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School's out for sake?

Published:  27 September, 2019

On-trade luminary Christine Parkinson is “seriously considering” opening London's first sake school following her surprise departure from Hakkasan

Speaking to Harpers, Parkinson said that it was a longstanding ambition of hers to run a sake school in London, although no plans were finalised at this stage.

“I started learning about sake around a year before the opening of Sake No Hana, in preparation for creating the sake list. It was a fantastic experience,” said Parkinson.

“Ever since then I have loved sharing my sake knowledge, and I've often been asked to run more courses and tastings. It has been in the back of my mind for a long time.” Parkinson is also a WSET Certified Educator, and has run wine and sake courses for Hakkasan staff across three continents.

However, she left the Hakkasan Group in September after more than 18 years, in a move that shocked the industry. When questioned about her next move, Parkinson said that she might return to buying, although the sake school was her preferred option.

“I'm afraid the concept is staying under wraps at the moment - I can't divulge a trade secret,” said Parkinson.

“The obstacle is that I don't have experience of raising capital, so I would probably need someone on board who does. I think the potential is huge, though - and not just formal courses, “ she added.

Nevertheless, Parkinson admitted that she would have to undertake extensive market research, before investing capital in the project.

“The interest is definitely there, but of course I will back this up with proper market research before making the decision to go ahead. In the end, however exciting the idea, it will have to work as a business for the long term.”

Sake has become increasingly popular in London of late – wine writer Anthony Rose launched a book about Japan's signature alcoholic beverage in 2018.