A young team from Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck restaurant has dominated this year's Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Young Sommelier of the Year competition placing first, second and third in the annual event.
Remi Cousin, assistant head sommelier at the three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Bray, Berkshire, won the competition, with his colleagues Jan Lukasz and Loic Avril placing second and third respectively.
Now in its fourth year, the competition, which is sponsored by Pernod Ricard and Gaggenau, is open to contestants aged between 21 and 35 and aims to recognise and promote young talent within the industry.
As the winner, Cousin receives prizes including an all-expenses-paid trip to Australia to visit Pernod Ricard. He will go on to represent the UK at the Young Sommelier international finals in Athens in September. He follows in the steps of last year's Young Sommelier of the Year, Clement Robert of Summer Lodge in Evershot, Dorset, who went on to win the international title.
Chair of the judges, Gerard Basset, owner of Hotel Terra Vina in the New Forest, commented: "Becoming an accomplished sommelier is challenging - it takes time, commitment, continual learning and most of all, an enthusiasm for the role. It's a vocation which I relish, and therefore it was exciting to witness the outstanding talent and professionalism of our finalists and in particular, that displayed by Remi."
By Kerstin Kühn
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