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Laurent Richet - sommelier and head barman/cocktail specialist - Hotel TerraVina

Published:  02 August, 2010

Laurent Richet - sommelier and head barman/cocktail specialist - Hotel TerraVina

Things are business as usual after myself and chef de partie Neil Cooperwon Gastronomy Team of the Year 2010.

It wasn't really a stressful day for us, we were of the philosophy that as it was our first time entering the competition, we had nothing to lose, therefore we were quite confident and relaxed. Much of the run up to the event was working on and trying to perfect our dishes and choice of wine.

Dishes had to include Discover the Origin PDO ingredients Parma ham and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and be accompanied by a Burgundy, port or wine from the Douro Valley. Our starter consisted of hand-dived scallops with battered cauliflower, quails eggs, Parmesan foam, Parma ham and white chocolate sauce paired with a Niepoort Redoma Branco from Douro, 2007, Portugal. The main course was pig trotter spring roll, confit belly and poached loin of pork, smoked potato, Parmesan, Parma ham and chorizo foam, and celeriac fondant, paired with Nuits Saint-Georges Michel Gros 2004, Burgundy. Back at Hotel TerraVina it is as busy as usual especially as Gerard Basset also won the World's Best Sommelier competition. We are very lucky at winning awards here, for some reason they all seems to stay within this hotel. The guests are very happy about that, they see visiting here as a bit of a treat.

Sauvignon Blanc, is as always selling well. Pinot Noir is going well as a summer red, as it's less heavy. Customers don't seem to be craving rosé this year as much as last and we extended the range too. But we are seeing a trend towards customers spending more as our prices here are a little less than they imagine with most of the win list is pitched between £25-35. But because they're getting good value for money they tend to increase their spend and are opting more towards £45.

I'm now working towards UK Sommelier of the Year and the Master Sommelier competition in November, plus I'm also entering a bar competition. You've got to keep busy.