On June 17, 2011, the daytime and evening Sommelier classes at the French Culinary Institute (FCI) in Campbell, California, sat for the Certified Sommelier exam, as delivered by the Court of Master Sommeliers – along with other “self-taught” and expectant Certified Sommelier candidates – and (according to joltleft.com sources) for one of the first times in the over 5 year history of the daytime class, 100% of that class passed! This is a stunning achievement.
FCI Certified Sommeliers have a proven advantage
This remarkable FCI graduate achievement is even more notable given that the pass/fail rate — again, according to joltleft.com sources — has often been quoted at an average of 60/40. One person who sat for the exam in late 2010 and who did not pass said, “I’ve taken and passed the bar exams in both New York and California. This Certified Sommelier examination is by far the most difficult exam I have ever encountered!”
Without going into detail – the Certified Sommelier Examination (the second level – out of four levels – of Sommelier status) – is given in a series of processes including blind tasting, wine theory, and wine service – and is administered around the country by a very highly qualified panel of Master Sommeliers.
The depth of knowledge, both in wine theory and practice is detailed and specific
Sommeliers (particularly Certified, Advanced, and Master Sommeliers) are in the forefront of wine and beverage service in many of the top restaurants of the world. Michelin Stars can be in the balance given the expertise of the Sommelier, the wine list developed at their direction, and the wine and beverage pairings with the specialties of the restaurant – among many other factors.
The Certification process is challenging and rewarding
With all of the pressures that can weigh on a fine dining establishment, it is essential that the Sommelier be gracious, knowledgeable, humble, and inspired. The Sommelier can be the first person greeting guests, and the last person to wish them, “Good evening.”
Join the next evening Certified Sommelier class at the International Culinary Institute of California, home of the French Culinary Institute, that begins July 26, 2011. Enrolment is limited. Click here for more information, application forms, and contacts.
By Jerry Starr,
Certified Sommelier and Sommelier Examiner
Santa Cruz Wine Examiner
West Coast Wine Examiner
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