Interview With A Sommelier – Norbert Budai

14th November 2023

Interview With A Sommelier Norbert Budai

The World of Wine is beautifully showcased by an army of talented Sommeliers, who help the consumer discover their next favourite bottle, understand the different regions and pair a delicious meal with the right Glass of Bubbly.

In this feature, I speak with a man who has helped many people to discover the vast world of Wines and Sparkling Wines, his name is Norbert Budai, and let’s find out a bit about his life as a Sommelier.

Tell Us About Yourself

“My name is Norbert, I came from a small town in Northeast of Hungary. In school, I studied tourism and catering, which naturally led me to pursue a career in the hospitality industry.”

What Inspired You To Become A Sommelier?

“It was my professional curiosity.

Working in great restaurants, first as a waiter, and later in manager positions, I became very interested in wines, cocktails and in all the other beverages.

I wanted to know more about them and decided to further educate myself in this field.

I have been very fortunate to work with some great professionals along the way whom I could learn a lot from.”

During Your Time As A Sommelier, What’s The Most Surprising Thing You’ve Learnt?

“Wine connects so many people and it is a very exciting world.

Being a Sommelier it’s a lifelong journey that requires real dedication and constant learning.”

How Often Do You Find Yourself Recommending English Sparkling Wine?

“Very often. Living and working in the UK has given me the opportunity to taste many English Sparkling Wines and I have also visited several producers in the last few years. I always love to learn more about these wines and about the story of the wineries.”

In Your Professional Opinion, Out Of Champagne And Prosecco, Which Do You Think Does A Better Job With Complementing A Meal?

“There is a lot depending on what dishes we are talking about.

If I had to pick a bottle to compliment an entire meal with multiple courses, I would definitely pick Champagne out of the two due to the complexity and richness it can offer. There is a very wide range to choose from with many different styles, quality levels and producers.

Having said that, Prosecco has its place as well in food and wine pairing, but I would choose it to go with lighter dishes, rather than complimenting an entire meal.”

What Advice Would You Give Inspiring Sommeliers?

“Learn, travel, and taste as much as possible, explore the world of gastronomy. Be open to new things and surround yourself with like-minded people whom you share the same goal with.

Reach out to experienced professionals, and mentors to work with.

Share your knowledge and most importantly, enjoy what you do!”

If You Sat Down For A Quiet Dinner, What Dish And Sparkling Wine Would You Choose To Enjoy Together?

“That would be a pan-fried fillet of turbot with a dill butter sauce and new potatoes paired with a bottle of Suenen, Grand Cru Oiry, Blanc de Blancs Champagne.”

Thank you, Norbert, for sharing your words, knowledge and experiences with us and we at Glass of Bubbly wish you the very best for the future!

Images belong to Norbert Budai. Glass of Bubbly was granted permission, to use them.

Oliver Walkey

Champagne and Sparkling Wine Writer, Focused on Bringing the Exciting and Fascinating World of Bubbly to You.