THE ROTA ARCHIVE

GEORDIE WILLIS - THE WINE CREATIVE

"SOMETIMES PEOPLE TALK TO MUCH ABOUT WINE RATHER THAN JUST ENJOYING IT. WINE SHOULD BE A CATALYST FOR GREAT CONVERSATION, IT DOESN'T ALWAYS NEED TO BE THE CONVERSATION ITSELF."

Follow Geordie and his wine adventures on Instagram and Twitter @berrybrosrudd

1.  What was your first job in hospitality?

I’ve been working for Berry Bros. & Rudd on-and-off since I was 18.

2. What is your favourite cuisine to eat - preferably the opposite to what you work in?

I lived in Hong Kong for 4 years and still miss dim sum every day.

3. Which dish do you most associate with childhood?

Findus Crispy Pancakes

4. What’s the soundtrack to your first love?

Pixies – Wave of Mutilation

5. What do you crave after a long shift?

A martini from Alessandro at Duke’s Hotel.

6. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – what do you have? 

Normally something pretty healthy actually… eggs, avocado, porridge, that sort of thing. And coffee, lots of coffee.

8. What is your favourite word?

Trockenbeerenauslese

7. If you could go on a culinary extravaganza-eating holiday – where would you choose to do so?

I’m heading to Copenhagen next month for a couple of days of food, and I can’t wait. Noma, Amass and Manfred & Vin are all on the list. I love Tokyo as well, one of the best food cities in the world.

8. All at the same time or coursed out?

Depends on my mood but I always want to try everything so sharing is good, but annoying for whoever I’m with.

9. What is the one area of working in a restaurant you wish you knew more of?

I love cocktails and wish that I had a wider repertoire.

10. What is the best cure for a hangover?

Lots of water before bedtime.

11. You’re allowed one shift drink – what is it?

A bottle of beer, ideally Anchor Steam.

12. What is the one thing which guests do that drives you mad?

Sometimes people can talk too much about wine rather than just enjoying it. Wine should be a catalyst for great conversation, it doesn’t always need to be the conversation itself.

13. Do you have any rituals during a shift?

N/A

14. What’s the last film you saw?

Whiplash, which was truly brilliant.

15. Best thing that has ever happened to you in a restaurant? 

I was in a wet-market in Hong Kong for my 30th birthday. The chef turned up the music and started break-dancing. I haven’t seen that in London yet…

16. What’s your tagline/motto?

'Tis the cask not the coffer that holds the true wealth’. I have it tattooed on my ribs to remind me.

17. Photography while eating – yay or nay?

I have to hold up my hands and say that I’m guilty of this. In Asia they have a saying ‘The camera eats first’. I might feel differently if I was a chef though…

18. Rank the following in order of priority: wine, food, sex

Wine, food, sex. Preferably in that order.

19. What would be your last meal – drinks included.

Steak frites with a good bottle of Bordeaux. My grandfather gave me 3 bottles of 1982 Grand-Puy-Lacoste for my christening which I’ve since drunk. It would have been his 100th birthday this year so another bottle would bring back some very fond memories.

20. What makes you happy?

Family, travel, good food, wine and company.

21. How do you relax?

A long walk.

22. What is the background on your phone?

I work a lot with the wonderful food photographer Jason Lowe. I have a picture from the first trip we did to Bordeaux together of a vineyard worker with his face obscured by sarment.

23. Favourite Instagram accounts to follow 

@emperorofhoxton

@oddthor

@joewoodhouse

24. What is the best thing about working in hospitality? 

The people you meet and the people you work with. And I’m very lucky to travel a lot.

25. Which restaurant are you ashamed to NOT have eaten at?

The River Café, but I’m trying to sort that out

26. Who is the person you most respect in the industry?

Paul Draper at Ridge Vineyards is astonishing. And I love what Michael & Charlotte Sager-Wilde are doing.

27. What is your go to party trick?

I have one coin trick. It is amazing.

28. Finish this sentence: I eat everything except ...

Meringues.