The competitors

Competitor 2022

Elise DE WAELE Belgium

Elise received her education at the hotel school Ter Groene Poorte in Bruges and completed this with the specialisations Butler & Events and Drinks Knowledge. She then completed her Bachelor in Hotel Management at the Erasmus University College in Brussels. She subsequently worked through internships and student jobs in De Karmeliet, Hertog Jan, Sans Cravate, The Ritz (London), The Savoy (London) & Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa. At Brasserie Ruislé in Ruiselede, Elise has created a unique list with her knowledge of wines and has already built up a beautiful collection that she serves for the clients.

Competitor 2022

Julian SIMARD-GILLIS Canada

Julian studied to be a Wine Steward/Sommelier at the Institut de tourisme et d'hôtellerie in Québec. Since May 2018 he has been Sommelier at The Post Hotel & Spa at Lake Louise in Alberta - surrounded by the spectacular Canadian Rockies and arguably the best boutique hotel in Canada. Julian says he lives in the most beautiful place on earth with his fiancé. Nature is their playground. Hiking, skiing, and mountain biking are definitely top activities outside of wine. However, he does love to blind taste with good friends and it goes without saying, sharing a wonderful meal together is always a pleasure.

Competitor 2022

Johanna BERGEMANN Germany

Anyone who regularly visits top restaurants in the Rheinpfalz has most likely been advised on their wine choice by Johanna given that her career path includes Intense, Le Corange, Opus V and finally Bio-Restaurant Hofgut Ruppertsberg. However, at the beginning of 2022 she left the restaurant to join BASF Weinkeller in Ludwigshafen. The wine cellar houses over 2,000 different wines from around the globe, with selections ranging from good table wines to exquisite rarities from Bordeaux. Johanna is the youngest member of the BASF team, however her qualifications and experience already make her a valued member in the lineup.

Competitor 2022

Minjun KIM Korea

After graduating from Dongguk University’s Hospitality Department, Minjun dreamed of becoming a Sommelier. He joined Jung Sik, the Michelin 2-star restaurant known as a new pioneer of Korean cuisine. As part of the service team, he developed his knowledge and competed in national competitions for two years gaining more experience. He then worked for a year as a Sommelier at the Michelin 1-star Soigné before rejoining Jung Sik as a Sommelier. He holds the French Wine Scholar credential, has reached WSET Level 3 and is on track for the next stage in his Court of Master Sommeliers certification.

Competitor 2022

Miguel Ángel MARTINEZ GIL Mexico

Miguel is Sommelier at Chileno Bay Resort by Auberge Resorts Collection, a contemporary sanctuary nestled on a beach in Cabo San Lucas, where he was born and raised. Being the son of a creative artist Miguel was raised inspired by the spirit of his family, capturing him into the world of hospitality where at a young age he discovered a passion for creating experiences and serving others. He enjoys discovering cultures and other places of the world through a glass of wine. His main goal in life is to become a source of inspiration of hard work and drive for the next generations of his neighbourhood to overcome difficulties.

Competitor 2022

Nyan Htet NAING Myanmar

Having graduated as the best student of his class from the SMVTI vocational hospitality training school sponsored by the Singaporean government, Nyan was recruited by SEEDS Restaurant and Lounge in Yangon. Soon he discovered his deep passion for everything liquid and started to self-explore and study. He attended bartender schools in Myanmar, Zürich and Rome Nyan is ambitious to develop and enlarge his professional skills. During his time at SEEDS he discovered a deep passion for all beverage-related subjects, mainly creating cocktails, under-standing wines and investigating knowledge in terms of spirits.

Competitor 2022

Noor KROOSHOOP Netherlands

Since 2016 Noor has been a Chef de Rang at Landhuishotel De Bloemenbeek. She is now an international fast-track Bachelor, Hospitality Management student at Hotelschool The Hague (Amsterdam Campus), ranked among the top hospitality management schools worldwide. Even from when Noor was young hospitality has inspired her: the diversity, the opportunity to work with a wide variety of people (and wines), giving your own personal touch to each moment of service, with lots of enthusiasm. Which is related to a saying she finds inspiring: “Enthusiasm, is a vital element to success”.

Competitor 2022

Filmon TEWELDEMEDHIN Norway

Filmon is a valued member of the service brigade in Palmehaven, the iconic dining hall of the famous Britannia Hotel in Trondheim, dating back to 1918. Born in Eritrea, multi-lingual Filmon came to Norway in 2013 and studied at hospitality college from 2016 to 2018. He has won several competitions both as a waiter and Sommelier. He says, “I have been so fortunate and very grateful to work with a lot of talented colleagues at the Britannia. This has inspired me to challenge myself.” This challenge has led to him being Runner-up in Norway’s Junior Wine Awards 2022 and to also win the Best Apprentice prize.

Competitor 2022

Elliot BJÖRKMANN Sweden

Elliot says that becoming a sommelier wasn’t always a given choice. He started as a runner at Erik´s Gondolen in Stockholm. His interest in wine was sparked when the Sommelier started an internal course for the junior waiters. She made him feel that wine was really fun and that studying wasn’t all bad. Next step was to go to Sommelier school. Unfortunately Gondolen closed but soon after he got a job at W by Wijnjas then moved to Studio Nian, its sister establishment, as Head Sommelier. He likes the philosophy there. Wine is for everyone. We share an unquenchable thirst for drinking the classics but should also enjoy everyday wines.

Competitor 2022

Yun-Shun 'Bass' LIN Taiwan

Bass studied at the Department of Hotel Management at Tainan University of Applied Sciences. From December 2018 to April 2021 he was Sommelier at the Michelin-starred T+T Restaurant in Taipei. He followed this by a year at the Landis Taipei Hotel and since March 2022 he has been a key member of the opening team for Pouyenji organising the cellar and staff wine-service training. In June 2022, Bass was runner-up in the “Best Sommelier of Taiwan” Competition. His philosophy is that the love of wine is a lifestyle choice. Wine and food are meant to be together, it is the role of the Sommelier to “marry” them.

Competitor 2022

Fehmi GUNSU Turkey

Fehmi started his career at the Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum. After that he moved to the Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus and has recently joined Roka Restaurant - part of the d.ream (Doğuş Restaurant Entertainment and Management) Group. Fehmi has completed WSET and International Sommelier Guild courses. He said that the wine that impressed him the most during his career to date was a 2017 Napa Valley Malbec. Perhaps, not surprisingly, he is also enamoured with Burgundy Grand Cru wines from Chambertin and Chablis. Naturally, he aspires to develop consistently to become a top Sommelier.

Competitor 2022

Freddie JOHNSON

Sommelier at The Fat Duck since September 2020, Freddie has had a lifelong passion for restaurants. He left school to train and work in high-end kitchens. Moved to the front of house and enrolled in an International Wine Business Degree course at Plumpton College. Graduating with a BA (Hons 1st Class) in 2019, he went on to pass the Level 4 WSET Diploma. After a summer stage in Saint-Émilion and Pomerol, Freddie sought to embark on a career working in and around the high-end London on-trade. Following 12 months as Sommelier and Wine Buyer at Church Road in Barnes, he joined the famed Michelin 3-Star Fat Duck.

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