Antoine Lehebel, sommelier of Brussels restaurant Bon Bon will be representing Belgium in the 15th edition of the most prestigious sommelier competition in the world. The Best Sommelier in the World competition takes place in Antwerp in March 2019.
Lehebel has already been crowned the best sommelier in Belgium in 2014. Born in 1982, he has vast experience having worked in Longon at Rasoi Vineet bhatia (1 Michelin star) and at three Michelin star restaurant Les Pres d’Eugenie in France. He has also worked at Michel Chabran and Charlemagne (both 1 Michelin star) before moving to Belgium in 2013 to work at Villa Lorraine.
He moved to the two Michelin starred Bon Bon in May 2018 to work with one of Belgium’s best chefs Christophe Hardiquest. The restaurant has a 19.5 score in Gault & Millau and has two stars.
The sommelier has diplomas from WSET as well as Advanced Sommelier from the Court of Master Sommelier. He took part in the competition that was help in Argentina in 2016 where he placed 20th.
Lehebel said that the world is changing and sommeliers need to follow trends. “In future, sommeliers will not just be working in Michelin star restaurants or in gastronomic restaurants but they will work in all types of establishments. Wine bars are evolving and they will offer a more refined cuisine which means that sommeliers will become more important in these type of places.”
The 15th edition of the most prestigious sommelier competition in the world will be held at the Elisabethzaal in Antwerp between 11 and 15 March 2019. The event returns to Belgium after 50 years when the first ever competition took place in Brussels.
This unique triennial world championship is the initiative of A.S.I. (Association de la Sommellerie Internationale/ International Sommelier Association). It will be organised in conjunction with the Belgian Sommeliers Union and their president William Wouters, a resident of Antwerp. The first edition of this competition took place in Brussels in 1969. Now three years after it was last held in Mendoza, Argentina, the competition returns to its roots in Europe.
This competition is considered to be the World Cup for sommeliers. A total of 65 sommeliers will take part in the competition in March 2019 which starts with the quarter final on the 11th March and ends with the grand finale on 15th March. In the final, the three best sommeliers will battle for the most prestigious title in their craft worldwide. 62 countries will each present their most qualified candidate. This will include the three winners of the continental championships, namely Europe, Africa, Asia-Oceania and America.