Clement Robert of London's Medlar Restaurant has won the 2013 Moet UK Sommelier of the Year competition.
Robert beat Tobias Brauweiler of The Ritz, London who came in second place with Kathrine Larson of Zuma, London finishing in third, at the final of the competition held last night at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Knightsbridge
Robert who has entered for the past five years, and finished runner-up last year to Jan Konetzki of Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, said he was ‘ready to win this year’.
‘I’ve been entering this competition for the past five years, since the age of 22, and I’ve been preparing for this day for the past five months. I really wanted to eventually win it so I prepared extremely hard.
‘With a huge sense of pride obviously I will try to honour my new title that I’ve got on the top of my head, I hope it’s not too heavy for me, but I will definitely do my best’.
Chief judge Gerard Basset MS MW praised all three finalists but said the result in the end was ‘good and fair’.
‘Clement was brilliant all day, from early in the morning he was very good and on stage he did a great performance. He was very consistent and absolutely perfect. A worthy winner.’
Basset said Brauweiler ‘very good’ but ‘didn’t quite have the same control of the stage’ and Larson was ‘charming’ but was ‘less consistent’.
Larson did however win this year’s Young Sommelier of the Year, which is awarded to the youngest sommelier who reaches the furthest in the competition.
Speaking to Decanter.com she said: ‘It was a really good day, there was strong competition in both Clement and Tobias but it was amazing. I will definitely be back next year and be much stronger’.
Looking ahead to next year Basset is positive about the future talent of sommelier: ‘We have some young people who are coming up which I think will make a very interesting competition next year. It looks very promising for the young talent’.
The competition saw 15 competitiors go through a series of tasks including a theory paper, knowledge questionnaire, a series of quick-fire questions and a service skills tast.
The three finalsits then had to identify and correct errors on a wine list, blind-taste a number of wines and spirits and, in a restaurant scenario, demonstrate their serving skills and food- and wine-matching abilities – all in front of an audience of their peers and previous winners of the competition.
The final task involved pouring a magnum of Champagne equally into 16 glasses, without returning to top up any of them.
On winning, Robert received a Riedel Tyrol Decanter, a collection of Riedel Vinum glasses, a Magnum of 2009 Domaine Boutinot ‘la Cote Sauvage’ Cairanne and a Jeroboam of Moet and Chandon NV.
UK Sommelier of the Year Past Winners:
2012: Jan Konetzki
2011: Yohann Josselin
2010: Christopher Delalonde
2009: Laura Rhys
2008: Gearoid Devaney
2007: Nicolas Clerc
2006: Claire Thevenot
2005: Matthew Wilkin
2004: Eric Zweibel
2003: Loic Maillet
2002: Xavier Rousset
2001: James Payne
2000: Matthieu Longuere
1999: Alan Holmes
1998: Ronan Sayburn
1997: Vincent Gasnier
1996: Franck Massard
1995: Henri Chapon
1994: Mark Walter
1993: Nicholas Mobbs
1992: Gerard Basset
1991: Michael Simms
1990: John Walker
1989: Gerard Basset
1988: Stephen Wilcock
1987: Simon Hopkinson
1986: Michael Varney (deceased)
1985: David Hair
1984: Michael Simms
1983: Bryan Dawes
1982: Charles Piggin
1981: Claudia Harris
1980: June Schmidt-Lowe
Written by Georgina Hindle