From winning titles; Best Sommelier of the World (Gérard Basset, Class of 2009), Sake Sommelier of the Year (Joshua Kalinan, Class of 2011) to drinks purchasing for the Jason Atherton group (Laure Patry, Class of 2009) and judging international competitions (Christine Parkinson, Class of 2010) becoming a Sake Sommelier opens the door to many new opportunities and experiences. Some leave so inspired they go on to create their own sake-related companies such as Maximilian Fritzsch CEO of Tokuri, Germany (Class of 2013) and Oliver Hilton-Johnson founder of Tengu Sake (Class of 2011).
The first social network specifically for Sake Sommeliers, MySake aims to connect sake professionals and enthusiats across the world - providing an unparalleled network of sake lovers!
Recognised as one of the world’s leading non-Japanese sake experts, Xavier has built an encyclopaedic knowledge of Japanese sake through his experience in both retail & fine restaurant consultancy. By learning first-hand from brewery professionals, his appreciation and passion for sake spread into teaching, driven by an ambition to pass his knowledge to others. With this goal in mind, he co-founded the Sake Sommelier Association. His efforts were noticed by distinguished drinks magazine Imbibe in 2013, when he was nominated for “Educator of the Year”. His contribution for bringing sake to the sommelier world has also been featured in the press many times, for publications such as: The Times, The Guardian, The Evening Standard, Asahi TV, BBC Radio 4, Channel 4 TV and more.
Kumiko grew up in Japan surrounded by rice fields and sake-brewing culture. A thirst to learn more drove her to visiting breweries as soon as she could, and lead to a life-long passion with sake. This culminated in her becoming an Authorised Sake Lecturer, obtaining the Higher Certificate in Sake Education. After relocating to the UK, Kumiko has tirelessly championed sake. A co-founder of the Sake Sommelier Association, her efforts where recognised by Nikkei in 2008 when she received the prestigious “Woman of the Year” award. Since then she has redoubled her efforts, constantly looking for new ways to showcase and promote sake.