First UK sake sommelier exams set for London


Sake sommeliers are now here. You can become certified in beer, and sake now. Wine has been around and cheese experts are sometimes called sommeliers. I read an article in a trade newsletter once about a restaurant in Florida that has a water sommelier. The article said more than a 100 different mineral waters which can be ordered. I guess sommelier means expert in contemporary vernacular and not limited to wine. Tea sommelier?
August 6, 2009
Richard Woodard

The first professional sake sommelier qualifications in the UK will start this autumn in London.

Premium sake company Isake has joined forces with the Sake Sommelier Association to offer two courses: the one-day Sake Navigator Course and the two-day Certified Sake Sommelier Course.

Isake co-founder Xavier Chapelou, who also works as a sake sommelier at China Tang restaurant in The Dorchester Hotel, said the new courses reflected the growing interest in sake outside Japan.

‘But people are still a bit shy about sake,’ he told ‘They don’t understand it and really need more knowledge about it. We want to try to make sake more approachable – we want to make people passionate about it.’

The Sake Navigator Course offers a basic grounding in sake production, styles, labels, serving and storage, plus sake’s place in Japanese history and culture.

Meanwhile, the Certified Sake Sommelier Course also explores all major rice varieties, regions and food matching, accompanied by two tastings.

Students who pass the exam will become Certified Sake Sommeliers.

Chapelou said interest in the two-day course was strong, with responses from as far away as Sweden.

‘People in restaurants are now asking for Japanese sake – they want to drink it,’ he said. Early interest was sparked by Japanese restaurants like Zuma and Sumosan, but high-profile venues like The Fat Duck and Club Gascon were now serving sake too, Chapelou added.

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