. When things get hard, when the world gets dark, there is always family, friends, work, and of course, laughter.
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