The Master Sommelier diploma is the highest distinction a professional can attain in fine wine and beverage service. Testing is focused on the areas needed for superior beverage department management, which include Tasting, Theory, Practical and Dining Room Application, and also encompasses spirits, beers, cigars as well as global wine knowledge. Very few people achieve the Master Sommelier distinction. In fact, only 230 people world wide have successfully passed the course to date. One of those few people is UK based Kathrine Larson.
In 2013, Kathrine won the UK Young Sommelier of the Year. Later that year, Kathrine was admitted to the Court of Master Sommeliers, having also been awarded the Grand Siècle award for the highest exam results of her year.
The following article was published in The Drinks Business, featuring London's top female sommeliers, including Kathrine Larsen.
London's Top Female Sommeliers
By Lauren Eades
One woman who has achieved the notoriously difficult Master Sommelier qualification is Kathrine Larsen, who last year swapped the restaurant floor for the sales floor, becoming an account manager for UK wine wholesaler Enotria.
“I had a feeling that I would have to be off the floor if I wanted to expand my perspective and develop myself, which included getting to know the market from a different angle – and I’d be lying if I didn’t say the hours were more flexible,” says Larsen of the move. While no longer on the restaurant floor, Larsen feels negative reactions to female sommeliers are becoming “less frequent”, but that there is still an expectation that a sommelier should be male, middle-aged and have a southern European accent.
“London and New York are two of the most modern and open-minded cities in the world, and the idea of a female sommelier is more welcome and respected there”, she says, but concedes that in most people’s minds wine is still a male domain. “It has changed a lot over the past decade and is improving by the day. The best way to change people’s view is to expose the public to more female sommeliers,” she says. While as many women as men are now taking the top spots in the industry, there is a greater imbalance further down the hierarchy, which is still dominated by men. “We’re getting closer to equality. I think more women will continue to enter the industry and when younger women hear about their success, they’ll be encouraged to want to work in wine,” she says.
To read the full article, head to http://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2015/09/women-in-wine-londons-top-female-sommeliers/5/