The Academy of Food & Wine (AFW) has announced the 15 semi-finalists of the 2010 Sommelier of the Year competition.
Now in its 30th year, the competition, which is sponsored by Champagnes Piper-Heidsieck, rewards sommeliers' knowledge of wine, understanding of the restaurant business and ability to cope under pressure.
The 15 top-placed regional finalists include representatives from restaurants from across the UK including Michelin-starred establishments such as Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, the Fat Duck, Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons and Texture.
They will compete in the semi-finals, which will take place at the Westbury Mayfair hotel in London on 28 April, with the three top sommeliers then competing 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.
The 15 semi-finalists are:
â- Remi Cousin, assistant head sommelier, The Fat Duck, Bray
â- Christopher Delalonde, sommelier, Sarment Wines, London
â- Sergio Dos Santos, head sommelier, Atlantic Hotel, Jersey
â- Bavand Foroughi, sommelier, Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's, London
â- Yohann Jousselin, head sommelier, Vineyard at Stockcross, Newbury
â- Jan Konetzki, assistant head sommelier, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, London
â- David Kubler, assistant sommelier, Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, Oxford
â- Erica Laler, sommelier, Texture, London
â- Phillippe Moranges, deputy head sommelier, Hakkasan, London
â- Mark Perlaki, head sommelier, Hotel du Vin et Bistro, Harrogate
â- Stephen Raducki, assistant sommelier, Le Pont de la Tour, London
â- Laurent Richet, sommelier, Hotel TerraVina, Southampton
â- Clement Robert, head sommelier, Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, Evershot
â- Magda Saleh, assistant sommelier, La Trompette, London
Each finalist will complete a timed blind tasting, correct a series of mistakes on a wine list and participate in a pressurised restaurant role-playing scenario, and evenly pour a magnum bottle of Champagne into 16 flutes without returning to any of the glasses.
The winner of the UK Sommelier of the Year 2010 will receive a trip to the House of Champagne Piper-Heidsieck in the Champagne region in France including a personal tasting with Chef de Caves Régis Camus.
By Kerstin KÁ¼hn
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