Copa Jerez Competition 2021 – Entry deadline

30 April, 2021 All day

Deadline for entries is Friday 30 April, 2021.

Chefs and sommeliers at restaurants across the UK are putting their heads together and combining their skills to create an inventive Sherry-themed menu that will catch the judges’ eyes at the UK heat of the 2021 Copa Jerez.

The bi-annual competition, which is now in its ninth edition, is organised by Sherry Wines, and invites chef and sommelier teams from the UK to devise a three-course meal that will complement and showcase Sherry wines’ versatility.

The only proviso is that Sherry must feature as the paired wine for each course and as an ingredient in at least one course, although past contestants have taken the theme much further.

All entries will be evaluated by a panel of leading food and wine experts, with the three top teams invited to take part in the ‘live’ Copa Jerez UK Final, which is being held in the new Cord Restaurant by Le Cordon Bleu in central London, on Monday 17 May, 2021. Here, the teams will be required to cook their Sherry-inspired menu in front of a panel of judges.

The winning team will receive a £500 cash prize, an all-expenses paid trip to the Sherry region of Jerez, and will represent the UK at the International Competition of Gastronomy and Sherry Pairing, to be held in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain in late 2021, where they will compete alongside other finalists from Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, the United States, Russia and Spain.

The international champions in 2019 were from Danish Restaurant Clou* consisting of sommelier Jonathan K Bernsten and chef Martin G Sørensen who were proclaimed the winners of the VIII edition of the international gastronomic event in Jerez. No fewer than eight Michelin stars competed in this spectacular live cooking event in which seven international teams presented their menus paired with Sherry.

Commenting on this year’s search to find the UK’s best Sherry and food pairing menu, international chair-judge César Saldaña, president of the Consejo Regulador de Jerez y Sanlúcar de Barrameda, said: “Gastronomy in the UK today represents some of the most exciting in the world, which is why each year we receive entries from some outstanding restaurants, many of Michelin star quality. This year we are searching for the UK team who can go forward to the international final to compete with top chefs and sommeliers from seven other countries and triumph to bring home the trophy for the UK. It is a serious competition but we know the UK has a competitive streak and can rise to the challenge.”

Contact the UK final organiser

For more information visit the website or enter now: www.sherry.wine/copa-jerez.

Contact: Angeline Bayly by email: sherry@bespokedrinksmedia.com

Copa Jerez

A chilled glass of Fino, a complex Palo Cortado, the warm sun on your shoulders, a tasty tapa to set your taste buds tingling, a view of the Alcázar de Jerez…is this a holiday you’re on?

No, it’s what you can get to do in between sessions at Jerez’s most famous sommelier and chef competition: Copa Jerez. Seems like a dream right now but plans are afoot to hold the ninth edition of the competition in Jerez at the end of this year.

Sounds too good to be true but gaining a place in the bi-annual final of the Copa de Jerez in Jerez , not only allows you to learn more about one of the world’s most diverse and fascinating fortified wines in situ, but it also gives you time to explore and learn about the enchanting, historic city of Jerez.

International Final Copa Jerez 2019

Copa Jerez judge and MW, Sarah Jane Evans explains, “The Copa Jerez is a sensational event – for judges and contestants. The final takes place in the heart of the glorious old city of Jerez. This means there’s the chance to visit a bodega and enjoy a tapa with a glass of Sherry in between the hard work. As such it has to be the most fun destination of any sommelier competition.”

The Copa Jerez is a sensational event – for judges and contestants.

Sarah Jane Evans MW

She continues, “One of the pleasures of the international final is the way it celebrates the diversity of Sherry. Whatever the course, or ingredient, there’s a Sherry style to match. Copa Jerez acts like a reset or jump-start: it’s a whole new way of looking at the wine, and raises the game.”

Sherry, of course, is the focus. Food, the palette, which lets you and your chef to explore a world of taste and sensations as you discover the very best paring to set off the flavours in your dish and maximise the delicious nuances of your chosen wine from Andalucía’s most famous wine producing region, in southern Spain.

The ninth edition of the Copa de Jerez has just been launch by Sherry Wines and organisers are looking for chef and sommelier teams from across the UK to devise a three-course meal which will complement and showcase the versatility of Sherry wines. It’s a test of your knowledge of Sherry wines as a sommelier and your skill in food pairing based on the fabulous dishes you chef team can produce.

2021 UK Judges (left to right): Sarah Jane Evans MW; Anna Haugh; Mattieu Longuere MS

But it’s not just about the final, the preparation and creativity is also key to taking part. The regional heats in one of 8 different competing countries are a thrill to be involved in too. As former participant Owen Morgan, owner and founder of the Bar 44 group describes, “It is an incredible experience to be part of. Firstly for us as a chef and sommelier team, plotting and planning, experimenting and balancing, plus of course, how much can be achieved in the time frame.”

It is an incredible experience to be part of.

Owen Morgan, chef patron, Asador 44

He continues, “Getting to work with an exceptional level of ingredients and world class wines to taste and pair is an exceptional experience. Then there’s the experience of competing on the day – nerve wracking, yes, but is certainly honed our skills as professionals by getting to work alongside high levels pros in the UK business. We also made some great friends, who we are still in touch with today. We got so much out of the competition – learning, experiences and new colleagues. I’d recommend taking part to anyone who loves food and wine and especially Sherry.”

Participants agree that taking part is not just a learning experience but it is also about innovation and using your imagination, as Evans points out, “In this competition you can step outside the traditional pairings, and the regular choices of Finos and Manzanillas as aperitifs. The most exciting match for the judges in the last competition, for instance, was a very old PX paired a dessert. The Copa Jerez is a brilliant opportunity for sommelier and chef to work together to be really creative. It’s not just wine-pairing, we also score the quality of wine preparation and service, and the way the sommelier and chef work together as a team. “

A tasting menu is a story that you are going to tell via the food and sherries – you have to a catchy beginning, and interesting main part and sweet, happy ending!

Alan Bednarski, UK Winner Copa Jerez 2018

Alan Bednarski, head sommelier at Annabel’s, has participated and won the Copa de Jerez UK final and he was inspired to enter the competition by his love of the simplicity of tapas and Sherry. His real discovery was his time at Texture when he has the opportunity to work with unusual combination of flavours and ingredients that Chef used for tasting menu. He explains, “Wines from Jerez works perfectly with such a challenging combination of fusion Icelandic-British cuisine and Asian flavours. Working with Chef Karl O’Dell was so creative when it came to creating dishes, trying single components and looking for THE SPECIAL sensation when you taste food and Sherry and smile after each bite.”

left-right: Karl O’Dell, head chef and Alan Bednarski, head sommelier, Texture Restaurant competing at the International Final of Copa Jerez in 2019.

His top tips when entering the competition is “Less is more when it comes to ingredients,” says Bednarski, “Team work is also so important and easy to forget that this competition is about the Chef and the Sommelier. “ He adds, “A tasting menu is a story that you are going to tell via the food and sherries– you have to a catchy beginning, and interesting main part and sweet, happy ending!”

Most importantly he mentions is that “the competition is about the journey not about winning it. If you put enough effort in to make it the most special and memorable experience for you, it will pay back.”

Interested in entering Copa Jerez 2021?

Click here to find out more and start your Copa Jerez journey.

Deadline: 30 April, 2021.

Sherry webinar – March, 2021

To learn more about Sherry and competing in the Copa Jerez competition, members of The Sommeleir Collective were invited to join a webinar hosted by Charlotte Hey, with special guest Cesar Saldana, president, Consejo Regulador Jerez y Manzanilla.