Best Sommelier of Ontario (June 15, 2006)
Gilberto Bojaca, Ontario Chair of The Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers, is pleased to announce that Jennifer Huether-Vranjes, Sommelier of the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, has won the title of Best Sommelier of Ontario. The announcement was made in Toronto at a gala dinner held May 29, 2006 at The Fairmont Royal York Hotel.
The two other finalists involved in the competition, held earlier in the day at The Fairmont Royal York, were Julie Bérubé of Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa Culinary Arts Institute in Ottawa and Jaime Duran of Le Sélect Bistro in Toronto. The three finalists were judged and evaluated based on their performance on a wine and menu pairing; providing corrections to an erroneous wine list; the blind tasting of wines for sight, smell, taste, and aftertaste characteristics; and a table and decanting service.
The judges of the 2006 Best Sommelier of Ontario Competition were Gordon Stimmell, Wine Columnist of the Toronto Star; James Chatto of LCBO Food and Drink magazine; Doris Miculan Bradley, General Manager, 360 Restaurant and Maitre d'/ Sommelier; John Szabo, Master Sommelier and Technical Director of CAPS; Gilberto Bojaca, Ontario Chair, Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers; and Kevin Brauch of The Thirsty Traveler, who also acted as emcee at the gala dinner.
Jennifer Huether-Vranjes, who is expected to be Canada's next Master Sommelier, having passed her theory exam earlier this year, will represent Ontario in the Best Sommelier of Canada finals to be held in Montreal, September 2006. The winner of the national competition will represent Canada in le Concours du Meilleur Sommelier du Monde, the World's Best Sommelier Competition, considered the Olympics of the Sommelier profession, to be held in Barcelona Spain, 2007. For information, visit www.sommellerie-internationale.com.
The three finalists in the Best Sommelier of Ontario competition receive a four-day all-inclusive trip to the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia as guests of Mission Hill Family Estate. As the Best Sommelier of Ontario, Jennifer Huether-Vranjes wins an all-inclusive trip for two to California to attend Premiere Napa Valley to be held February 2007 courtesy of Napa Vintners Association. In addition, she receives a Riedel decanter donated by the Wine Establishment and a weekend for two at The Fairmont Royal York Hotel. Other prizes for the finalists include premium wines and fine dinners donated by several hotels, restaurants and wine agencies.
The Ontario Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS) is part of the Paris-based Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (ASI). Open to the hospitality, wine service industry and trade, CAPS welcomes people eager to study towards the profession of sommelier. The association's goal is to provide the industry with well-trained professionals of the highest caliber and to develop working relationships between its members, wine professionals, consumers and the hospitality industry.
George Brown College and Niagara College (Niagara-on-the-Lake) in affiliation with CAPS offer comprehensive professional sommelier programs at each of the colleges. For more information regarding the Professional Sommelier Programs offered through Continuing Education, complete details are provided at each of the colleges' websites: www.coned.georgebrown.ca/sommelier and www.niagarac.on.ca/sommelier.
A core objective of CAPS is to groom sommeliers to compete in prestigious competitions held annually at venues worldwide, including Best Sommelier of Ontario, Best Sommelier of Canada, Best Pan-American Sommelier and World's Best Sommelier.