While few would doubt that Joakim Hansi Blackaddder (below, middle) is
a) the sexiest
b) has the coolest name
e) best sommelier in the country
was the judging panel of the Eat Out Awards really qualified to dish out a Wine Service Award and claim it “acknowledges the top sommelier in the country?” Are any of the judges sommeliers? Were all SA sommeliers given a chance to compete? Does it matter?
It’s all a bit like the Wine Lizard dishing out certificates of tasting competency at his pompous Wine Tasting Academy “in conjunction with UCT” when the man himself is unqualified, in the formal sense at least, and a very ordinary taster according to those who have seen him in action.
Bollinger must be boiling for less than a fortnight ago they awarded an Exceptional Wine Service Award to Kayetan Meissner from The Grande Roche and hailed him as the best somm in SA, if not in PR release, then certainly by implication. Doesn’t this cause confusion in the mind of the consumer?
Eat Out has clearly hijacked the Bollinger competition. The Bolly was judged by three somms and contestants spent “a testing morning of written exams and a blind tasting at the Finals on 9th October at Ellerman House in Bantry Bay, the three finalists: Kayetan Meissner, Barry Scholfield, Assistant Sommelier at Rust en Vrede Restaurant in Stellenbosch, and Xolani Mancotywa, previously Sommelier at the Saxon Boutique Hotel in Johannesburg and now Sommelier at Captial [sic] Club Dubai, were faced with a rigorous practical assessment. This year’s task was to pour a magnum of bubbly evenly into 16 glasses and serve these to a table of diners and their guests. Whilst performing this challenging exercise, the candidate had to answer a number of questions from the judges as well as respond appropriately in a few tricky moments.” What were the Eat Out criteria?
Still there is unlikely to be any objection form the SA Somms Association as it’s past chairman won an Eat Out gong for Best Italian Restaurant in Cape Town/SA last night. Admittedly his pizzas are kif, but how unfair to be unwittingly placed in a conflict of interest by Eat Out. As a disgustingly fawning blog account of a cottaging whale (above) on last night’s Eat Out Awards demonstrates, critical commentary is too cheaply bought in SA food and wine.