A French woman has been appointed as sommelier at a top West End restaurant – making her Glasgow’s only female wine expert in the role.
Severine Sloboda is a Parisienne who trained with the top names in Paris and London.
Her appointment at The Gannet on Argyle Street will see her hosting the restaurant’s new series of wine dinners.
Only two other restaurants in the city employ the position. It the first time the Finnieston restaurant has taken on a sommelier.
Severine is working closely with chef-patrons Ivan Stein and Peter McKenna to match food with wine, which is supplied by Alexander Wines of Glasgow.
Latterly Severine was with upscale eateries Corrigan’s Mayfair, and Buddha-Bar in Knightsbridge before coming to Glasgow.
Yet she found it difficult to find a professional sommelier job when she first arrived, because so few restaurants have one – an embarrassment, surely, for the city which prides itself as having one of the most progressive independent restaurant scenes in the UK (though it doesn’t have a Michelin Star).
“I was surprised to find the wine scene in Glasgow is not quite there yet,” she said.
“It is incomprehensible to me that people are so keen to develop their palates with ever more sophisticated dishes, yet they don’t have anyone to properly explain the subtleties of the wine they are drinking with it.”
She reckons this is already changing. “I do notice that more of our diners are very keen on world wines, and want to learn more.
“I am sure Glasgow is keen to drink better.”
Her mother has run the Nicolas wine shop in Paris’s upmarket 7th arrondissement since her daughter was 10 years old, giving her an early education.
Severine went on to train at the Institut du Vin du Savour Club under Georges Lepre, head sommelier at the Ritz.
In 2008 she became head sommelier at Angelus in Marble Arch, London, founded by chef-patron Thierry Tomasin, himself former head sommelier at Le Gavroche.
Asked whether her appointment was a move to encourage the Michelin Guide inspectors to give The Gannet a star (it already has a Bib Gourmand), Peter, who co-founded The Gannet with fellow chef Ivan in 2013, replied:
“That is not anything that enters our psyche.
“We simply wanted to give customers a rounded experience.
“Having a professional sommelier has set us apart, and the feedback has been really phenomenal.
“We introduced our wine dinner series with Severine because our diners are as passionate about wine as they are about food.”
For details of The Gannet’s monthly wine dinner series, visit thegannetgla.com or ring 0141-204 2081.
* You can read the full story on Cate’s blog here