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Fifth Contest of the Best Sommelier of Mauritius

De Lores Malin finally rewarded

 De Lores Malin, Jeff Thomé, Vikram Sundhoo, Jorald Julie et Pascaline Chettiar.

If it were necessary to prove that sommellerie occupies a special place in Mauritius, the presence of the Minister of Tourism and three hundred spectators to attend the final is in itself sufficient. Ten years after the creation of the Association of Sommeliers of Mauritius (ASIM) by Jérôme Faure and some other expatriates, the country is training and revealing wine professionals who are not lacking talent. And as is the case in nearly all member countries of Association de la Sommellerie Internationale, the job is feminizing and national competitions have female candidates who have their name on the list of winners.

In Mauritius, this was the case in 2010, as from the first edition of the event with the victory of Pascaline Chettiar. And this trend was confirmed in August 2019 during the fifth competition with a perfect parity in the semifinal with Laura Rughoonauth (Koté wines & spirits), Shani Ramasawmy (Bacchanale Mauritius) and De Lores Malin (Constance Belle Mare Beach) facing Jaisen Pandoo (Constance Prince Maurice), Sivent Thondoo (The Pirogue Hotel) and Noël-Jean Desvaux (Heritage Le Telfair). The six survivors of a first selection organized a little earlier marked by the presence of 25 candidates all Mauritians. Because in this country of the Indian Ocean where tourism has generated the development of a luxury hotel offer, the competition is not open to foreigners. “For us, this is the best way to promote the development of our profession among the Mauritian staff, with a particular emphasis on training, both in the companies and within our association, and making the title a strong element of recognition,” says Jérôme Faure. A president himself rewarded by the good results of his representatives in the ASI contest of the Best Sommelier of the World, Jorald Julie in 2016 and Jeff Thomé in 2019.

Self-confidence and control

Thus six semifinalists and in front of them a series of tests imagined and coordinated by Antoine Woerlé, one of the pillars of the Union of French Sommellerie competitions, supported by David Biraud who brings his experience since the very first edition. Theory and practice that helped establish a hierarchy and designate the finalists. De Lores Malin and Noël-Jean Desvaux, already present at this level in 2016, were accompanied by Shani Ramasawmy, the youngest of the event who followed her training in Paris at Le Cordon Bleu school.

In the prestigious setting of the cultural center Caudan built in the heart of Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius, and in front of a large audience, the last three applicants for the title had to pair food and wine while ensuring the decanting and service of a white wine before talking about vineyards and wine tourism over a bottle from Italy. A selection, advice and argumentation with a pastry chef over a dessert and three natural sweet wines made it possible to gauge the management skills of each candidate. Eight drinks to identify and an original exercise in front of eight flasks of aromas to be recognized were the individuel part of this final.

A last workshop became a classic of each competition brought together the three candidates. A magnum of champagne, the Clara Morgane cuvée of the Charles de Cazanove house, the obligation to determine the number of glasses needed to fill them equally to the level requested and to empty the bottle completely. An event that De Lores Malin finished first with the assurance that was hers throughout this final. Enough to ensure a victory obvious to everyone, especially her son, the first of her supporters ... Shani Ramasawmy took the second place in front of Noël-Jean Desvaux.

Text and photos Jean Bernard



The will to succeed

Candidate since 2010 at the creation of the competition, De Lores Malin has followed an original course marked by the desire to succeed. Because in her first professional life nothing dedicated this sparkling Mauritian to make a name in the world of sommellerie. “In fact, I started in the textile sector, a very developed sector on the island. But after 14 years, I decided to change my job and move towards the hotel industry. As I had no experience, I joined the Constance Academy to acquire the first concepts.” Though she started at Constance Belle Mare Plage in the accommodation part, she quickly evolved towards the service, the bar first then the restaurant with the sommellerie specialty by taking advantage of the various courses offered by the Mauritian hotel group.

De Lores Malin et le trophée qui symbolise le titre de Meilleur sommelier de Maurice.

This temperament and thirst for learning have been noticed by executives and especially Jerome Faure who has given her the virus of competitions. “In 2010 I did not pass the first selection but I considered it an experience, a preparation for the next competition.” In the next two editions, in 2012 and 2014, De Lores Malin advanced to the semi-finals before getting closer to the summit in 2016 with finally a place in the last trio. “I finished at the third place but that participation really helped me understand how to handle stress and express myself in public. It could be felt this year even if during the first two minutes I had a little trouble to free myself. But very quickly I told myself that it was not necessary to calculate and I took a lot of pleasure to live the different workshops ...”
She does not intend to stop there. The sommelier would like to continue accumulating knowledge in order to hope one day to represent her country during an international contest. The help of Jorald Julie, Constance Group executive, would then be decisive.