Ruben Desport

2019 profile

Head sommelier – Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester

Hailing from Belgium, Desport oversees the list at three-Michelin-starred fine-dining institution Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester. Desport commands a 1,000-strong list of mostly French wines, paying particular attention to pairings, created with executive chef Jean-Philippe Blondet. “I am convinced that the basics of good food and wine come from responsible sourcing and production,” he says. “With my passion for both subjects, it is inspiring to hear Alain Ducasse speak about his restaurants and philosophy.

The origins of a product play a very big part in his cuisine – using only seasonal ingredients from producers that share his values.” Today a key figure in London’s on-trade, Desport’s first foray into wine began as an intern at Ducasse’s Le Louis XV in Monaco when he was 19. Setting the tone for his future career path, in 2010 he moved to London, as commis sommelier at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester.

Two years later he left the Ducasse fold (briefly), and relocated to Paris, working at the vertiginous Le Jules Verne, the restaurant located in the Eiffel Tower. But the Ducasse empire was never far from his heart. During his two years in the Tower, Desport assisted in numerous Ducasse Paris restaurants, including Aux Lyonnais, Benoit, and the fish restaurant, Rech. Of those early days, the diligent Desport only wishes he had studied more.

“Above all, a good sommelier is one who knows his cellar well. Everything else is secondary,” he says. “I read many books and studied the different geographies and beverage production methods all over the world, but I would still advise my younger self to look into more specialised literature, learning in depth about specific regions of France, such as Burgundy.”

With a head full of knowledge, and keen to progress in his career, in 2014 Desport returned to The Dorchester, and London, this time as head sommelier for the newly refurbished The Grill at The Dorchester, where he worked to create a 600-bin wine list. In August 2016, Desport came full circle, rejoining the team at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester as assistant sommelier. Within two years he was promoted to head sommelier and now leads a team that shares his aim of delivering tailor-made, memorable service. “What makes this restaurant unique is that everybody is here for the same purpose,” he says. “I feel the team spirit every day and it’s very motivating.”


Leave your reply

Most Recent Stories

The Kitchin Group named restaurateur of the year

Tom and Michaela Kitchin, the team behind The Kitchin Group, have taken home the award ‘Restaurateur of the Year’ at the National Restaurant Awards.

Q&A: Michael Gilbey, Gilbey's of Eton and Amersham

Restaurateur and co-owner of restaurant group Gilbey's, Michael Gilbey, reveals his love of French wine, why he believes in importing directly and how the restaurant trade has changed since Gilbey's first opened in 1975.

Where winemakers dine: Stéphane Derenoncourt

Viticultural consultant and owner of Domaine de l’A, Stéphane Derenoncourt, reveals why he enjoys a trip to Les 110 de Taillevent and why he has relished spending more time in London.

Richard Corrigan to take over former Nuala site

Irish chef Richard Corrigan is to take over the former site of Irish restaurant Nuala in London’s Old Street and will launch a new restaurant later this year.

Where winemakers dine: Victor Urrutia

Chief executive and fifth generation of the founding family of Rioja winery Companía Vinícola del Norte de Espagna (CVNE), Victor Urrutia, tells us where he goes when he gets a craving for proper tapas.

Most Recent Stories

The Kitchin Group named restaurateur of the year

Tom and Michaela Kitchin, the team behind The Kitchin Group, have taken home the award ‘Restaurateur of the Year’ at the National Restaurant Awards.

Q&A: Michael Gilbey, Gilbey's of Eton and Amersham

Restaurateur and co-owner of restaurant group Gilbey's, Michael Gilbey, reveals his love of French wine, why he believes in importing directly and how the restaurant trade has changed since Gilbey's first opened in 1975.

Where winemakers dine: Stéphane Derenoncourt

Viticultural consultant and owner of Domaine de l’A, Stéphane Derenoncourt, reveals why he enjoys a trip to Les 110 de Taillevent and why he has relished spending more time in London.

Richard Corrigan to take over former Nuala site

Irish chef Richard Corrigan is to take over the former site of Irish restaurant Nuala in London’s Old Street and will launch a new restaurant later this year.

Where winemakers dine: Victor Urrutia

Chief executive and fifth generation of the founding family of Rioja winery Companía Vinícola del Norte de Espagna (CVNE), Victor Urrutia, tells us where he goes when he gets a craving for proper tapas.