Mackenzie worked in one of the country’s soulful and distinct culinary capitals of the United States: New Orleans, but still, her familiar haven of the North Shore beckoned her home. NOLA’s loss is Caswell Restaurant Group’s gain. Through work in gourmet and fine dining establishments, the Tulane University grad and frequent diner concluded that wine brings the entire dining experience full-circle and enriches the event. As Wine Director of Caswell Restaurant Group, she applies this ethos daily, relishing in the genial community tempo of regulars who enjoy the ‘bright, fun, and artful’ entrées as she suggests wine pairings that are representative of each restaurant’s unique philosophies.
Growing up in a family that prioritized gathering for food and drinks daily, Mackenzie joined the team as many of the Caswell Restaurant Group team has: a first-time guest, soon a regular diner, and now part of the family. It’s routine for people who knew her from Marblehead’s 5 Corners Kitchen to visit her in Newburyport. Foodies well beyond there may recognize her byline; Mackenzie is a recipe tester and contributing writer for the James Beard Award-winning website LeitesCulinaria.com (pr. ‘Leets’), an established recipe portal with over 120,000 subscribers. Ask her about food or drink, and she confesses that she will ‘talk your ear off’ about either, because she’s passionate about cooking, wine pairings, and liquors.
Anyone who is looking for a meticulously curated wine list is in expert care with Mackenzie, who spent time abroad in Bordeaux, sampling varietals from 4-5 vineyards a day to broaden her palate. She finds it most rewarding to be able to share her knowledge and unique perspective on wines with restaurant guests, especially when given the opportunity to introduce them to a varietal, region, or style they’ve never experienced before. When not tasting new wines, she enjoys gardening, pottery, and preparing and hosting elaborate multi-course dinners with friends and family, down to her craft cocktails with home-fermented ingredients. Happily for all, Mackenzie’s warm amiability, a Big Easy carryover, and her command of the wine landscape, both found their home within Caswell Restaurant Group.