Interview With A Sommelier – Shashi Prakash
6th February 2024
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 from the United Kingdom, who has helped many people to discover the vast world of Wines and Sparkling Wines, his name is Shashi Prakash, let’s find out about his life as a Sommelier.
Tell Us About Yourself
“My name is Shashi Prakash and came to the UK at the end of November 2009 to complete my International Hospitality, Tourism and Events Management- BA/BA (Hons) from Queen Margaret University. After my graduation, I took my first job at Gleneagles as a waiter and moved along the ladder across the UK from the Relais and Chateau Hotel to a Michelin restaurant. I have always enjoyed working in a place where expectations are at a premium as it allows me to push myself and to be better than yesterday. I have been very lucky when I have worked with some incredible talents. In my early career journey, during my holidays I used to do a stage in different Michelin star restaurants, and I felt that was the best way to learn and grow.”
Do You Remember Your First Experience With Sparkling Wine? When It Was And What Kind Of Wine It Was?
“Oh gosh yes, I do not think I can forget this day. It was an early phase of my sommelier life when I was still very new to the wine trade. I was asked to open a bottle of Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 1998, for a very special and regular guest who was celebrating their Anniversary. I was a bit nervous as the Champagne was not very chilled, but I managed to open the Champagne without a hiss. Once the bottle was opened, I poured a glass to taste. It was a liquid gold with a rich golden colour with an incredible flavour profile with fresh acidity. I didn’t want to spit the Champagne.”
What Inspired You To Become a Sommelier?
“When I was working at Martin Wishart in Edinburgh as Chef de Rang, I met a sommelier called Patrick. He was super good at his wine knowledge, every regular guest wanted to be served by this sommelier and every week I used to get a taste of different wines that were prepared for the tasting menu, and I was so amazed and curious why a Sauvignon Blanc tasted so different to a Chardonnay. I think I was just a curious, nosey and eager guy who wanted to know everything. I started taking more interest in wine and did my WSET qualifications. I was putting my name down for all the tasting trade shows I could go to. I started enjoying the whole new life of a sommelier. The more I learned about wine the more I wanted to explore it, it is such a fascinating subject. It’s almost like Mount Everest. You must keep climbing to reach the top. I genuinely feel that, as a Sommelier, you have the power to make a lasting impression on your guests. It feels so good when a guest writes to you telling you how much they have enjoyed their wine. I am still learning and growing with wine. I do not think I can ever get tired of it.”
During Your Time As A Sommelier, What’s The Most Surprising & Interesting Thing You’ve Learnt?
“I think the two most surprising and interesting things I have learned as a Sommelier:
First thing. Wine is a complex subject. No one can say they know everything about wine. Sometimes I just feel I know so little about wine.
Another thing I have learned is that every guest is different from other guests, some know a lot about wine, and some know nothing about wine. As a sommelier, we should never judge a guest if someone likes to mix red wine and coke!”
What Sparkling Wine Producing Countries or Regions Hold A Special Place In Your Heart?
“Niagara in Canada
Barossa Valley for Sparkling Shiraz ‘Black Queen’”
Where’s The Most Memorable Place You’ve Enjoyed A Glass of Bubbly?
“Fevershamarm Hotel in York in 2018, it was our first Wedding Anniversary, and we had a bottle of Bollinger.”
Thank you, Shashi, 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 Shashi Prakash. Glass of Bubbly was granted permission, to use them.
Champagne and Sparkling Wine Writer, Focused on Bringing the Exciting and Fascinating World of Bubbly to You.