Congratulations to Isa Bal MS, whose decades of hard work and creative energy at his new restaurant have been recognised by the world’s most prestigious restaurant guide.
The UK Michelin Guide only gives out one award to Sommeliers (plus one for Welcome and Service) so it’s a serious achievement – and much merited, for his efforts both past and present.
During his two decades in hospitality, Isa has become the first Turkish person to pass the Master Sommelier exam (2009), won the Best Sommelier of Europe competition run by the Association de Sommellerie Internationale (2008), and been awarded the Dom Perignon Award of Excellence for Wine Service (2009) by the UK Academy of Food and Wine.
He first came to prominence at the Fat Duck – Heston Blumental’s iconic boundary-pushing restaurant in Bray – where a creative approach and deep-dive understanding of food and wine matching are essential.
But in 2019 he and former Fat Duck executive chef, Jonny Lake, set up Trivet in Bermondsey – and it is for his work here that the Michelin Guide gave him this year’s Sommelier Award.
‘His enthusiasm for wine knows no bounds, and he is an admirable torchbearer for lesser-known regions,’ the judges commented. ‘The passionately compiled, highly original list is fascinating, and delivers a unique historic take, with wines listed according to when winemaking first commenced in each country.’
The list includes wines from countries that are rarely seen – and almost never highlighted, yet form the historical bedrock of wine history: Georgia, Armenia and Turkey.
For any Collective members visiting or working in London, it’s well worth a visit.