Interview With A Sommelier – Yehuda Natan
13th October 2023
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 Yehuda Natan, and let’s find out a bit about his life as a Sommelier.
Tell Us About Yourself
“My name is Yehuda Natan and at the moment I work at Hakkasan Dubai as a Sommelier. Yep, even I still do not believe that an Indonesian can work in a Michelin Starred Restaurant as a Sommelier since wine is literally far away from our culture. But one thing that I believe is once you are passionate about it and dedicating yourself to it, I am pretty sure even mountains can be moved.”
What Inspired You To Become A Sommelier?
“8 years ago when I was 18 years old I worked in an Australian steak house. So basically I love anything about history and I asked about the wine story to my Sommelier. I still remember it was Chateau Margaux that I asked about (since I was so curious as to why it was so expensive) so my Sommelier explained the story and relationship with Napoleon Bonaparte who was one of my favourite people as well. I then asked again about another wine and again and again until I did not realize that I already asked about a lot of wines. So from that time, I felt completely passionate about becoming a Sommelier especially that feeling when you recommend the wine, tell the story, the guest sipped it for checking, and like it with a big smile on their face makes me fall in love more with this role.”
During Your Time As A Sommelier, What’s The Most Surprising Thing You’ve Learnt?
“I learned many things as a Sommelier in terms of knowledge however one fact that surprised me that I learned is no matter how great the wine or how expensive it is if the guests are not happy, the wine will not taste good and you will only lose them which then loses business. So not only are you selling the wines, but as a Sommelier, you have to build a good ambiance with the guests and the sales will come after.”
How Often Do You Find Yourself Recommending English Sparkling Wine?
“It is true that Champagne has always been the top tier for sparkling wine for a long time. But nowadays with global warming, it has made some places in southern England become a perfect place to grow grapes that are able to produce a decent sparkling wine at an affordable price. And I always look at opportunities to recommend the bottle for the guests with a limited budget, but still want some proper sparkling for their occasion besides classic selections such as Prosecco or Cava.”
In Your Professional Opinion, Out Of Champagne And Prosecco, Which Do You Think Does A Better Job With Complementing A Meal?
“I think that preferences are always there if we talk about the wine. So both of them are great for their drinker. Personally, since I work at a Chinese restaurant with a lot of spiciness with every dish and mixed type of meat, fish and seafood, Prosecco sounds more delicate due to its freshness with green fruits such as green apple and pear with citrusy notes to cleanse and balance the palate.
You can also try some sparkling like Sekt that has a similar character to Prosecco and is slightly sweeter which is perfect for spicy Asian dishes.”
What Advice Would You Give Inspiring Sommeliers?
“Be sincere, keep studying and be consistent. Being sincere to all guests is not about making the highest sales in one night and then we never see them again. But, to make the guest connected with us and after 100% sure the sales will follow. Keep studying because that is the ‘bone’ of a Sommelier and never stop. Consistently do these 2 points and you will see the result.”
If You Sat Down For A Quiet Dinner, What Dish And Sparkling Wine Would You Choose To Enjoy Together?
“I will choose Chicken Satay with Champagne. Satay sauce is a nut-based sauce that complements perfectly with well-developed nutty, toast, and brioche flavors from Champagne. The creaminess of the sauce can be refreshed with the freshness of the bubbles and its acidity. So voila Indonesian dish meets the elegance of Champagne. And this is the time when the East meets the West. Cheers!”
Thank you, Yehuda, 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 Yehuda Natan. 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.