Sake Sommelier of the Year 2019

Sake Sommelier of the Year 2019

With sake gaining popularity and acclaim in restaurants and bars worldwide, there is an increased demand for sake sommeliers. The establishment of the Sake Sommelier Association (SSA) in 2000 has helped produce over 1,000 Certified Sake Sommeliers through their sake education and certification programs.

Based in London, the organisation is the first of its kind ever established outside of Japan. It also organises a competition to find the most skilful sake sommeliers, who will establish their professional profile along with the establishments they work for through the recognition accorded by the competition.

The Sake Sommelier of the Year competition has always been held in London, but for the first time this year is moving to other host nations, starting with Kuala Lumpur in 2019. Contestants and judges will be coming from all over world including the United Kingdom, United States, India, Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore. The competition venue is none other than The Sake Place in Plaza Arkadia, a restaurant that specialises in the service of sake and which houses a sake museum. Founder Danny Leong himself is one of the first eight Master Sake Sommeliers in the world. 

During the rigorous one-day competition on 25th October, contestants will have to go through a written examination, blind tasting, food pairing and sake service. The winner will be announced during an award dinner that will take place in the Japanese Ambassador’s residence on the same evening.

Consumers and trade will get to meet the eight contestants, as well as representatives from sake breweries in Japan the next day at the Sake Open House at The Sake Place on 26th October from 11am to 4pm. The sake professionals will share their knowledge and are open to questions during the event, along with tasting of over 30 types of sakes exhibited that day. Entry is RM80 and can be purchased at the door or contact The Sake Place.

Sake Open House
: 26th October 2019
Time: 11am – 4pm


Matthew Chan Zixing (Singapore) - Beverage Director at Nouri Restaurant in Singapore
Sebastian Chen Fun Zhong (Malaysia) - Wine & Saké Consultant for Private Clients
Cindy Wong Xin Yi (Malaysia) - Cabin Crew with Singapore Airlines 
Sourav Dutta (India) - Junior Sommelier & Scope Beverage Manager with Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Jumeira, Dubai
Simone Maynard (Australia) - Saké Promoter & Educator for Saké Mistress
Deepak Elangovan (India) - Beverage Manager for Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi
Brett Goss (Hong Kong) - Associate at Saké Central Hong Kong & Key Account Manager for Sunday’s Distribution, Hong Kong
Harald S. deRopp Jr. (United States of America) - Associate Partner for EY Advisory & Consulting Co. Ltd.


Kumiko Ohta – Co Founder of Saké Sommelier Association UK
Xavier Chapelou – Co Founder of Saké Sommelier Association UK
Danny Leong – Master Saké Sommelier (SSA) & Organiser of the Saké Sommelier of the Year 2019 Competition
Thomas Ling – Saké Educator & Principal of Entwine Consultancy
Joshua Kalinan – Master Saké Sommelier (SSA) & Saké Sommelier of the Year 2018/19


Winner Saké Sommelier of the Year 2019/2020
All Expenses paid trip to 3 Shiga Prefecture Breweries – Fukui Yahei Shoten, Namino Oto Shuzo and Kita Shuzo

Sake Sommelier Association Founder's Prize (1st runner up)
Paid Airfare only trip to visit Ikeda City and 2 Nagano Sake Breweries – Daisekkei Saké Brewing Co. Ltd. And Fukugen Brewery Co. Ltd.

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