Jan Konetzki, Head Sommelier at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay was born in Germany, where he trained as a baker, waiter and bartender before discovering his love for fine wine. He began his career in Michelin starred restaurants in his native country before moving to Switzerland and Greece. In 2009, he joined Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in London. In this interview he tells us more.
Congratulations on being featured in the World of Fine Wine Awards 2015. The awards, chaired by WOFW editor Neil Beckett, celebrate the importance of a good wine selection and are evaluated by a panel of senior judges. How does it feel to be recognized by industry insiders in this way?
Jan Konetzki: We feel extremely proud and happy that the work and love we have invested in our wine program is being recognized by such an esteemed circle of professionals.
What initially sparked your love for food and wine?
JK: Some of my early favorites included turbot, beurre noisette, White Burgundy or Vin Jaune and a lot of old Comté.
What is the secret to your success?
JK: Paying attention to my instincts. I find it to be very important especially when deciding whether or not a risk is worth taking.
What food and wine trends are you seeing in London right now?
JK: Food is becoming a lot less complicated, and there is an increasingly stronger focus on good produce rather than fancy techniques. Wines from small and artisanal producers are still on the rise, and we can see a wider variety of alternatives on the by-the-glass offerings.
What would you predict for the next 5-10 years in the food and wine industry?
JK: There will be more diversity in styles of restaurants, bars, and everything in between. Competition will be tougher, which, in turn, will lead to improved concepts.
What do you think is the most important element of a good wine list?
JK: Transparency and right offerings for your guests. Offer the unknown to explorers, supply approved classics to traditionalists, have bargains to be hunted and offer possibilities to indulge for the ones in the mood for it.
What is your fundamental philosophy on fine wine?
JK: Trends may come and go, but as fine wine reveals itself, it creates loyal followers.
Are there any particular wines that you love, or remind you of a certain place or memory?
JK: A small, award- winning Tuscan wine I blind-tasted a couple of years ago. It reminded me that context is key to everything.
What is next for you?
JK: Tomorrow's lunch and dinner service. We have to prove it all over again to each of our guests.