The results of The Chaine des Rotisseurs GB are in, naming the best young sommelier and chef in the country
Robineau, this year’s somm winner, is head sommelier at Les 110 de Taillevent, and was previously at The Dorchester. This year’s Young Chef of the Year is Ellie Shaw of the Clink Restaurant, while Melania Battison of Medlar (and winner of a 2020 Imbibe Personality of the Year Award) was recognised as the competition’s top taster, picking up the Gerard Basset Trophy.
‘I was third in the competition last year, so feel very honoured to come top this time,’ said Robineau. ‘Three years ago I knew nothing about restaurants and how to carry a tray properly – and now I am sitting the Master Sommelier exams, with one part already passed!'
He comes from a winemaking family in the Loire, and studied viticulture in Burgundy. He’s since worked at the Fat Duck, learning from sommelier Isa Bal there, followed by time at two-Michelin-star Moor Hall in Lancashire, as well as The Dorchester.
The competition was held back in March, with finalist sommeliers gathering at the Gaggenau Showrooms in London for a theory test, blind tasting of six wines, and a service skills round. The winners have had to wait far longer than usual for the results. The original plan was to announce these at a big dinner at the Dorchester later in March, but this is 2020 we’re talking about, so the announcement was only able to be made this week at Pennyhill Park in Bagshot.
‘In Ellie and Paul we have two very worthy winners – indicative of the amazing talent we see in our young professionals today. On behalf of all the members of the Chaine in this country, we salute them,’ said Phillip Evins, Bailli Délégué for the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs GB.
In addition to taking the Gerard Basset award, Battiston came in second place to Robineau, followed by Zareh Mesrobyan from Cliveden and Tony Lecuroux from Moor Hall in joint third place. Robineau and Shaw will represent Great Britain in the World Championships next September, in Bordeaux and Paris respectively. In the meantime, Robineau received a Chaine des Rotisseurs Winners medal with five years of complimentary membership, a personalised winner’s plate by Royal Crown Derby, a champagne sabre, bottles of Nyetimber and Ridgeview Blanc de Blanc, and a personal tour and tasting at Ridgeview Estate.