Jan Konetzki, head sommelier at London's three-Michelin-starred Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, has been named the 2012 Moët UK Sommelier of the Year.
The prestigious competition, organised by the Academy of Food & Wine Service, was held yesterday (23 May) at the London International Wine Fair at London's ExCel.
German-born Konetzki beat a line-up of 12 other sommeliers to a place in the grand final alongside runners-up Laurent Richet of Restaurant Sat Bains in Nottingham and Clement Robert of Medlar Restaurant in London's Chelsea.
The three sommeliers each completed a restaurant role-play situation in which they were asked to recommend wines to match the customers' food choice, complete a blind tasting, correct mistakes on a wine list and execute the perfect Champagne pour in which a magnum of Moët & Chandon Rosé Champagne had to be poured equally into 16 flutes without returning to any of them.
Commenting on winning the prestigious title, Konetzki said: "It's very exciting - I'm delighted to have won. I really enjoyed the competition today, there was a real feeling of camaraderie among all the sommeliers. It was tough, but it was also fun."
Chairman of judges Gerard Basset OBE, MW, MS said: "It was a fantastic final between three really top-class sommeliers and the marks were very close. But Jan completed the tasks with true panache and demonstrated a real talent and considerable knowledge in all aspects of being a sommelier."
The Moët UK Sommelier of the Year competition seeks to find the best sommelier or wine waiter in the UK based on wine knowledge, customer service skills and tasting ability. The competition, now in its 33rd year has seen previous winners including Laura Rhys from Hotel TerraVina in Hampshire, Gearoid Devaney, then of Tom Aikens, London, and last year's winner, Yohann Jousselin of the Vineyard at Stockcross, Berkshire.
2012 finalists were:
Jan Konetzki, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, London (winner)
Laurent Richet, Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottingham (runner-up)
Clement Robert, Medlar Restaurant, London (runner-up)
Loic Avril, the Fat Duck, Bray
Arnaud Bardary, Maze Gordon Ramsay, London
Tobias Brauweiler, Ellenborough Park, Cheltenham
Remi Cousin, the Fat Duck, Bray
Sergio Dos Santos, Atlantic Hotel, Jersey
Bavand Foroughi, Savoy Grill, London
Lukasz Kolodziejczyk, the Fat Duck, Bray
Kathrine Larsen, Orrery, London
Stephen Raducki, Hotel du Vin, Winchester
By Kerstin Kühn
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