A former sommelier turned psychologist has developed a revolutionary treatment that he claims could spare the blushes of thousands of bartenders and sommeliers every year.
‘If you hate sherry or can’t stand the taste of tequila, I can totally change your life,’ he told Imbibe.
Doctor Nicolas Scallopini was studying psychology during the day at Paris’ Descartes University, and working as a sommelier at night when he hit upon his idea.
‘One of the chefs there had totally lost his tastebuds,’ he said. ‘He had a bad traffic accident and told me that ever since everything tasted of falafel: drinks, desserts, even his toothpaste.’
Using a combination of hypnosis, shock therapy and neuro-linguistic programming, Dr Scallopini succeeded in removing the problem. It was the start of a process that he calls ‘palate resetting’.
‘Everyone has a food or drink that they don’t like,’ he said. ‘For most of us it’s not a big problem, but if it’s your job to like all these things, it’s a different story. How can you make a Negroni if you don’t like Campari? Or recommend a Chablis if you don’t like Chardonnay?’
He spent a year working with disillusioned members of the French Confrerie de Sommellerie who had ‘fallen out of love with Burgundy’, fine tuning his techniques to the point where he could cure someone suffering from palate dysmorphia in just one session.
His startling results came to the attention of the Volvic Underground, a secretive group of New York Bartenders embarrassed by their inability to drink shots of mezcal.
‘It’s like night and day,’ said Scallopini. ‘Last time I was there they were throwing the stuff back and laughing without a care in the world. It was great to see.’
Before you think about contacting the doctor in his London office, however, be aware that the treatment does have its limitations.
‘There’s just one blind spot,’ he sighed. ‘Baiju. I can’t do anything about it. Nobody ever really likes that stuff. If they tell you they do, they’re lying.’
Doctor Scallopini will be appearing on the Poisson d’Avril Stage at Imbibe Live later this summer.