Head sommelier of wine members’ club 67 Pall Mall, Terry Kandylis, is to leave his post at the end of the month to take on the role of beverage and wine director at Australian restaurant group Lucas.
Speaking to the drinks business, Kandylis said the decision to relocate to Melbourne in Australia was not an easy one.
“The last four and a half years my life and career have become synonymous with the 67 Pall Mall project,” he said. “The only thing that made me consider leaving was a bigger role and my desire to change city and lifestyle. London is a great city, and has lots to offer, though living by the sea and in as city that is surrounded by some of the country’s best vineyards is definitely appealing.”
Kandylis began his career in the restaurant industry while studying physics at the University of Athens. After completing his WSET Level 3, he moved to the UK to join The Fat Duck, where he completed his WSET Diploma.
Since then he has also taken the advanced level of the Court of Master Sommeliers exam.
After leaving The Fat Duck, Kandylis worked at The Ledbury as assistant head sommelier. After two years, he left to join 67 Pall Mall in 2015, under the guidance of Master Sommelier Ronan Sayburn.
He credits Sayburn with being a “great mentor” that “has taught me and everyone in this team a lot”.
Speaking about his time at the club, he said: “I am extremely proud and happy to witness the progress and growth of the club and be able to work during these years with such great people and professionals. Seeing ex-colleagues of ours leading some amazing wine programmes in some of the city’s best venues makes us proud to say that they carry the 67 Pall Mall culture.
“We worked hard to create a place that has the ‘right’ culture, that the legend who sounded in the name of Gerard Basset called it the ‘Hub of Sommelierie’. Great words that have a special meaning to anyone who is in this profession and not only fills your heart with joy and pleasure, but a great sense of responsibility.”
He also mentions hosting a number of events, including 18 vintages of Barolo Monfortino, dinners with Château Margaux and seven decades of wine from Domaine Rene Engel, as being highlights in his career to date.
“We’ve held numerous masterclasses with Jane Anson and Jasper Morris that I admire so much,” he said. “It is always memorable when you are hosting events with people that you become friends with over the years, like François Thienpont, Alexandra Petit, Thibault Pontallier and Chiara Pepe. These memories will follow me for the rest of my life.”
Kandylis will now be moving to Melbourne and describes visiting the city as “love at first sight”.
“I love the fact that it somehow reminds me of Greece, surrounded by oceans of water and vines,” he said.
Kandylis will take on responsibility for wine and drinks at the Lucas restaurant group. Headed up by Chris Lucas, the group has sites in Melbourne and Sydney including South East Asian-inspired flagship Chin Chin Melbourne and Gogo Bar, pizzeria Baby, Kong BBQ, Singapore and Malaysian restaurant Hawker Hall, three-level Japanese concept Kisumé and Chin Chin Sydney.
Over the years, Kandylis has picked up a number of awards including the Sommelier South African Cup in 2013, Best Sommelier in Greece in 2015 and UK Sommelier of the Year in 2016.
Most recently, he has developed and designed the wine list for London-based Greek restaurant chain Opso. With visual content, which includes descriptions of key Greek grape varieties, plus a map explaining the wine geography of the country, Kandylis said the aim was to create a “user friendly list to guide guests around Greece”.
“I was bored with classic wine lists that state just the name of the wine and the region,” he said. Since making the changes, the restaurant has already noticed an uptick in sales, which are much more even spread across different wines on the list than before.
“The restaurant doesn’t have a sommelier, so it was crucial to make it as easy to use as possible. Before it was a case of ‘it all sounds Greek to me'”, Kandylis said.