Time to put the sommeliers in the spotlight: Job Seuren
The next sommelier we would like to introduce to you chose a career in the world of wines above one in international politics!! Now’s that’s choosing for your passion :-) ! Please meet Job Seuren. It was during Job’s studies at university (International Politics) that he got more and more interested in wine. It even went that far that he actually enjoyed his student job at a local wine shop better than what he was actually studying for… As Job is now a very well-known sommelier I guess we all know which path he decided to follow. After his part time job at the local wine shop and a few job in restaurants, the first milestone in Job’s career was at Michelin awarded restaurant Solo in Gorinchem (at that time as chef Mohammed el Harouchi) that he later exchanged for the position as head-sommelier in one of The Netherland’s best restaurants, three Michelin star awarded De Librije.
Today Job works at the wine café De Klepel in Amsterdam, writes for several Dutch wine magazines (Elle, Perswijn), is board member of the Dutch Sommelier Association and started an own company with 6 friends called SOMMOS where they work together with companies like for example Albert Heijn to bring the best wines (at affordable prices that is) into everybody’s home. A very busy bee :-)
Next to that he also found some time to be judge at the Best Sommelier of Belgian contest
Please feast your eyes on Job's interview
1. What is your favorite wine region to work with?
No specific region, though I work mostly with the old world and traditional wine regions. We do however have a slight preference for Chenin wines from the Loire valley as they are so diverse, almost always a match for food, original and most of our guests seem to like them.
2. What does it take to be a good sommelier according to you?
A sommelier is a specialized host. Of course you need to know your wines, you need to be able to taste well and have experience, but most importantly you need to know your guests. That takes practice and experience and someone who guides you along the way.
3. Is the job of a sommelier underestimated/valued?
That is not my experience. Perhaps though, a good host (which a sommelier is) is undervalued.
4. When and how did you get the passion for wine?
I always preferred wine over other alcoholic beverages, but it started in university when I really got a feeling for it. Reading books by Hubrecht Duijker, visiting producers in the Dordogne where my parents have a house, buying my first relatively expensive Bordeaux. Then starting as a job next to my studies Political Science in a wine shop. It grew from there.
5. Who is your big example in the wine/sommelier world?
There are a few. Roy Pelgrim (Tribeca**) is one of the best Dutch sommeliers with intense knowledge and great capacity to bring that to guests and to a new generation of sommeliers. Some of the best Dutch sommeliers were trained by him. I have great respect for Sabas Joosten who succeeded me at Restaurant De Librije. He’s a better sommelier than I am. Besides working 80 hour weeks he managed to do WSET level 4 and now is on the MW path... extremely impressive. One other person who I respect, perhaps envy is Richard Betts MS who has all the energy in the world to work, study, travel, be a somm, make wine, make mescal, do everything in the world and not leave one minute unused.
6. What is your approach for pairing wines(or other beverages) with dishes?
Balance. One thing Roy Pelgrim explained well and I completely agree with: a wine must serve. It must be supportive of the dish. On the other hand I look at what the guest wants to drink. If that is a red Bordeaux with ceviche, so be it. Wine and food pairing can be great, but it is the moment that counts. Wine and food pairing must not be overvalued. I personally never ask for a wine pairing, just a really nice wine I want to drink.
7. Which wine region would you recommend everybody to visit and why?
South Africa. The warmest, most beautiful, most hospitable country/region I've ever been to with great wines, fantastic food (and for westerners affordable prices). Great scenery, diversity and fantastic weather most of the time.
8. For which wine would you make a big sacrifice to be able to taste?
I don't look at things that way. There are many famous wines that I would still love to taste/drink, but sacrifice is not the right word for it. I would simply really love to share great wines with great company. A wine may be fantastic, but if I'm tasting at 10 o clock in the morning with no-one or just a few colleagues to share that it is a nice wine that doesn't do the wine justice. I much prefer drinking it at night and much prefer sharing a lesser bottle with friends around the table than tasting an icon for breakfast.
9. What is your most wonderful memory of hotel management school or viticulture studies?
The best memories came much later with travels or at work as a sommelier. Great trips to South Africa, Austria, Alsace, Bordeaux, Spain etc. All with fantastic motivated fellow sommeliers (and press).
10. A culinary or wine experience everybody should have had besides have a meal at your restaurant, shop, winery, etc..?
A weekend in San Sebastian. The atmosphere, food and wine are like nowhere else I've ever been.