Lise Donier-Meroz of Cumbrian restaurant L’Enclume was crowned inaugural winner of the Gérard Basset Travel Scholarship 2020 at 67 Pall Mall last Saturday (1 February).
Donier-Meroz was awarded the bursary as the judges - Nina and Romané Basset, Ronan Sayburn MS, Tim Atkin MW and Laura Rhys MS - believed her application was best in line with its ethos.
'Lise’s application was well-written, and we liked that she will use the funds to explore the whole South American continent, using eco forms of travel once she gets there,' explained Nina Basset. 'She’s an exciting new talent, and we feel she will be a shining ambassador for Sommellerie. Gérard would definitely have approved!'
As part of the scholarship, Donier-Meroz will receive a £5,000 bursary as well as help from the judges in planning and tailoring her trip to South America.
'Travelling has always been an important part of my life,' the sommelier said. 'As soon as I started my apprenticeship at 16 years old, I put all my savings towards a trip to South Africa and it was on this unforgettable journey that I fell in love with wine and knew I wanted it to be my career. I cannot wait for my South American adventure,' she continued, 'I have literally never felt more grateful than I do to the judges for what will be a life-changing opportunity.'