Cape Town blogger, Muzi Mohale of Travel Wires, reported on an excellent achievement by Cape Sommelier, Bongi Sodladla.
Bongi Sodladla, South African Airways’ Senior Food and Beverage Manager, recently graduated as a Cape Sommelier through the Cape Wine Academy. Sodladla’s position at SAA requires her to specialise in menu design, food presentations, wine selection, food and wine pairing, food safety auditing, quality control, and conducting trials of new products.
Says Sodladla: “The Sommelier qualification gives immense credibility to our onboard wine lists. It also reflects the growing power of women and wine. My job is to select meals and beverages including wines to be consumed at 33,000 feet. I have to assess the ability of the food and the wine to fly against the harm done by pressurized cabins, which dull our taste buds by anything up to 30%. I also draw up menus and wine lists for our flights. “
Sodladla was employed by SAA in 2000 as a Food and Beverage Specialist. In 2006 she completed both the Certificate of Wines and Wines of the World Courses at the Cape Wine Academy and began as SAA’s Global Food and Beverage Manager. More recently, she completed a course in Food and Wine Pairing in 2009 and on the 18th of March 2010 Sodladla was awarded the highly acclaimed Cape Sommelier qualification.
SAA has realised the importance of highly trained and knowledgeable staff in managing the thousands of tourists who will descend upon South Africa, from different corners of the world, all with different tastes and needs.
The Cape Sommelier programme, implemented in South Africa through the Cape Wine Academy, was introduced as a response to a huge demand and support from the hospitality industry for a suitable professional qualification.
Marilyn Cooper, Cape Wine Master and Managing Director of the Cape Wine Academy, says “We are very proud of Bongi and her achievement in gaining Cape Sommelier status. It is recognised worldwide and certainly puts a new dimension to SAA dining in First Class, Business Class and Economy.”
A Sommelier is known to be a highly trained and knowledgeable wine professional, working in fine restaurants, specialising in all aspects of wine service.
Sodladla is the fifth graduate of the renowned Cape Sommelier qualification. Previous graduates of the Cape Sommelier qualification include Nicci Pain, based in Kenya, Kerry Guibert at the Raj in Cape Town, Milton Makhaza at the Mount Grace Country House and Spa Hotel in Magaliesburg, and Mike Buthelezi at Auberge Michel in Sandton.
There are great expectations in the local wine industry for the new generation of wine servers and we wish them every success.