Kathrine Larsen MS has been crowned the best sommelier in the UK at the fourth time of asking following a closely fought final at London's Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
Danish-born Larsen (pictured), the former head sommelier at London restaurant Zuma, won best young sommelier in the same competition last year. She finished third in the senior competition in 2013.
The 32-year-old described winning the senior competition in 2014 as a fantastic achievement. ‘It feels like all the hard work has paid off and that’s an amazing feeling. I have been studying wine for 10 years, and preparing for this competition has been very intense.’
Fat Duck sommelier Loic Avril was runner-up, although he did claim the best young sommelier prize. Tanguy Martin, of Hotel TerraVina in Hampshire, came third. There were just a few marks between the finalists, according to organiser Academy of Food & Wine Service.
During the competition, contestants must complete several tasks, including spotting mistakes in the fine detail of a wine list, taking part in a role-play of a restaurant situation and tasting wines blind.
As part of her prize, Larsen will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Maison Moet & Chandon to taste the Grand Vintage collections with chef de cave Benoît Gouez. Moet & Chandon sponsors the competition, which is now in its 36th year.
Written by Chris Mercer