Mariya Kovacheva and Elizabeth Dowty Advance from Top|Somm and TopNewSomm Southeast Regional Finals
March 23, 2012
Mariya Kovacheva of Café Boulud and Elizabeth Dowty of Vino Wholesale Advance from Top|Somm and TopNewSomm Southeast Regional Finals
The Guild of Sommeliers is pleased to announce the Southeast regional finalists in the national Top|Somm and TopNewSomm competitions. Monday’s event, sponsored by Robert Mondavi Winery and Southern Wine & Spirits and held in South Florida, included some of the most talented sommeliers in the region. After a day of written, service and tasting exams, the two area winners were Mariya Kovacheva of Café Boulud in Palm Beach, FL, who took home the regional Top|Somm prize, and Elizabeth Dowty of New Orleans’ Vino Wholesale, who was named the area’s TopNewSomm. Both Mariya and Elizabeth will advance to the championship rounds of each competition to be held May 6 in San Francisco.
Left: Southeast Top|Somm 2nd place Eric Crane (left), 1st Mariya Kovacheva (middle), 3rd Trey Christy.
Right: Southeast TopNewSomm winner Elizabeth Dowty (left) with Master Sommelier Eric Hemer.
Top|Somm and TopNewSomm competitions are administered by the Guild of Sommeliers. The competitions include a written theory exam, service exam and blind tasting. Top|Somm is open to wine service professionals of all ages, while TopNewSomm is open to those 21-29 years old.
As Master Frederick Dame, President of the Guild of Sommeliers said, “This unique opportunity to hone your skills against the best of your peers reflects the high standards of training and mentorship necessary for success. I continue to be impressed,” he asserted, “with the high quality of competition and the diligence of the candidates in their preparation.”
In May’s final round of competition, the Southeast regional winners Mariya and Elizabeth will join sommelier finalists from the West (Emily Papach of The Farmhouse Inn in Forestville, CA, and Roland Micu of Coi Restaurant in San Francisco), Northeast (Christopher Bates of Hotel Fauchere in Milford, PA, and Charles Puglia of Jean Georges Restaurant in New York City), Midwest (Michael Descamps of Detroit’s Saltwater and Bourbon Steak as well as Andrey Ivanov of 33 Wine Shop and Tasting Bar in St. Louis, MO) and Central regions (winners will be determined in an area competition on April 2). These ten finalists are considered to be among the country’s most talented wine professionals, competing for the Robert Mondavi Trophy (Top|Somm) and the Southern Wine & Spirits Trophy (TopNewSomm).
“Having competed for the second year in a row, I am amazed by the level of difficulty, creativity and professionalism behind TopISomm and TopNewSomm,” said Mariya Kovacheva, head sommelier at Café Boulud in Palm Beach, FL, who also competed last year in Top|Somm. “Through my participation, I have been privileged to work with great sommeliers that continue to set the standards for our industry higher and higher.”
Elizabeth Dowty, who works in sales and portfolio development at Vino Wholesale in New Orleans, also commented on the Guild of Sommelier competitions’ ability to provide “an invaluable opportunity to prepare for the CMS examinations and connect with other amazing professionals in the sommelier community.”
The complete line-up of 2012 TOP|SOMM Northeast Region Finalists included:
Mariya Kovacheva of Cafe Boulud inPalm Beach, FL;
Trey Christy of Spire Collection in Tampa, FL;
Eric Crane of Empire Distributors, Inc. in GA;
Christopher Lindemann of DB Bistro Moderne in Miami, FL;
Inez Ribustello of Wine & Dining, Inc. in Tarboro, NC;?
Bradley Ball of Social Restaurant in Charleston, SC;
Ryan Brazell of Table Restaurant in Asheville, NC.
The complete line-up of 2012 TopNewSomm Northeast Region Finalists included:
Caleb Ganzer of DB Bistro Moderne in Miami, FL;
Elizabeth Dowty of Vino Wholesale in New Orleans, LA;
Dan Cotting of The Country Vintner in Charlottesville, VA;
Jane Lopes of The Catbird Seat Restaurant in Nashville, TN.