The Academy of Food & Wine has announced the 15 national semi-finalists of the 2009 UK Sommelier of the Year competition.
Sponsored by Champagnes Piper-Heidsieck & Charles Heidsieck, the UK Sommelier of the Year competition recognises sommeliers' knowledge of wine, understanding of the restaurant business and ability to cope under pressure.
After a paper judging and five regional finals, which took place last month, 15 finalists have now been chosen to compete in the semi-finals, which will be held at London's Tate Modern gallery on 29 April.
During the semi-finals the sommeliers will complete a written questionnaire and wine tasting, as well as answer a marketing-based question in front of a panel of judges to demonstrate their business acumen and ability to work and think as part of a team.
The three top sommeliers will then compete against each other in the final on the same day.
The competition's panel of judges will be headed by the Academy's technical director Gerard Basset, proprietor of Hotel TerraVina in Hampshire, as well as master sommelier Matt Wilkin and food and drink writer Tom Parker- Bowles.
The 15 semi-finalists are:
- Joris Beijn, head sommelier, Andaz Hotel, London
- Ross Buchanan, head sommelier, Malmaison, Glasgow
- Alexandre Ceret, assistant head sommelier, Greenhouse Restaurant, London
- Garry Clark, sommelier, Chester Grosvenor Hotel, Chester
- Remi Cousin, assistant head sommelier, Fat Duck, Bray
- Christopher Delalonde, head sommelier, The Square, London
- Bavand Foroughi, sommelier, Lowry Hotel, Manchester
- Alvaro Marcos Garcia, head sommelier, Theo Randall Restaurant, InterContinental Park Lane, London
- Franck Gérôme, sommelier, Sharrow Bay, Penrith
- Yohann Jousselin, head sommelier, Hotel du Vin, Winchester
- Jan Konetzki, sommelier, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, London
- Thomas Lamude, sommelier, Milestone Hotel, London
- Laura Rhys, head sommelier, Hotel Terravina, Southampton
- Clement Robert, head sommelier, Hotel du Vin, Cambridge
- Gerhard Steyn, regional F&B manager, Malmaison, Cheltenham
By Kerstin Kühn
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