8th Annual StarChefs Somm Slam

8th Annual StarChefs Somm Slam


One Sommelier Will Sniff, Slurp, & Spit Their Way to Victory at the 8th Annual Somm Slam!

Uncorking some serious juice-nerdery, the Somm Slam at the 12th Annual StarChefs Congress in Brooklyn will play host to 12 of North America's most formidable somms. The selected beverage professionals will go head to head in real-time food and wine pairing challenges during two days of fierce and fun competition. And this year we have three "Repeat Offenders" returning to kick of the Slam with a sudden death challenge. To the victor goes the last slot in the 12-somm competition, and a chance at redemption! Competitors have been selected but there's still time to apply to judge (see button belwo).   

This year's competing somms are:

Daniel Beedle | Indian Accent | New York, NY
Elli Benchimol | Joe's Seafood | Washington, D.C.
Alexandra Cherniavsky | Starr Restaurants | Philadelphia, PA
Jhonel Faelnar | The NoMad | New York, NY
Dominic Fiore | Bar Marco | Pittsburgh, PA
Brian Grandison | Hakkasan | Miami Beach, FL
Theo Lieberman | La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels | New York, NY
Josh Lit | The Modern/Union Square Hospitality Group | New York, NY
Ferdinando Mucerino | Rustic Canyon | Santa Monica, CA
Peter Nelson | Puritan & Co. | Cambridge, MA
Chase Sinzer | Wine Consultant, formerly of Momofuku Ko | Brooklyn, NY

Competition Alternates:
Mani Gonzalez
 | City Winery | Atlanta, GA
Hemant Kala | Hakkasan | New York, NY

"Repeat Offenders" Sudden Death Challenge Contestants:
Ludo Anacleto | Grand Cru, Wine Restaurant | Monterrey, Mexico 
Dean Fuerth | Formerly of Betony | New York, NY
Max Kuller | Fat Baby Inc. | Washington, D.C.

Guest Chefs:
Carlo Lamagna |
Magna | Portland, OR
Pierre Thiam | Pierre Thiam Catering | New York, NY

America’s top sommeliers—12 competitors, 50 industry judges, and the one and only Fred Dexheimer, MS as emcee.
A competition that showcases what somms do best: pair food and wine (with some blind tasting and theory thrown in for good measure).
October 23 and 24, 2017
StarChefs 12th Annual International Chefs Congress at the Brooklyn Expo Center in Greenpoint, Brooklyn
Lots of sommaraderie! And the tesion and narrative of friendly cutthroat competition. Plus surprising, super tasty food and, of course, waterfall of wine (btg). Last year’s winner, Ryan Arnold of Lettuce Entertain You, walked away with trips to Chile, Italy, and France, a Magnum of Premier Cru Château Haut-Brion, passes to this year’s ICC with a reserved spot as a Somm Slam judge, and bragging rights for a full year. This year's grand prize includes a trip to Chile, and the top scoring female competitor will also be sent to Chile. Other prizes will be announced later this summer.... Deadline to apply to be a judge, August 21.
DAY 1: Corkscrews sharpened, Day 1 kicks off with the new "Repeat Offenders" sudden death pairing challenge, with somms who have competed in past Slams but fell short of winning the whole sha-bang. The winning somm will join the 11 other competitors, answering rapid-fire theory questions. After showing off their nerdiest wine knowledge, competitors split into two groups, where Chef Carlo Lamagna of Magna will present a Filipino dish designed to flummox the pairing skills of each group. Then the race is on to the wine cellar to select your best pairing and return to the audience of judges to sell, sell, sell. The six somms who display the most poise and knowledge in defending their pairing move on to Day 2.
DAY 2: Getting cut-throat quickly, a blind tasting immediately eliminates one competitor. The remaining five somms are then grilled on esoteric wine trivia, with only the top four moving on, plunging into two more rounds of pairings with Senegalese dishes from Pierre Thiam of Pierre Thiam Catering. The somm with the biggest (wine-soaked) brain, best palate, and that little extra soigné, wins the day, saboring the 8th Annual Somm Slam title.
Somm Slam Official Terms & Conditions

The Somm Slam is open to wine professionals including sommeliers and beverage directors. Applicants submitted an online application to be considered. Selection is determined by StarChefs and is based on work experience, pairing philosophy, and examples of specific wine pairings. Those chosen to judge receive a complimentary pass to all three days of the 11th Annual StarChefs International Chefs Congress ($550 value). Each judge and competitor are responsible for any and all travel and lodging expenses.

12 competitors will compete on Day 1. The top 6 competitors from Day 1 will advance to Day 2. Judges will be responsible for tasting a sample of the dish and wine pairings chosen by each contestant. Judges will list their feedback on a ballot provided by StarChefs, and cast their votes for the most successful pairing.