Best sommelier of Norway in 2018 is Henrik Dahl Jahnsen

Henrik is in a restaurant business since 2010 and since than he was  working on several different positions in hospitality service, as chef apprentice to a sommelier and general manager mostly in Bølgen & Moi Ny-Hellesund and nowadays as a sommelier at  Bølgen & Moi Kristiansand.

In a 2008/2009  he was educated  at Catering School, Kristiansand. In 2010 he did WSET Advanced, Pass with Merit and in 2012 did sommelier, best of the year at Kulinarisk Akademi.

His resume in competitions in a just a seven years is really impressive:

  • 2018: 1st. Place Norwegian Sommelier Championships
  • 2017: 2nd. Place Nordic Sommelier Championships
  • 2017: Quarter-finalist A.S.I. Best Sommelier of Europe
  • 2017: 2nd. Place Norwegian Sommelier Championships
  • 2016: Semi-finalist Nordic Sommelier Championships
  • 2016: Semi-Finalist; A.S.I. Best Sommelier of the World (11th place)
  • 2016: 1st. Place Norwegian Sommelier Championships
  • 2015: Semi-finalist Nordic Sommelier Championships
  • 2015: 3rd. Place Norwegian Sommelier Championships
  • 2014: Semi-finalist Nordic Sommelier Championships
  • 2014: 1st. Place Norwegian Sommelier Championships
  • 2013: Semi-finalist Norwegian Sommelier Championships
  • 2012: 3rd. Place Norwegian Sommelier Championships
  • 2011: 1st. Place Norwegian Young Sommelier of the Year

We asked him a few questions about his third Champion title and future ideas. Check what he answered to us.

Q1:  You won Norwegian contest for the third time. Did you expect it and how do you feel about it? Was it easier or harder then previous times? 

Absolutely not, the level gets higher and higher every year and many of the previous finalists are competing year after year. I think it gets a little bit harder every year, perhaps not the competition itself, but the added pressure of having already won makes it even more important to perform well.

Q2: How do You think the title of Best Sommelier of Norway will change your life?

These kind of things are probably not that important in the Norwegian society, but I guess I would stand a good chance of getting a job at the best restaurants in the country.

Q3: How is the profession of sommeliers in Norway? What can be improved?

I think the sommelier profession is well taken care of in Norway, and many restaurants actually pay for the entire education and travel costs because they really want a Sommelier and they want to keep their experienced staff. To be a waiter is among the less paid jobs in Norway, but I still think it is possible to have a good life as salaries in Norway are generally quite reasonable and high compared to other countries. There is also a really good tip in many restaurants, and being a trained waiter or even better, Sommelier, gives you added value to most employers.

One important thing that I think should be improved is to make Sommelier a protected title, as there is still a few restaurants boasting about sommeliers without actually having them and the restaurant business needs and deserves more credit as we all work very hard to provide the best possible experience to our guests.

Q4: You have a great knowledge about food and wine. What do you think you can do to promote your national beverages and gastronomy?

This is a difficult one as we are not allowed to advertise for alcoholic beverages in Norway. I think the best way we can promote our national products is to use them more often on our menus and to talk more about them when we do. Norwegian beverages offer exciting and different combinations together with food, and in my experience the guests really like it when we give them something unexpected and locally produced.