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Time to put the sommeliers in the spotlight: Andy De Brouwer

It is time to put another sommelier in the spotlight! This time we’ll get to know more about Belgian Top sommelier Andy De Brouwer owner ( 4th generation ) of restaurant/hotel Les Eleveurs in Halle (just outside of Brussels). After years working at a Michelin star level in 2015 Andy thought it was time for something different… basically he wanted to get rid of the ‘stiff’ way of working and table cloths and go for Bistronomie, classical dishes with a twist . Next to that he has published a few books and writes a wine column for the weekend edition from De Morgen newspaper … to name a few things that is

When I think of Andy the words (next to wine) Rock ‘n roll and vintage are the first ones that pop into my head. He easily could be a rock star (maybe it just came when seeing the below picture?)… the vintage part is mostly because of his love for old Vespa’s

Once you start talking to Andy something you just cannot deny is his passion for wine… The way he talks about it can only come out of passion… he tells it with so much sparkle in his eyes… I love it!!! That’s why I’ve already learned so many things from him as there’s no better person to learn from than a passionate man

What many of you might not know is that Andy is also part of the technical comity of the Belgian Sommelier Guild… this basically means that he is one of the people that year after year searches for new/challenging questions for the contestants of both the “senior” as the “junior” sommelier Trophy .

I’m sure you guys are already on the edge of you seat to find out more about Andy… so feast your eyes on his answers on my 10 questions:

What is your favorite wine region to work with?

Jerez is without any doubt my favorite wine regions. The region inspired me that much that I even started making my own beer using Zenne y Frontera Lambiek’ old sherry barrels (still with a bit of sherry in them)

What does it take to be a good sommelier according to you?

Understand your client to guide him to the right choice by respecting the signals in terms of budget and figure out what are the main tasting lines he wants to see reflected in his glass. Advising him a few alternatives & sharing your knowledge.

Is the job of a sommelier underestimated/valued?

Drinks can represent almost half of the income of a restaurant. Reasons enough to put this part of the business in hands of a professional.

When and how did you get the passion for wine?

I played all my youth in a enormous wine cellar, thousands of liquid stories captured by a cork, difficult not to be appealed too…

Who is your big example in the wine/sommelier world?

Josep Can Roca (El Celler de can Roca) who is also a Jerez lover

What is your approach for pairing wines(or other beverages) with dishes?

It doesn’t always have to match; sometimes contrasting can be funny too.

Which wine region would you recommend everybody to visit and why? There is no wine region more impressive than the Douro Valley, take the train for a total experience !

For which wine would you make a big sacrifice to be able to taste? Romanée Conti, was able to sell a few bottles in my life but never had the opportunity to taste a sip.

What is your most wonderful memory of hotel management school? Taking care of the dining room service with some other students at the Miss Belgium competition, playing monkey tricks on the catwalk and eating caviar in the lodges of the famous.

A culinary or wine experience everybody should have had besides have a meal at your restaurant, shop, winery, etc..?

Lunch at Michel Bras by clear sky in the Aubrac and enjoy the total experience.

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