A lot has happened since I wrote anything on this website. I log in every once in a while, shocked to find that people still drift here somehow, and I feel a little ashamed that I haven’t been able to post anything in three years. I wonder how I ever had time to do so at all. My goal was always to build and maintain an active presence on the blog and in social media, but work and life simply got in the way. Couple that with a desire to not just put out content, but something actually meaningful every time I sit down to write, and the result is nothing at all. So, I will not make any promises that I will keep up the writing. Still, I owe it to you, and to myself, to if nothing else stick my head in once in a while and give a little update.
Between then and now, a lot has happened. In the second half of 2014 I decided that I had to leave my job in Copenhagen. With 8 restaurants under my supervision and three more to come in 2015, it had simply gotten too big for me, and although I took great pride in the work I did and it gave me some wonderful opportunities to travel the world, meet wine makers and experience what it’s like to wield big buying power, I had gotten too far away from the essence of the job of the sommelier, too far away from the guests and the bottles. I began looking around for something else. I was in negotiations with some interesting groups in Europe, but by pure happenstance found myself on culinary trip with a group of winemakers and sommeliers from France, Italy and USA. One of the few people of this group that I hadn’t met before was Robert Bohr, New York sommelier of almost legendary stature. We talked a lot over these few days and found ourselves agreeing on so much when it came to how to run a restaurant and what really makes for good service and hospitality that we decided then and there, without really discussing any details, that we had to work together. I distinctly remember the phone call to my girlfriend (today my wife) asking her if she wouldn’t mind moving to New York. A few months (and some grueling work on visa applications) later, we packed our bags and settled in downtown Manhattan, a few blocks away from Charlie Bird, a lovely little neighborhood restaurant which I’d like to think has a wine program that punches well above its weight.
I had travelled a lot to the states, but never to New York really, so it really was a gamble. But the city has given me a wonderful welcome, and I truly enjoy exploring all it has to offer (a lot!). The wine community is strong and energetic and there are opportunities here that are rare to find elsewhere. Sure, I miss aspects of life in Scandinavia, but I think I will call this city home for some time now...
Parallel with this move, I was preparing like never before to take the ultimate test and compete in the World’s Best Sommelier competition. Perhaps it was crazy to try to take on so much at once, and the past year has been incredibly demanding, with barely any free time between settling in a new city, a new job, running a small business and studying like a demon for the hardest test of my life, but I knew that I would be in a better spot if it all succeeded.
I’m not going to write a long write up of the competition like I’ve done in the past (others have done a great job of that). Suffice to say, it was really tough and I came back with a noticeably greyer shade of hair (in my beard at least). But I felt good doing it all the way to the end. In fact, I think that what in the end won me the title was the sense that even though this was the chance of a lifetime, my life was still pretty damn good, I didn’t need a title to prove anything, to myself or to anyone else. This is in stark contrast to the past when I felt there was so much riding on a win and I perhaps pushed myself past the point of what’s sane and healthy, both for myself and the people and relationships in my life. Let’s just say I have some debts to pay on that front.
So what happens next? Well, I won’t spill the beans just yet, but there are some really, really exciting projects on the near horizon, in New York and in other parts of the world. If you want to stay connected, make sure to interact with me on Twitter or Instagram, where I am easier to be found.