8th Annual StarChefs Somm Slam

8th Annual StarChefs Somm Slam


Congratulations to Brian Grandison of Hakkasan Miami Beach for his first-place finish in the 8th Annual Somm Slam!

Led by Master Sommelier Fred Dexheimer, 12 of the best beverage professionals from across the country competed for the title—all in the grape-soaked swirl of the 12th Annual StarChefs International Chefs Congress. 

2017 Competing Sommeliers
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

Mani Gonzalez | City Winery | Atlanta, GA
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
Competition Alternate
Hemant Kala | Hakkasan | New York, NY
"Repeat Offenders" Sudden Death Challenge Contestants
Ludo Anacleto | Grand Cru, Wine Restaurant | Monterrey, Mexico 
Michael Duffy | Burger and Barrel Wine Pub | New York 
Max Kuller | Fat Baby Inc. | Washington, D.C.
Guest Chefs
Carlo Lamagna |Magna | Portland, OR
Pierre Thiam | Pierre Thiam Catering | New York, NY
What is Somm Slam?
A competition that showcases what somms do best: pair food and wine (with some blind tasting and theory thrown in for good measure).
2017 Prizes

This year's grand prize included a trip to Chile and a Haut Brion magnum. The top scoring female competitor will also be sent to Chile. All twelve competing sommeliers will receive a magnum of Cru Classé from Les Vins de Graves & Pessac-Léognan.

Somm Slam Rules & Guidelines
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.