Ganesh Iyer, National Sales Director, Indian Subcontinent, VEEN, talks about his brand and what exactly a water sommelier does!
What’s the need of water sommeliers in the country?
Water sommeliers like a wine sommelier are not a need but a great value add to educate guests in the culinary environment on appropriate wine and water choices. A water sommelier is someone who is able to detect, recognise and differentiate different types of water (natural mineral water or packaged drinking water) basis their mineral composition, pH level, , TDS etc and thereby educating the patrons on the need to have the right kind of water for every day replenishment and also how different types of water could be paired with different cuisines, spirits and wines for a complete fine dine experience.
Do you think India is mature enough to understand a concept like this?
Patrons who frequent the fine dine tables in the country are well read, have travelled the globe and are well exposed to new concepts and innovations in the field of food and beverage and water sommelier is one such positive addition. As one would seek suggestion on a wine and food pairing , likewise a water sommelier would suggest food pairings with different types of water based on minerality ,carbonation levels and different terrior.
Patrons today do understand the difference between packaged drinking water and natural mineral water and there is increased awareness about the importance of having water in a glass bottle as compared to PET. Concepts like pH level, minerality and TDS are no longer buzzwords for them and they do ask categorically about the type of source, carbonation level etc of the water.
How does it work in hotels?-
Hoteliers are slowly realising the importance of water as not just as a thirst quencher but as a much needed beverage to enhance and complete the dining experience and in doing so it also helps in their beverage revenues. And given this premise, the role of a water sommelier gains prominence because he imparts this knowledge with all the stakeholders in the hotel be it the service associate, restaurant manager or the Food And beverage manager
What kind of challenges do you face?
Well honestly speaking there aren’t any challenges by and large. I believe Education and creating continued awareness about the importance of water in the food and beverage space is the need of the hour