Jeunes Sommeliers Competition - Competitors

International Final - Ljubljana (Slovenia), September 15-16, 2023

Profiles of the fourteen who participated
" The highest number taking part since 2017 "

Here are the profiles of the fourteen young people who participated in this year’s competition. The highest number taking part since 2017. They are shown in the order Winner, Runner-up, Third Place (for which we had a tie this year) followed by the other talented competitors.

Marie Jones
International Vice-President
Competition Committee Chair

Poland - Łukasz Górski WINNER
A member of the Polish Sommeliers Association since 2019, for almost two years now, Łukasz has been Sommelier at “Butchery and Wine” in Warsaw where food is a passion. Under Łukasz’s guidance the restaurant’s wine list has won recognition from the Michelin Guide and the wine trade press. A credit to the Sommelier!

Germany - Tobias Toff RUNNER-UP
An Austrian national, Tobias has been Sommelier at Hotel Kronenschlösschen at Eltville since October 2022. He is also studying for a degree in International Wine Business at the Hochschule Geisenheim University. Germany's “best wine lists” organised by Star Wine Lists saw Tobias’ establishment jointly win the Best California Wine List.

Australia - Gianmattia Giordano THIRD PLACE =
Italian-born Gianmattia is Assistant Head Sommelier at Rockpool Bar and Grill Sydney where he has been since April 2021. Rockpool has one of the country’s finest wine vaults. Working at the esteemed Sydney steakhouse is the “Holy Grail” for many Sommeliers. To be promoted within its Sommelier ranks is a wine-lover’s dream.

USA - Eric Palmer THIRD PLACE =
Eric worked a variety of jobs, but after “falling in love with wine” he decided to take the Court of Master Sommeliers Introductory Course followed by studying Beverage Management at The University of Massachusetts. During an internship he realized the possibility of wine as a career and the rest as they say is history.

Belgium - Jeno Del Turco
Since June 2022 Jeno has been Head Sommelier of Restaurant Ukkel at the Michelin 2-star Le Chalet de la Fôret at Heden. He commented, “As a Sommelier, I love new challenges where I can learn.” Jeno’s latest accolade: he was elected as 2023 Sommelier of the Year for Brussels.

Finland - Huy Tran
Shift Manager Huy deputises for the Head Sommelier at the Lucy in the Sky Restaurant in Espoo. He said he was participating in the competition because it was not only an opportunity to connect with like-minded professionals in the industry but also to receive feedback from experienced judges which will undoubtedly help him to enhance his skills.

Great Britain - Mélina Soulavie
Following a degree in Culinary Art from the University of' Angers, Mélina trained as a Sommelier at the University Wine School in Tain l’Hermitage. She is now Sommelier at the Michelin 3-star restaurant “Hélène Darroze at The Connaught” in London. Before moving to work in the UK in July 2019, she was on an internship in Hong Kong.

Korea - Lee Jung-in “James”
Sommelier at KORII Restaurant from March this year, Jung-in was previously at the Michelin 2-star Restaurant Joo Ok. At KORII Korean innovative cuisine is intuitively expressed and philosophically solved. Jung-in enjoys the challenge of matching wines in a similarly innovative way.

Malaysia - Chin Voon Ping
Having first gained a Diploma in Culinary Arts Voon followed this with a Bachelor of Science (with Honours) in Culinary Management - both from Malaysia’s Sunway University. Voon is passionate about the food and beverage industry in which he acts as an independent wine consultant for establishments wishing to improve their wine lists.

Mexico - Rogerio Montesinos Martinez
Sommelier at Nobu Hotel Los Cabos in Cabo San Lucas since December 2022, Rogerio oversees the wine and sake fine dining service in the four restaurants in the hotel. He tutors private wine and sake tastings for guests and is responsible for staff training. Among his academic achievements are a Masters Degree in Hotel Management, a Culinary Degree and a Sommelier Degree.

Netherlands - Lars Kleverlaan
Holding a degree in Hospitality Management, Lars has been Assistant Sommelier at the Michelin 2-star Restaurant Flore in Amsterdam since December 2022. Lars enthused, “I’m incredibly proud of the team and especially looking forward to contributing to improving our level instead of only showing it off.”

Norway - Magne Gaut
Along Trondheim’s only avenue you will find Le Bistro - a small piece of France in the middle of the city. Customers come to enjoy food and drink inspired both by local ingredients and by French cuisine. Since July 2021 Magne is the bistro’s Sommelier. An avid reader of books on food and wine, for fun when he has the time he plays the viola and piano.

Taiwan - Su Fang-Wei
Assistant Sommelier at the Michelin-starred Bistro Le Jardin from July 2022 to the present day. 2023 has been a successful year for Fang-Wei given his First Place “Rookie of the Year” in Taiwan’s blind tasting competition and of course being the Winner in the Bailliage of Taiwan’s National Final of the Jeunes Sommeliers Competition.

Türkiye - Kaya Sert
After university Kaya worked as a Real Estate Consultant for two years before joining the Marriott International Şişli as a Bartender. Since then, he completed a Culinary Arts Academy Professional Bartending and Mixology and currently (since July 2022) he is Senior Sommelier at ROKA, Istanbul’s well-known Japanese restaurant overlooking the Bosphorus.

Lisbon, October 16-20, 2024

International Final 2024

International Final - Ljubljana (Slovenia), September 15-16, 2023

Slovenia did us proud!

International Final - Ljubljana (Slovenia), September 15-16, 2023

Profiles of this year's Panel

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