Reeze Choi: "I'm so excited about the competition"

Reeze Choi (photo: ASI/Jean Bernard)
Andreas Grube
Published 02-November-2022
Interview / Hong Kong

Next week, Nov. 7-9, the ASI Best Sommelier of Asia and Oceania contest will be held in Tokyo, Japan. Star Wine List's Hong Kong ambassador Reeze Choi is one of the competing sommeliers.

Editor's note: After this interview, Reeze Choi tested positive in a pcr test just before leaving for Japan and sadly cannot go to the event. We keep the article published to show the preparations involved and wish Reeze a speedy recovery and many great competitions and events in the future. /Krister Bengtsson, publisher

"I am so excited about the competition! All these pandemic years, I have been trapped in Hong Kong. It is a great opportunity to see some old friends and compete with all the great sommeliers from all over Asia and Oceania," he says.

"Surprisingly, I am not so nervous. Maybe it is because I have switched to competition mode since the local competition and the grand selection for the Asia and Oceania Competition. All these happened in just about two months. I think I am getting used to dealing with my nerves."

Reeze Choi is an experienced competitor and a well-recognized sommelier in Hong Kong and has worked in some of Hong Kong's most prestigious restaurants and hotels, like L'atelier de Joël Robuchon and Mandarin Oriental Hotel. He was also named Best Sommelier in Greater China in 2016 and 2017.

Apart from being a Star Wine List ambassador, Reeze works full-time with his own education and consulting company Somm's Philosophy.

(Photo: ASI/Jean Bernard)

Do you feel prepared for the upcoming competition?
"I can never say I am fully prepared, but I have done my best."

Any specific things you've been working with when training?
"I have been doing practical, theory, and blind-tasting training with some food and beverage professionals in Hong Kong. One thing I do differently this time is my lifestyle. I reckoned that I should have a balanced schedule to have the best conditions for preparation. So besides about eight hours of study every day, I spare some time for workout, and I go to bed early."

What are your thoughts about your competitors?
"They are all strong candidates. It is an honour to compete with them."

How does it feel to – finally – be able to go back to Tokyo again?
"I can't wait to revisit Japan after these years of lockdown! I will stay after the competition and travel around the country for two weeks."

Since I was selected for the Asia and Oceania competition, I have received a lot of help from the food and beverage community in Hong Kong

What else have you been working on lately?
"I've mostly been focusing on the competition. But I have negotiated and scheduled several educational, branding, and ambassadorship events that will happen next year. Also, my company is exploring collaborations overseas. So, from time to time, I've been working on planning and organization."

Anything you want to add?
"Since I was selected for the Asia and Oceania competition, I have received a lot of help from the food and beverage community in Hong Kong. I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to Henry Chang, Arnaud Bardary MS, Jennifer Docherty MW, Davy Leung, Taka Tam, Northeast Wine and Spirit Limited, and DECO Wines for offering me different training sessions."

"And I want to thank China Club, L'atelier de Joel Robuchon, Summergate Fine Wine, Watson's Wine, and Club Qing for sponsoring their venues for my training. I feel lucky I am not alone in this competition journey."

The finals in Best Sommelier of Asia and Ocenia 2022 will be held on Nov. 9.

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