Australia scoops young sommelier prize

A contestant from Australia has won the 2014 Chaîne des Rôtisseurs International Young Sommelier of the Year award.

Pier-Alexis SoulierePier Alexis Souliere of Est Restaurant in Sydney triumphed in the competition, now in its ninth year, which took place in Copenhagen. Second place went to Jane Lopes of the US, while Tanguy Martin of Hotel Terravina in the UK came third.

Broken down into three parts, the competition tested candidates’ theory, service and blind tasting skills. The top three finalists then went head to head in front of an audience for a decanting challenge, Champagne pour, wine list correction and knowledge test.

Judges praised Souliere for his “levels of passion and artistry”, accompanied by “practically flawless” service skills, which won him the €1,000 prize, a Cordon Bleu wine scholarship, bottle of Laurent Perrier Champagne and a Champagne sabre.

Commenting on this year’s competition, Philip Evins, “bailli délégué” – or chief representative – of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs UK, said: “The outstanding calibre of our young sommeliers continues to leave us utterly inspired.”

Outlining the aim of this initiative, he remarked: “Competitions such as these not only serve to improve understanding and appreciation of the dedication it requires to excel at this level, but also to remind us that such prowess can come to us at an incredibly young age. Talent like this should be nurtured appropriately – developing it is crucial to our industry.

As a result, concluded Evins, “It is our hope that Chaîne des Rôtisseurs can continue to help inspire and produce outstanding sommeliers who add so much to the front of house service in our finer restaurants.”

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