The British branch of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs has announced a new award for its Young Sommelier Competition in honour of a much-loved member of the organisation – Gérard Basset.
The Gérard Basset Tasting Trophy will be given to the sommelier, aged 30 or under, scoring the highest marks in the blind tasting and food matching sections of the testing finals taking place at the Gaggenau showrooms in London on 5 March.
The results – and the trophy title – will be announced at an awards dinner at The Dorchester on Friday 22 March. The trophy itself will be presented by Gérard’s widow Nina.
“Gérard was not only a close personal friend, but also highly-committed professional member of the Chaîne, who gave so much of his time to head up the judging panels year after year, and also mentor so many young sommeliers as they honed their skills,” explained Philip Evins, Bailli Délégué for the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, which is an international gastronomic society across 80 countries worldwide.
Continuing, he said, “Therefore, it is fitting to establish a trophy in his name, to perpetuate his memory – and to honour his extraordinary tasting ability throughout his unique career. Gérard chaired the Young Sommelier judging panel for the past 11 years, ever since its inauguration in 2008, and was a legend to us all. He will be very sadly missed.”
The winner of the Young Sommelier UK title goes on to compete in the Chaîne’s International Finals in Seoul, South Korea in September, pitted against talented sommeliers from many other countries across the world. Great Britain has experienced unprecedented success in this global competition, taking first or second place in 8 out of 10 years – due in no small part to Gérard Basset’s enthusiastic support and encouragement.
As previously reported by the drinks business, Gérard died on 19 January aged 61, having been diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus in 2017.