Please tell us some background about yourself. How did you first become interested in wine, and how did that interest evolve into a career?
History have always been my passion, when I arrived in London I discover that behind every single wine they were a story, why, how and how come.
What do you think makes a great sommelier?
A great sommelier is the one who can share his knowledge with anybody and be understood by everybody. But also to understand the entire process of food and wine pairing. At the end guests are going to restaurant to eat great food and have a great time.
Describe your typical day at work.
Checking the stock, the enomatic, the winelist, the sommelier station. Insure that the floor is ready for the service. Working on the list and new project. Checking the wine side of every single department. Little quiz of my staff just after the briefing.
How does pricing affect the wine advice you give diners?
The wine advice will always be there on any pricing. Few tips will always put you on the right direction. But I'll keep it for myself.
Have customers become more knowledgeable about wine?
Definitely, since I've started six years ago, we see more and more knowledgeable customers. And it's a great thing.
Who has been most influential in your career?
My ex Head Sommelier, Olivier Gasselin that I followed for 3 year, starting as his commis and ending up being his Assistant. Full of knowledge and good sense, He is now working in Dubai for Hakkasan.
Describe a good sommelier's introduction or presentation of their list at a table.
First able introducing yourself, and make sure that you are going to be their exclusive sommelier that night. To present the winelist with the cover and the sommelier selection. Finally explain them that if they are any questions to don't hesitate.
When pairing 'Chef's' dishes with wines, what defines the process for you?
First I read the breakdown of the dish to get an idea of the flavours included and pick out a few wines that I think will work also I tend to select a few which aren't such an obvious match. Next we taste the dishes with the wines to find out which flavours and textures work well together.
Please describe your process for sourcing new wines.
First it's going to be an interest in a region to expand on my list. Then there is a all work on searching. Or sometimes it's just a 'coup de coeur'.
Selling wines by the glass. Your thoughts please.
It became very important, my wines by the glass list almost double. Light lunches and general target to look for quality without the quantity.
What are you really thinking when a customer sends a perfectly good wine back?
My politic is, I'm not going to make one of my guest drink a wine if he's not going to fully enjoy it.
What trends have you noticed in the wine market recently?
The new style of winelist that we see everywhere at the moment, all very interesting with their own touch. In Skylon we redesigned the all Grill winelist which is going to come out soon.
You are on that deserted island. Which two varietals do you plant?
Whahh. Depending of the terroir over there...
What's the key to developing staff to become well-trained to sell and serve wine?
Games and Incentive both makes the learning easier.
Do you have a favourite food and wine pairing?
Champagne with Sorbet never disappoints.
And a most unusual food and wine pairing?
I did a trip to Sauterne. We tried oysters with chilli sauce to match the Sauterne.
How can customers get the best out of you? What should they be prepared to tell you and what questions should they ask?
It's easy. I arrived at the table knowing what they are having already. So - What would you recommend?.
Who is the one person you'd most like to share a bottle of wine with?
My close friend's, sommeliers.
How can budding wine enthusiasts practice their tasting skills at home? Any games, tricks, or tips?
Classic blind tasting with colleagues or friend are the best way.
What's the one thing you love most about your job?
The have the possibility to bring the curiosity to a guest table.
Where do you see your future career path?
I have few project at the moment, the main one is to create winelist for different restaurant of the company. I really like to continue in that path.