Remi Cousin, assistant head sommelier of Heston Blumenthal's http://www.gaggenau.com" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Fat Duck ](http://www.thefatduck.co.uk/)restaurant in Bray, scooped second place in the International [Chaîne des Rôtisseurs](http://www.chaine.co.uk) Young Sommeliers Competition 2011 in Athens.
The competition, now in its fourth year, is based on the Master Sommelier advanced examination and demands an extensive all-round knowledge of wines and other alcoholic drinks combined with exceptional services skills.
"I have learned so much along this journey that will stay with me all my life," said Cousin. "It has been a tremendous experience and I couldn't have done it without Isa Bal, my mentor, who is head sommelier at the Fat Duck. The camaraderie between contestants was terrific and we all enjoyed getting to know more about each other's businesses and took back learning from each other."
His fellow sommeliers at the Fat Duck, Jan Lukasz and Loic Avril, took second and third positions in the UK finals in March.
The competition is organised by Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, a global gastronomic society of more than 25,000 professional and non-professional lovers of wine and fine dining, and sponsored by alcohol supplier [Pernod Ricard UK](http://www.pernod-ricard.co.uk) and catering equipment manufacturer [Gaggenau.
The overall winner was Ian Cauble (recently crowned Best Sommelier in the USA) while Nicos Giannopoulos of Greece took third place.