To the south of Valencia lay the rice fields that have given the area its main culinary dish and international fame.
In the same area, at Picanya, the world’s best sake sommelier, Miguel Hernandez was born; which may or may not be a coincidence.
Miguel won this honour at the annual meeting in London’s Millenium Hotel in Knightsbridge 2015, where he was declared Sake Sommelier of the Year.
The Sake Sommelier Association (SSA) is an independent organisation formed to develop the understanding, education, and appreciation of Japanese sake. Founded in 2006 in London, it provides Sake Sommelier certification all over the world. The association offers sake courses for professionals in the drinks industry, as well as for those who are just interested in learning more about Japanese sake.
Miguel has worked in one of Valencia’s most prestigious restaurants, La Sucursal, and also in London at the famous Hotel Ritz.
Judge Gerard Basset said: “Having also judged the previous year’s competition I can say that this edition was even closer, it was such a difficult choice, but I am confident we made the right one. What made Miguel stand out was his incredible passion and heart. That level of enthusiasm and knowledge is something every budding Sake Sommelier should aspire to.”
SSA co-founder Kumiko Ohta added Miguel really listened to the customers’ needs and made them feel special. In addition to his Knowledge he provided super high class service in keeping with the Japanese idea of “omotenashi.”
Miguel’s prize is a trip to Japan to take the Sake Sommelier Association’s Advanced Sake Sommelier Course. The 4-day course is designed to provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see and feel authentic Japanese culture.