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Wine World Event: Somms in the Kitchen

The word is out! Have you heard about the “great” cook-off that’s setting the Las Vegas wine world on fire? It’s called Somms in the Kitchen. Somms in the Kitchen is a private, invitation-only event where sommeliers compete against one another for the top spot in the kitchen. That’s right; Somms in the Kitchen is all about sommeliers showing off their cooking and wine pairing skills.

Typical Format

First, the theme and the basic criteria are set. Next, the competing sommeliers are selected. Up to three sommeliers are chosen to compete. The competing sommeliers have to volunteer, of course; these sommeliers compete for personal glory and do not represent their establishment. Once the candidates have been selected, the location (usually a private residence) is selected next. During the contest, the competing sommeliers may be required to prepare as many as three dishes. Most of the cooking must be done on-site. The sommeliers must not only cook the best dishes; more importantly, they must pair their dishes with the right wines. The “best somm in the kitchen” is chosen by a panel of three judges who can be chefs, sommeliers and/or food critics. Typically, the judges select the winner based on food presentation, originality, taste, and wine pairing.

A Toast-Worthy Experience

Let me tell you. There really is nothing better than when gourmands get together and show off their hidden culinary skills, share their favorite dishes and pair them with the perfect wines. If you get lucky enough to get invited to “Somms in the Kitchen,” don’t forget to bring the required bottle of wine. And it had better be decent wine! When you have twenty plus sommeliers in the house – sommeliers, I might add, who work in some of the most prestigious restaurants in the country – the last question you want to hear anyone asking about your wine contribution is, “Who brought this bum wine?”