On Monday, November 14, restaurants Vigor (one star Michelin), Zoldering (one star Michelin) and Flore (two star Michelin) competed against each other during the Dutch final of the prestigious sherry pairing competition Copa Jerez, which was held in Amsterdam. After cooking and explaining their three sherry-food combinations, Randy Bouwer and Martijn Wijnands from restaurant Vigor were declared the winner of the Dutch edition 2022.
From left to right: Oscar Vía, Economic and Commercial Consellor of Spain in the Hague, Randy Bouwer, sommelier Vigor, Martijn Wijnands, chef Vigor and Carmen Aumesquet, marketing director Consejo Regulador de las Denominaciones de Origen “Jerez-Xérès-Sherry” –“Manzanilla-Sanlúcar de Barrameda”-“Vinagre de Jerez”
During what is perhaps the most important wine-food competition in the Netherlands, the three teams of chef and sommelier presented their pairings and managed to surprise the Dutch jury with diverse and challenging combinations with sherry in the lead role. Jury chairman Heleen Boom had to conclude: "It was extremely exciting, we had to extend our time twice to select the winner, but Vigor had the best pairing."
The Copa Jerez was created twenty years ago as a unique opportunity for chefs and sommeliers to showcase their collective skills and love of sherry on a renowned global stage. Copa Jerez The Netherlans has been jointly organised by the Consejo Regulador D.O. Jerez-Xérès-Sherry and Manzanilla de Sanlúcar de Barrameda, the Sherry Wine Exporters Federation (FEDEJEREZ) and the Commercial and Economic Office of the Spanish Embassy in The Hague.Team Vigor will represent the Netherlands at the X International Final Copa Jerez, which will be held in Jerez de la Frontera in early October 2023. There, the Dutch team will compete against the finalists from 6 other countries.
Carmen Aumesquet, marketing director of the Consejo Regulador traveled from Spain to join the jury. She praised the winning team for their innovative combinations and level of knowledge of the product sherry. "The level of Dutch gastronomy seems to rise every edition, the combinations are getting better and the understanding of the product sherry is increasing."
Sommelier Randy Bouwer is a true ambassador of sherry: “I think we just have the largest sherry selection in the Netherlands in our wine list. I really like it and then we will soon be able to represent the Netherlands in the heart of the sherry area.”
His teammate Martijn Wijnands seems to have become even more ambitious after the win: “I have to be honest, I had a nice day anyway. But if I participate, then I also participate to win in Spain!”
- Jury chairman Heleen Boom: also the chairman of the Dutch Guild of Sommeliers. Owner of the BIB gourmand-awarded Restaurant Bouwkunde in Deventer and 'Sommelier of the year 2022' in Gault&Millau.
- Magda van der Rijst: Wine writer and journalist. But she is also a pillar of the Dutch Wine Academy, member of the examination board and teacher. Dutch Wine Woman of the Year in 2021.
- Adrian Zarzo Habraken. Chef, sommelier and restaurant owner. Born in Valencia and now settled in Eindhoven. There, Zarzo, rewarded with a Michelin star, participated at the International Copa Jerez in 2015.
- Peter Bruins. Initially, maître Peter Bruins thought he would work at ** restaurant De Bokkedoorns for about five years. There were 42. In those years he became the teacher of many sommeliers, SVH Master Host and Best Host of the Netherlands.
- Carmen Aumesquet. Marketing Director of the Consejo Regulador de las Denominaciones de Origen “Jerez-Xérès-Sherry” –“Manzanilla-Sanlúcar de Barrameda”-“Vinagre de Jerez”
The three course Sherry menu presented by team Vigor:
Manzanilla, Pastora en Rama, Barbadillo
Corvina/ Plankton/ Cecina
Oloroso Gutiérrez Colosía
Sweetbread/ Eel/ Vigor ‘wasabi’
Moscatel ‘Micaela’ Bodegas Baron
Blackberry/ Smoked chocolate/ Cacao
The Dutch jury with sommelier and chef restaurant Vigor: from left to right Adrián Zarzo Habraken, Magda van der Rijst, Randy Bouwer, Heleen Boom, Martijn Wijnands, Peter Bruins, Carmen Aumesquet.