Sommelier Raphael Laurent and chef Ambra Papa of Petersham Nurseries have won the title Gosset Matchmakers 2017.
The final of the champagne-and-food-matching competition, held at Le Cordon Bleu London, saw five chef and sommelier teams competing for victory, by devising an original dish to pair with Gosset Blanc de Blancs.
Their efforts were judged by an imposing panel of experts, including Jean-Pierre Cointreau, the chairman of Champagne Gosset, Xavier Rousset MS, Matthieu Longuère MS, Louise Gordon of Lime Wood Hotel, Michelin-starred chef Anthony Boyd, Imbibe’s Julie Sheppard and Will Oatley, MD of Louis Latour Agencies.
Papa prepared a dish of ricotta di bufala and Sicilian almond gnudi, with Cornish lobster, poached pear and violas, inspired by her own Tuscan heritage, Laurent’s French culinary tradition and the seasonal menu at Petersham Nurseries. Gordon described the pairing as 'Brilliant… texturally interesting with fantastic freshness'; while Boyd praised the 'beautiful combination of flavours and textures'.
Second place in the competition went to sommelier Camille Mercury and chef Pierre Minotti from Hélène Darroze at The Connaught, who served a Japanese-influenced dish of bluefin tuna tartare with Oscietra caviar, tuna belly sushi with ponzu sauce and sesame and soy crackers.
Also competing were: sommelier Victor Retif and chef Auriane Roux from The Lanesborough hotel; sommelier Timothy Connor and chef Dario Catapano of Bread Street Kitchen; and sommelier Julien Sarrasin and chef David Salt of Club Gascon.
Laurent and Papa win an all-expenses-paid trip to Champagne to visit Gosset and spend time with chef de cave, Odilon de Varine, to gain an in-depth insight into the maison’s range.
For a full report of the competition see the next issue of Imbibe magazine.