Kandylis emerged victorious at the final, which took place yesterday May 16). Mash’s Jess Kildetoft came second, with Coq d’Argent’s Olivier Marie third.
The 12 hopefuls competed in a range of tests designed to challenge their skills, palate and ability to work under pressure - from blind tastings of both wines and spirits, to spotting errors on a wine list and the famous pour from a Magnum of Moët & Chandon Impérial NV.
Gerard Basset OBE, MW, MS chaired the panel of judges, which comprised previous winners including Xavier Rousset MS, Nicolas Clerc, Eric Zwiebel and 2015 champion Tanguy Martin.
Kandylis (pictured with Basset) said: “I wouldn’t have imagined something like this when I came to the UK six years ago. I would like to thank my friends and team because without them I wouldn’t be here. It has been a great learning process.”
This is the fifth year that the competition has partnered with Champagne Moët & Chandon. In addition to being awarded with an engraved, gold plated jeroboam of Moët & Chandon Impérial, Kandylis wins a ‘money-can’t-buy’ mentoring programme organised by Moët & Chandon, the Academy of Food & Wine Service and The Caterer magazine.
In April, Kandylis and his fellow finalists also visited the Moët & Chandon house and vineyards to learn more about the Champagne region and Moët wines.
Moët Hennessy UK marketing & communication director Julie Nollet, said: “It is very clear that the UK has some of the highest standards of sommellerie of anywhere in the world, and we are very proud to be have been able to help this happen.”
The Moët UK Sommelier of the Year competition has been organised by the AFWS since 1980, and is recognised internationally by the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (ASI).
The other 2016 finalists were:
Ø Ladislav Basta, head sommelier, The Kitchin
Ø Tamas Czinki, head sommelier, Northcote Restaurant
Ø Christopher Parker, assistant head sommelier, Lime Wood
Ø Serdar Balkaya, head sommelier, Royal Automobile Club
Ø Mathias Camilleri, head sommelier, The Five Fields restaurant
Ø Remi Fischer, head sommelier, Old Course hotel
Ø Petri Pentikainen, sommelier & assistant restaurant manager, The Three Chimneys restaurant
Ø Neils Suliman, assistant chef/sommelier, Restaurant Sat Bains