The Best Ontario Sommelier Competition and Gala Dinner
Christophe Le Chatton, Executive Assistant Manager, Director Food &
Beverage at The Fairmont Royal York, is pleased to welcome The Canadian
Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS) to The Fairmont Royal York
in celebration of The Best Ontario Sommelier Competition and The Best
Ontario Sommelier Gala Dinner. Both events will be held on November 8,
2004, beginning with the sommelier competition at 2:00 pm on the
19th Floor of The Fairmont Royal York. The day will conclude with the
winning finalist being announced at the Best Ontario Sommelier Gala Dinner
in the Imperial Room at The Fairmont Royal York at 6:30 pm on November
Competitors were drawn from over fifty certified Ontario sommeliers and
members of the Toronto chapter of CAPS. This organization was created
almost a year ago as a chapter of the Paris-based Association de la Sommellerie
Internationale (ASI) and is devoted to developing the sommelier profession
in Ontario. One of its core objectives is to groom sommeliers to compete
in prestigious competitions held annually at venues world wide, including
Best Ontario, Best Canadian, Best Pan-American and World's Best Sommelier.
"CAPS provides the opportunity to showcase the immense talent of
sommeliers in this city, and to prepare them to be the best on the international
stage," says Christophe Le Chatton, Technical Director of CAPS.
To determine qualifiers for the November 8 competition, semi-finals were
held on September 8, 2004. Competing sommeliers were evaluated based on
their performance on a written questionnaire; the blind tasting of two
wines for sight, smell, taste, aftertaste, grape varietal, vintage, area
of provenance; and a food and wine pairing. Finally, on September 8, four
candidates with the highest score were selected to compete as finalists
for the Best Ontario Sommelier Competition. The final four sommeliers
selected from across the country to compete for this prestigious title
are Karen Rossi, Zoltan Szabo, Mario Larochelle and April Kilpatrick.
On November 8th, The Best Ontario Sommelier Competition will see the
four professional sommeliers compete in a series of tests for the prestigious
title and honour of representing Ontario in the Canadian finals slated
for the spring of 2005. A distinguished panel of judges will decide which
one of the four finalists will become the Best Ontario Sommelier. The
final four finalists will be put through their paces once again on November
8 with a demanding series of tests including a formal wine and food pairing
presentation and a service sequence. They will also be judged on their
ability to blind test five premiere wines. The final four will be required
to distinguish between each wine's sight, its bouquet, and the taste and
The judges on November 8, 2004 will be Gordon Stimmel, Wine Columnist
for the Toronto Star; Michael Fagan, Manager of the LBCO Knowledge Resources
Group; David Lawrason, Editor-in-Chief of Wine Access Magazine;
Gilberto Bojaca, President of CAPS; and Christophe Le Chatton, Technical
Director of CAPS. The finalist who has excelled in meeting all the requirements
to the satisfaction of the judges will be accorded the prestigious honour
of Best Ontario Sommelier.
Karen Rossi, a graduate of the Winery and Viticulture Technician
program at Niagara College, brings extensive wine experience to the competition
as a Sommelier of two years for the Pillar and Post Inn, Spa & Conference
Centre in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Today, she is a beverage supervisor overseeing
the wine and cigar program at Casino Niagara.
European native Zoltan Szabo is certified with the International
Sommelier Guild and is an active member of The Canadian Association of
Professional Sommeliers (CAPS). His passion for wines extends to creating
award-winning wine programs for some of the finest restaurants in Toronto.
Recently he was awarded the much-coveted "Wine List of the Month"
by The Wine Guy himself, Tony Aspler.
Mario Larochelle, originally from the Eastern Townships of Quebec,
has steadily moved up the restaurant food and beverage ranks with several
sommelier certificates. His credits include the Sommelier certificate
from Ecole Hôtelièr des Hautes Laurentides of Saint-Adèle,
Quebec, the Sommelier certificate from Algonquin College, Ontario, and
Level 1 of the Master Sommelier's program in Monterey, California.
April Kilpatrick is a seasoned sommelier of seven years with Ruth's
Chris Steak House. As a member of the Canadian Association of Professional
Sommeliers (CAPS) and the International Sommelier Guild, Kilpatrick rigorously
pursues a deeper knowledge of wine as she works towards her Master Sommelier
The Fairmont Royal York is an ideal venue for this major competition
given its standing as the greatest hotel purchaser of Vinters Quality
Alliance (VQA) Canadian Wines in North America, and by continuously purchasing
more imported and domestic wine than any hotel in Canada. In recognition
of its enthusiastic support of local producers and talent, the Wine Council
of Ontario awarded EPIC, the hotel's signature restaurant, the 2004 Restaurant
Award of Excellence for providing exemplary Ontario VQA wine experiences
to discerning patrons. As well, earlier this summer, Wine Access Magazine
rated EPIC as one of "Canada's 50 best" wine restaurants.
The Best Ontario Sommelier Competition will take place on the
19th floor of The Fairmont Royal York on Monday, November 8, beginning
at 2:00 pm. The event is free of charge and is open to the public.
The Best Ontario Sommelier Gala Dinner will take place in the
Imperial Room of The Fairmont Royal York on Monday, November 8, beginning
at 6:30 p.m. The gala dinner is $100 per member and $125 per non-member.
For gala dinner registration, please contact Chris Boland at 416-362-2499
before November 3, 2004.
Download the invitation (including dinner
menu) as an Acrobat PDF (114 KB)