Congratulations to Kyle Paton, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!
I have been working in food and beverage for almost 20 years as a chef, traveling the world working in the kitchens of top restaurants in Canada, United States and Europe. Over the last few years I have shifted my focus onto wine studies and found it taking over my life. The idea of dining in a renowned restaurant at a particular moment in time was always something I dreamt about. The French Laundry in 1997, or elBulli in 2002. That is something that is impossible to experience beyond that moment in time. I always wished I could bottle that moment, and re-visit it, or see how it aged. I had the realization that it was truly possible with wine, and I was sold. Tasting those spirits, memories, and dreams was something I could finally realize and it truly changed my life. The transition to working in the front of house happened when I opened a wine bar called Meanwhile. I was able to manage the kitchen while working on the floor. The human connection, and being able to speak to guests about something I love so much made me take the step out of the kitchen for good. Due to COVID-19 I had to close my restaurant, and I took on a position at one of the best spots in Canada, Restaurant Pearl Morissette.
Since 2019 I have been studying non-stop. I achieved the level of Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers getting top marks on my exam on the way. Received the title of Certified Beer Server in pursuit of becoming a Certified Cicerone, as well as achieving highest honours on my French Wine Scholar exam. The French Wine Scholar program was incredible. I feel like it has made me focus on things I otherwise could have glazed over. This has made my foundation in French wines incredibly solid. I loved the program so much the first thing I did after writing my exam was enrol in the Spanish Wine Scholar program, and I will 100% be doing the Italian program immediately after that. I am an Advanced candidate for the Court of Master Sommeliers and I truly feel like the Wine Scholar Guild will play a very large role in my successes with that.
It is incredible how much wine theory plays into my day to day life and how much guests want to engage with that. It’s helped me so much on the floor. This kind of knowledge is what is important for being a good storyteller and really win over guests. I think that has helped me succeed in my new position already. I also feel like it has structured me better as a student of wine. Everything I have done outside of the Wine Scholar Guild has a completely different and more fruitful approach now, I don’t think I would have found this approach otherwise. The programs have such a beautiful layout, that has now become my own study style.