This year it was back in full glory, perhaps the most prestigious wine and food competition we know: the Copa Jerez. Restaurants submit a three-course menu combined with sherry to the judges, from those written entries the national final is selected to be cooked and presented. The winners will then represent the Netherlands next year at the international Copa Jerez, where they will compete in Jerez against teams from Belgium, the US, Germany and, of course, Spain, among others. - TEXT + IMAGE COPA JEREZ
Restaurant Vigor's sherry heroes next year Team NL in Jerez
On Monday 14 November, Dutch restaurants Vigor* from Vught and Zoldering* and Flore** from Amsterdam competed against each other in the Dutch final of the prestigious Copa Jerez. After cooking and explaining their three wine-food combinations, Randy Bouwer and Martijn Wijnands of team Vigor were declared the winners.
The three teams of chef and sommelier cooked to the stars and managed to surprise the judges with diverse and challenging combinations starring sherry. Jury president Heleen Boom had to conclude: "It was rare tension, we had to extend our time twice to get out, but in the end, on presentation Vigor took home the win."
Carmen Aumesquet, marketing director of the Consejo Regulador, or umbrella association of sherry producers, had travelled from Spain to join the judging and present the award to Vigor. She praised the winning team for their innovative combinations and level of knowledge of the sherry product. "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 have just the biggest sherry selection in the Netherlands on the menu. I really have a thing for it and then soon we may just represent the Netherlands in the heart of the sherry region."
His teammate and chef Martijn Wijnands only seems to have become more ambitious after the win: "I have to be honest, I had a nice day anyway. But if I'm competing, I'm also competing to win. On to Spain!"
This article was produced in collaboration with Copa Jerez.
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