How I got here

10 June 2004
How I got here

Italian-born Alessandro Bonuzzi, 23, has little doubt what's required to be a great sommelier. "Without passion you won't go anywhere. You need to love food, wine, the restaurant environment," he says.

It's this commitment and enthusiasm that has seen him rise through the ranks at the restaurant he joined full-time as a waiter in 2001. Having shown a strong interest in wine, restaurant manager Franck Hardy helped him develop his interest and later gave him the opportunity to take charge of wine at the restaurant following the departure of the head sommelier. Although nervous, Bonuzzi seized the opportunity, having come to London from Verona to test himself in a competitive job market.

"When an opportunity such as this presents itself, you can either leave it alone or try to shine, working as hard as you can to make it happen." Bonuzzi says he finds it highly satisfying to help diners match wines with their meals, suggesting combinations that may not have occurred to them.

Designing a restaurant's wine menu is a question of assessing the types of dishes on offer and taking into account any international influences and the spices used. At One-O-One he will sit down with the chef and restaurant manager to find the best matches, which, as it offers many fish dishes, typically involves a notable number of white wines. "It is very much a team effort, and it is good to take advice, because the end result will be better," suggests Bonuzzi.

As part of his job, he researches each wine and its producer on the menu, writing in-depth tasting notes to better brief the restaurant's waiting staff about what exactly is on offer. He has also begun hosting Cook and Eat tasting evenings on the last Wednesday of each month, which are proving hugely popular with the public.

Bonuzzi says that choosing a theme for a Cook and Eat session based on a country or region's speciality engages the customers and increases his exposure and knowledge of the area, adding to his growing expertise as a sommelier - not bad for a man who had a mere two years' full-time banqueting experience under his belt before coming to London.

Career highlights
Joins team at One-O-One as full-time waiter
October 2002
Becomes assistant sommelier
October 2003
Promoted to sommelier

The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.


Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking