Time to put the sommeliers in the spotlight: Nick Scade
It are always the chefs who are put in the spotlight, although to my opinion sommeliers deserve that same attention as they are just like the chefs an essential part of the full gastronomic experience. That is why I try to put as many sommeliers from around the globe in the spotlight. The following sommelier I wish to introduce to you is already working quite a while our next sommelier in the sommeliers scene as he obtained his diploma in Hotelkeeping and Catering Management in 1969… I introduce to you Nick Scade
Nick was in fact the last president of the UK Guild of Sommeliers back in the mid 1980’s before it became the Academy of Wine Service (AFWS) of which Nick has also been president until last year. The AFWS is a not-for-profit, social enterprise, membership organization dedicated to improving front-of-house service.
Although Nick sold his New Mill Restaurant 10 years ago and is ‘retired’ ever since, he’s been busier than ever. Today he combines jobs as Councilor and Honorary Treasurer of the Wine Guild of the United Kingdom, Honorary Vice President of the new Sommeliers Guild of the United Kingdom and involvements in the committees of the AFWS.
Nick was never a sommelier per se,he started his career in hotel operations before specialising in Food & Beverage , he was for many Catering Director of the UK's leading Casino Group and a few London Clubs . He was also managing Director of the internationally renowned Michelin starred Boulestin Restaurant in Covent Garden (to name only a few highlights in his wonderful career) and has been a wine buyer for the past 40 years in all his various professional roles. His restaurant The New Mill (1985 to 2006) was awarded the AA Restaurant Guide Best Wine List in the UK Award in 2005. Back in the 80’s he studied and obtained the Wine and Spirit Educational Trust Diploma and in the 2000's has written and taught waiters around Europe and the UK about Wines and Wine Service at introductory levels… So basically he has dedicated his whole life to wine and to the world of sommeliers and it ain’t over until that fat lady sings.
What is your favorite wine region to work with?
Always have loved Champagne, for its style, Alsace for its wonderful scenery and great wine making families and Burgundy because I just love exploring the wines of that region, so many styles and wonderful estates (and a few that are not so good so you need to keep up to date)
What does it take to be a good sommelier according to you?
Someone who never stops learning, always is on the lookout for new experiences and who loves interacting with the customers.
Is the job of a sommelier underestimated/valued?
Underestimated in my opinion
(see recent interesting U.K. article in Imbibe magazine which should get everyone talking!)
When and how did you get the passion for wine?
Way back in 1978 when I was working as F&B director for a top U.K. Casino group I was fortunate to have a boss who was in love with DRC wines and I got the chance to taste and visit the estate and also many other top estates and was quickly hooked myself!
Who is your big example in the wine/sommelier world?
No question in the UK it has to be Gerard Basset, OBE, MW, MS the only person in the world to my knowledge to have been awarded the MW and MS and also an MBA in Wine! a true example of someone who not only has reached the pinnacle of his profession but is also passionate about sharing his knowledge with others
What is your approach for pairing wines(or other beverages) with dishes?
I'm a bit of a traditionalist but also enjoy finding obscure wines, grape varieties, regions that deserve more promotion and using examples to demonstrate their virtues with food pairings
Which wine region would you recommend everybody to visit and why?
That's really difficult as there are so many and in my opinion you can never really understand a region properly until you visit it and see the vineyards and meet the vignerons. Burgundy still probably comes at the top of my list as it's so complex to understand but Alsace has to stand out as one of the most scenic and underrated.
For which wine would you make a big sacrifice to be able to taste?
Any DRC wine!
What is your most wonderful memory of hotel management school?
Went to Westminster Hotel School in London, and studied for a National Diploma in Hotelkeeping & Catering, Westminster is probably the oldest hotel school in the UK, alumni include Gordon Ramsey and Jamie Oliver. They had a great training restaurant with great lecturers who really inspired me. Their motto was if we train you to be able to work in the top London Hotels and Restaurants you will always be able to work in any lesser property but not the other way around.
A culinary or wine experience everybody should have had besides have a meal at your restaurant, shop,etc…?
Fly into Lyon in France and spend three or four days touring some of the world’s best Michelin starred restaurants. I did this trip many years ago and came back with so many great ideas on food wine and service.