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Terry Kandylis named Moët UK Somm of 2016

Terry Kandylis, head sommelier at London’s 67 Pall Mall, has been awarded the title of 2016 Moët UK Sommelier of the Year.

Terry Kandylis is presented with his winner’s certificate and gold-plated jeroboam Moët & Chandon Impérial by Gerard Basset OBE, MW, MS

Greece-born Kandylis emerged victorious from the Grand Final, which took place on Monday 16 May at London’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Jess Kildetoft of London’s MASH restaurant came in second place, with the Coq d’Argent’s Olivier Marie coming third.

Twelve hopefuls from businesses across the UK competed in a range of tests designed to challenge their skills, palate and ability to work under pressure – from blind tastings of both wines and spirits to spotting errors on a wine list, as well as the traditional pouring from a magnum of Moët & Chandon Impérial NV.

Gerard Basset OBE, MW, MS once again hosted the event and chaired the panel of judges, which also comprised previous winners including Xavier Rousset MS, Nicolas Clerc, Eric Zwiebel and 2015 champion Tanguy Martin.

“It has been an amazing journey. I wouldn’t have imagined something like this when I came to the UK six years ago,” Kandylis said after the announcement of his win.  

“I would like to thank my friends and team because without them I wouldn’t be here. It has been a great learning process.”

This is the fifth year that the competition has partnered with Champagne Moët & Chandon. In addition to being presented with an engraved, gold-plated jeroboam of Moët & Chandon Impérial, Kandylis was awarded a ‘money can’t buy’ mentoring programme organised by Moët & Chandon, the AFWS and The Caterer magazine. 

In April, Kandylis and his fellow finalists also visited the Moët & Chandon House and vineyards in order to learn more about the Champagne region and Moët & Chandon wines.

“Over the five years that we have worked with the AFWS for this competition, our mission has been to enhance the learnings and experience that every entrant, no matter which stage of the competition they reach, takes with them,” said Julie Nollet, marketing and communication director for Moët Hennessy UK. 

“It is very clear that the UK has some of the highest standards of sommellerie of anywhere in the world, and we are very proud to be have been able to help this happen.”

The Moët UK Sommelier of the Year competition has been organised by the Academy of Food & Wine Service since 1980 and is internationally recognised by the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (ASI).

The 2016 competition finalists were:

Ladislav Basta, head sommelier, The Kitchin

Tamas Czinki, head sommelier, Northcote Restaurant

Christopher Parker, assistant head sommelier, Lime Wood

Serdar Balkaya, head sommelier, Royal Automobile Club

Mathias Camilleri, head sommelier, The Five Fields Restaurant

Terry Kandylis, head sommelier, 67 Pall Mall

Jess Kildetoft, head sommelier, Mash London

Olivier Marie, head sommelier, Coq d’Argent

Remi Fischer, head sommelier, Old Course Hotel

Petri Pentikainen, sommelier and assistant restaurant manager, The Three Chimneys Restaurant

Neils Suliman, assistant chef sommelier, Restaurant Sat Bains

Romain Bourger, head sommelier, The Vineyard, Stockcross

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