Lining in formation like a platoon of trained soldiers, the finalist stood together for a final group photo before the competition began.
Soon… the time was up, it was the moment of truth. Three stations made up of panels from the food and beverage industry, the top 3 finalist were put into a series of test hosted individually by a whole panel of judges who presented the questions to them from their table.
Table 1: Hosted by Mr. Yohann Jousselin, M.S. – Master Sommelier
Table 2: Hosted by Mr. Abdul Hafid, Director of F&B, Traders Hotel
Table 3: Hosted by Mr. Frank Kammer, M.S. – Master Sommelier
The finalist were put to a series of test of which Table 1 focused on asking questions about Aperitif and Sparkling wines. Table 2, hosted by Mr. Hafid was focusing more on Food and Wine Pairing and Wine List correction. The participants basically had to look through a wine list with errors and figure it out before telling the panel their answers. Apart from that, they were given a set of menu to pair two wines of which one had to be a New World Wine and the other, a Old World.
On the third table which was hosted by M.S. Frank, the finalist had to do a series of table service such as; opening a bottle of “89′ Mouton Rothschild” – obviously it is not! and doing a series of blind tasting. Tricks and situations such as shaking the “89′ Mouton” which was said to have been standing in the cellar for a night makes it tougher for the participants to apprehend the situation recovery on the spot.
Definitely not an easy competition to stand out from, especially when you are in a “hall of anxious eyes” looking at you perform your thing on the stage. If you can’t pass your personal round of stage fright, you probably would have lost the first half of the game.
All in all, what M.S. Frank said was really true and i second that. “whoever is here today, standing on the stage is already a winner”.
After a whole series of test which started as early as 8am in the morning, the winner was announced!
Mr. Han Yew Kong (Malaysia), a current Sommelier at the Osteria Mozza by Mario Batali in Marina Bay Sand won the title of the 4th South East Asia Best Sommelier Competition 2013.
On behalf of TDM and the trade, we wish him all the best and to the rest of the participants, because you took a step to realize your dream, you too are winners in our field of wine people! Your professionalism, enthusiasm and strive for success is clearly visible in all of our eyes! Cheers to that and All the best to all of you!!