Pier-Alexis Souliere, most recently of Est. restaurant in Sydney, Australia, has won the 2014 Young Sommelier of the Year award.
Souliere (pictured), originally from Quebec but who represented Australia, beat off tough competition from 15 finalists to take this year’s award, said the prize sponsor, Chaine des Rotisseurs. The final was held in Copenhagen.
In second place representing the US was Jane Lopes, of New York’s Ristorante Morini, and in third place was Tanguy Martin, of Hotel TerraVina, representing the UK. Lopes was the first woman to win the national finals in the US earlier this year.
Sommeliers aged between 21 and 30 can enter the competition. The final comprised an hour-long written test on wine and production, a practical exhibition of service skills and finally a blind taste assessment of four wines.
The three top placed candidates then competed in a public run-off, which included decanting and serving Champagne, spotting faults on a wine list and answering questions on general wine knowledge.
As the winner, Souliere takes away €1,000, a Cordon Bleu wine scholarship, Laurent Perrier Champagne and a Champagne Sabre.
He is understood to have left Est. last month. His previous restaurants include Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in central London. Last year’s Young Sommelier winner was Loic Avril, of Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck.
Written by Chris Mercer