How long have you been at the restaurant?
I joined the restaurant in August 2019 and I am really excited to be part of the team.
What attracted you to become a sommelier?
When I was younger, I was very impressed by the poise and knowledge of the sommeliers I met, and I saw how guests would look at them when they were taking care of their table. I also love the idea to make the wine alive for a guest, to share with them how we would see their choice of « flacon » to be enjoyed and create an experience.
Where did you do your training?
I went to hospitality school Degree in France La Rochelle where I specialised in sommellerie. Following this, I went on to work for Michelin-starred restaurants in France and Ireland, starting in 2010 as assistant Head Sommelier at Pavillon Ledoyen in Paris for two years, before relocating to Ireland to head up the wines at Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud in Dublin, where I stayed for 4 years before moving to London to join five-star hotel The Lanesborough in 2016 as Head of Wines.
What would you say were the essential skills required to be a sommelier?
More than the skills, being a sommelier is about the mindset and the knowledge. Being open-minded and curious is also key. And finally, humility is important as a sommelier needs to always question themselves.
What wines complement your personal favourite three course meal and why?
I like bright, vibrant and light wines focusing on terroir more than techniques. My personal favourites are Pinot Noir and Riesling, which I like for their versatility and adaptability to food.
What are your thoughts on the “Red wine with red meat, white wine with white meat and fish” age-old debate?
My idea is that it really depends on personal taste and on what our guests like. I am here to please them and I stay open minded to pairings.
How does the choice of the right wines complement the different food courses served?
A recent Master of Wine had some hard words about wine paring, and I don’t think he was completely wrong. It is interesting to wonder how many times a sommelier tastes a dish with the chef and bring wines to see if they pair well? A pairing on paper and in reality, are completely different. A wine can seem to be a good idea in theory yet completely unsettle the balance of a dish in reality. We are lucky enough to taste the dishes with Jean-Philippe and Enrico here at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, and since 3 heads are better than one, we get the most out of it with our own backgrounds and sensibility.
What’s the best part of your job?
I have never seen it as a job, more like a hobby or a passion. I am thrilled to do what I do every day, and the best part is to be able to work in an amazing operation such as Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, with fantastic guests and being surrounded by colleagues who strive for excellence, no matter what.
And the worst?
It would be difficult for me to answer this question as I love my role so much in every aspect!
What is the unusual wine that you have ever tasted and why?
It might be an unfiltered orange wine from Italy. Don’t get me wrong I love Italian wines.
What is the most money that you’ve ever seen spent on a single bottle?
As the saying goes, “when you love, you don’t count the cost…”.
How many wines do you have?
The wine list at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester currently holds over 1,000 references. It reflects the excellence of French vineyards with 80% of the list originating from France, and the remainder of 10% from the rest of Europe and 4% from the New World.
How often do you find that customers complain about wine being corked and – in your opinion – how often do you think that they are right?
I think the cork industry managed to turn things around after the period of trouble they had between about 1996 and 2004. The quality and treatment of cork are definitely better. And as a result, the percentage of corked wine is now lower, which is a good news for consumers.