Beer grabs gong for MidEast's top wine connoisseur
Okku Dubai sommelier receives Caterer's Sommelier of the Year accolade
Head sommelier at Okku Dubai, Garth Beer, has won the title of Sommelier of the Year, sponsored by MMI, at the Caterer Middle East Awards 2012.
Beer fought off competition from Kannapan Jayakumar, sommelier, Oeno Wine Bar, Westin Dubai, Eric Eybert, head sommelier, 55&5th The Grill, Abu Dhabi, and Subrata Majumder, sommelier Seafire, Atlantis the Palm Dubai.
Krste Georgiev, sommelier at Cavalli Club Restaurant and Lounge in Dubai was also int he shortlist, and was highly commended by judges.
“Our winner comes from an outlet that was once all about cocktail, but has now developed a sophisticated and successful wine offering thanks to this sommelier,” judges said.
“His re-engineering of the wine menu in accordance with the food menu, costs and consumer trends has boosted beverage sales. Over 70% of tables are today ordering wine with their food,” they added.
After receiving the award, Beer said: "It feel absolutely awesome to win. Its been an amazing year at Okku. I feel blessed to have had the freedom to develop the list and to take the restaurant to a new level as well."
He said he had seen the industry develop in leaps and bounds over the past five years.
"I think in five or 10 years time the sommelier in Dubai will be relegated to the sidelines because we are putting so much emphasis on training and making sure staff in our restaurants and hotels have that type of knowledge and putting as many of them onto the wine and spirits educational courses as we can.
"Its been a long journey for many sommeliers in Dubai but for those of us who have stuck through it, and have helped to develop it we have really seen the rewards."