Food Sommelier 101

The concept of “Food Sommelier” is a fresh take on the appreciation of nutritious whole foods. If you are not familiar with the term sommelier, think of a specialized waiter in a fancy restaurant who is in charge of serving wine. Sommeliers also develop the wine list and help guests choose a wine to go with their meal. Many sommeliers who are employed by wineries and liquor stores lead participants through semi-formal in store tastings using words like mineral and jammy and tropical…these tastings have been proven to increase sales as well as consumption!  Oh, and in case you were wondering, here is a video on how to correctly pronounce the word sommelier. It’s a French word and sounds like “Some’ll yay”.

Since 1970, US per capita consumption of fruits and vegetables has increased by a measly 10% while consumption of wine has more than doubled! And it’s not a coincidence that the number of sommeliers in the US has also grown by leaps and bounds. So, I’ve decided to promote food in the same way a sommelier promotes wine, hence the term “Food Sommelier”. Fun fact: the Japanese are already promoting healthy food in this way – there are over 13,500 certified “Vegetable Sommeliers” in Japan!

 “Mmm…a little citrus…maybe some strawberry…passion fruit…and, oh, there’s just like the faintest soupçon of like asparagus and just a flutter of a, like a, nutty Edam cheese.

– Miles, from the academy award winning movie Sideways

The above quote is a comedic poke at wine snobbishness, BUT wouldn’t it be great if we all could appreciate nutritious foods with the same passion? Did you know that there are established tasting terminology for healthy foods such as apples, beef, cheese, fresh leafy greens, mangoes, and spices? And that by using these terms, it’s been scientifically proven that you will enjoy your food more, feel fuller and more satisfied, and be more willing to try different varieties of foods! Here is how I describe Kale:

“Kale = Grassy and viney in character with moderate bitterness and faint background notes of parsley, cabbage, wood, and earth”

– Annette Hottenstein, The Food Sommelier

In addition to helping you appreciate food, The Food Sommelier also covers topics such as:

  • Restaurant and product reviews
  • Food pairings
  • Produce cultivar appreciation
  • Cooking techniques
  • Taste and smell physiology
  • Menu labeling
  • Genetics of taste and smell

I hope you enjoy this fresh take on healthy eating!  I look forward helping you “Discover the Taste of Good Health”.