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22 April 2025

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Photo for: A view to the shining three stars


A view to the shining three stars

Meet Roxane Dupuy, Head Sommelier at the 3-Michelin star rated Sketch - The Lecture Room and LIbrary and prepare for your taste buds to be astounded - with the food and wine.

Where do you currently work?

Sketch - Lecture Room and Library.

Tell us more about yourself

I am a native of Lorraine (France), but grew up in Luxemburg. I've been working in the wine industry for the past 7 years. I have lived and had work experience in different countries: France, Switzerland and the UK. I am always eager to travel and work in new places, as it is a great way to discover new grapes and winemakers.

Roxane Dupuy, Head Sommelier

Why did you want to become a sommelier?

I do not come from a family where the tradition of the wine is important. As a matter of fact, I originally wanted to become a chef to avenge my mother's terrible cooking. That was until my first wine tasting and encountering an Alsatian gewürztraminer. This led me on to a different path.

How according to you has the role of the sommelier evolved, especially now during Covid times?

In my personal point of view, a sommelier plays a crucial role now, more than ever. Our guests couldn't travel for almost 2 years, they expect us to go the extra mile: creating new ways to enhance their experience and make it memorable. Helping our customers discover wines from around the world, means also allowing them to break their routine and change their minds.

What are some of the most important skills for a sommelier to have?

Knowledge is absolutely necessary, but I also remain very attached to human qualities. Humility and cordiality are values ‚Äč‚Äčthat are dear to me.

What do you look for when you plan to buy wine for your business?

Fred Brugues is the wine buyer at Sketch. We are always looking for wines to add to the menu. Obviously it is important to buy at a fair price and in the end the quality of the juice will always have the last word.

Your favorite places to enjoy great wine in London?

I love to explore and discover new places. There are so many in London! I enjoy sipping a glass at Passionevino and naturals at the Antidote. To have a good meal sprinkled with good wines my go to are Andrew Edmunds, Brat or Cabotte... For special occasions, if I have to be a little fancy, I would pick the Clove club or Anne Sophie Pic.

What is your approach to matching food and wine?

I don't believe there is something like a perfect pairing. Everyone has a different palate and sensibility. In general when I do pairings, I like to play with textures or contrasts: an espuma could work with a delicate bubble to recreate the same fullness.

I think it is also a great opportunity to do a showcase of wines that are sulked, like sweet wines with savoury dishes: an older vintage of Sauternes with roasted lamb, confit garlic and soft spiced juice is a great way to bring back an old star to shine. Pairings are the scene of the theatre, where a simple supporting role can turn out brilliant and mark the spirits.

If you had to pick one red and one white wine as your personal best, which wines would they be?

White: Pavillon blanc 1926, Red: F.Lung Royal Kebir 1949, two wines that changed my life.

What's the best part of your job?

Making people happy.

What are the 5 challenges you normally face in your job and how do you tackle these?

Hospitality faces a lot of challenges at the moment.
- Being short of staff requires more organization and efficiency during service.
- Delays with deliveries makes us more adaptable to changes.
- Staying a dynamic workplace for the team, by offering training, support and new missions.
- High expectations of guests by listening carefully to their requests and giving your best.
- London is a city with a lot of amazing places to enjoy wine. It is important to maintain standards and a great wine selection: high quality wines by promoting classic wines and the "star" winemakers of tomorrow.

Any favorite food and wine pairing suggestions for London drinks enthusiasts?

The last pairing I really enjoyed was an Auslese Riesling with Melon, lemon granite and caramelized fennel. As an easy pairing after the Saturday service, ice cider with blue cheese is an easy way to make me happy. I have a sweet tooth.

Any tips for wine brands trying to grow in on-trade and how they can help sommeliers?

I have the impression that certain brands of wine which are just starting out, are trying to give themselves a certain prestige by charging sometimes disproportionate prices. I think very modestly, that we have to remember that there is a beginning to everything. Working hand in hand is important, without one or the other part of the chain, we are nothing.

I believe also understanding the philosophy of a brand/winemaker passes through discussion. So, in my opinion, it is very important to offer training to sommeliers in order to be the best ambassadors for the wine in question but also be a guide for our guests.

Please explain your weekly tasks, going in detail about what all you do.

Work in a three star has daily demands and this requires a lot of work. I am really lucky to have a strong team to back me up. Here, we share the tasks of deep cleaning, cellar work and admin. As soon as one task is fully mastered, I show them something new, so they can still evolve. When they leave this place, they will need to be ready, it will be them in charge.
It is also important for me to offer training to the team. We are meeting suppliers and winemakers, organizing zoom training and doing a lot of tastings too.
Here, time flies, once the mise en place is finished, it's already time for service.

What's your personal career goal? And how are you investing or planning to get there?

I would love to have my own restaurant one day, but this will take some time. We will see how it goes.

Give us one good story that you remember of a customer and you.

There is beauty in very simple things...
After the lockdown, a senior enjoyed dinner at the Lecture Room. After chatting with him for a while, he told me it was the first time he was going out since he had lost his better half because of Covid. It just broke my heart and all the team felt like we had to give him a memorable experience. The Chef prepared a special course, I made him try a glass of a Grand Cru, we made him visit the Kitchen... Simple attention from all the team, which came from the heart and made his day unique.
This is why we are working in hospitality and I can't wait to welcome him back.

Call for domestic and international submission is now open for London Wine Competition. Enter your wines before 31 August 2024 to get super early bird pricing. Register now and ship later to save.

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