Sake Sommelier of The Year: Semi-Finalists Revealed


THE Sake Sommelier Association has today announced the names of the six sake sommeliers who have made it through to the semi-final of this year’s Sake Sommelier of the Year competition based on an initial written questionnaire.

The sommeliers are:

Jean-Paul Choi, Origami Restaurant, Belvaux, Luxembourg

Deepak Elangovan, Hakkasan Restaurant, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Miguel A. Hernandez, HKK, London, UK

Raku Oda, Yashin Ocean House, London, UK

Noel Pusch, Zuma Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Andrew Rohm, BLT Steak, Trump International Hotel, Hawaii, USA

The sommeliers will attend the semi-final and final being held at London’s Westbury Hotel on 24 November 2014. Amongst the tasks they will complete in front of a six-strong judging panel are blind tastings, food matching tests and an error on a sake list. From the six just three Sake sommeliers will be chosen to compete in the final in front of an audience of invited guests with the name of the winner announced at the end of the afternoon.

This year’s judges includes well-known sommelier and hotelier Gerard Basset OBE, MS, MW, MBA, previous winner of the World’s Best Sommelier competition and himself a certified Sake sommelier.

The Sake Sommelier of the Year competition is organised by the Academy of Food & Wine Service (AFWS) in association with the London-based Sake Sommelier Association and sponsor Gekkeikan, one of the world’s oldest and finest sake producers.

The winner of this prestigious competition, the only one of its kind held outside Japan, will win the top prize of a fantastic five-day, fully funded trip to Japan, worth around £5,000.

The trip includes the opportunity to take the Sake Sommelier Association’s Advance Sake Sommelier Course, visiting and working in sake breweries.

The Sake Sommelier Association (SSA) is the first and only organisation that is solely dedicated to Sake. Candidates passing the Introductory Sake Professional and Certified Sake Sommelier will become an SSA accredited Sake Sommelier. [ends]

For further press information, please contact:

Linda Pettit, Tilburstow Media Partners

T: 01342 832866 / 07973 789853 or



GekkeikanAbout Gekkeikan and Sake

Sake is a versatile beverage enjoyed at a range of serving temperatures. With the exception of namazake, namachozo-shu and certain premium sakes, which must be served chilled or over ice, many sake varieties may be served chilled, room temperature or warmed.

The range and quality of sake is largely determined by the rice polishing ratio, variety of rice, variety of yeast and alcohol percentage. Depending on these factors, sake may be fruity or full-bodied, dry or sweet. When labelling sake, classification is determined by the rice polishing ratio, brewing technique, ingredients or a combination thereof.

Gekkeikan is one of the world’s oldest family-owned sake companies founded in 1637 in Fushimi, a district of Japan’s former capital of Kyoto. The crown of laurel (“Gekkeikan” in Japanese) was adopted as the company’s corporate logo in 1905. As a traditional symbol of victory and merit, it was chosen to represent Gekkeikan’s achievement of becoming one of Japan’s leading sakes.

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