Olivier Gasselin wins Imbibe’s £5,000 Sommelier Challenge
Imbibe Live hosted the annual Imbibe £5,000 Sommelier Challenge last month, crowning Olivier Gasselin from Hakkasan Restaurants as it’s worthy winner.
The prestigious on-trade competition featured an extremely high calibre of contestants from restaurants and bars around the world.
Gasselin comments: ‘I took part in the Imbibe £5,000 Sommelier Challenge to test myself after a few years spent in Middle-East, where I didn’t have many opportunities to be challenged. It was also a good opportunity to meet people from the trade, and compete against some of the best sommeliers in the UK.
‘I really wasn’t expecting to win so I was overwhelmed with such an unexpected success, given the quality of the competitors. The cash prize and the other generous gifts were the cherry on the cake for sure.
‘It was also an honour and a pleasure to be handed the prizes by legends such as Ronan Sayburn MS and Chris Losh. Some of my friends were cheering in the crowd, and this victory brought me a lot of respect within the Hakkasan group and among my peers in the trade. I couldn’t have wished for a better return to the UK!’
2016’s edition of Imbibe’s £5,000 Sommelier Challenge saw the highest number of entrants ever, of which 18 sommeliers made it through to the quarter final stage. Nine hopefuls then progressed to the semi-final with just three making it through to the final, which took place on the second day of Imbibe Live 2016.
Ronan Sayburn MS was the quizmaster for the competition which tests the deepest wine knowledge and palates. As well as the £5,000 cash prize, the winner received prizes from the Sommelier Wine Awards 2016 sponsor, Nude Glass, and Birchgrove’s latest Coravin Model Two Elite system.
Nude Glass Brand Director, Yair Haidu, presenting prizes to finalist, Stefan Neumann, head sommelier at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal.