Hotel du Vin co-founder and Terra Vina owner Gerard Basset (MW, MS) will represent the UK in the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (ASI) World’s Best Sommelier Competition.
The contest, which is being held on 10-16 April 2010 in Chile, will be the sixth Basset has entered, having come second on two occasions.
“I wouldn’t go through the trauma of competing if I didn’t want to do well,” Basset said. “It’s now all about my preparation. It’s a big commitment – I will put in about 20 hours a week from now until next April – but it’s a huge title to win.”
Basset, who recently revealed his top tips for becoming a sommelier to Caterer, competed for his UK position against Matthieu Longuere, head sommelier at London’s La Trompette, and Nicolas Clerc of Pont de la Tour.
All three satisfied the entry criteria which demands that entrants have previously won a national competition, have worked in the UK for over three years and are able to complete the competition in a second language (Basset has dual British and French citizenship).
The qualifying competition, organised by the Academy of Food & Wine, was judged at London’s Royal Garden Hotel yesterday, with the three candidates having to complete a tough questionnaire, a blind tasting, match two white wines with sushi, decant and serve a bottle of red wine and clear away in just eight minutes as well as an interview.
The World’s best Sommelier competition includes entrants from the ASI’s 41 member countries and will consist of two days of written and practical exams, blind tastings and service role plays to test the candidates’ knowledge of wine, spirits, and other beverages, cigars, and food and wine pairing, as well as their service skills to determine the top three candidates for the final competition.
The three finalists will compete in a public final round and the winner announced at a gala dinner the same evening.
French-born Basset is the only person in the world who is a Master of Wine, Master Sommelier and who has the Wine MBA.