A sommelier at Michelin starred Purnell’s Restaurant in Birmingham has won a coveted national honour for the quality of his service.
Sonal Clare, Restaurant Manager and resident wine expert at Purnell’s, received the Best Sommelier award at the GQ Food and Drink Awards 2018 at a ceremony in London’s Rosewood Hotel on Monday evening.
Sonal, 34, was offered a job at Purnell’s as a waiter in 2008 and took every opportunity to gain experience in all aspects of the role and developed a great interest in wine. In August 2013, after several years of being Assistant Manager, Sonal took over as Restaurant Manager of Purnell’s.
He was formerly Restaurant Manager at Restaurant 23 in Warrenpoint, which was rated as one of the top restaurants in Northern Ireland.
Born in Ealing, London, Sonal trained at University College Birmingham (UCB), where he studied Hospitality and Food Management, and has also worked at the luxury Nuremore Hotel and Country Club in County Monaghan.
Sonal commented: “I am so honoured to have received this accolade from the GQ Food and Drink Awards 2018. I couldn’t have even dreamt about being in this position without the support of Glynn Purnell and all the team at the restaurant, as well as the guests who come through our doors every day and make my job so enjoyable. The reaction from everyone since I found out that I had been nominated has been completely overwhelming and I can’t thank everyone enough. It’s such a privilege to bring this award home to Birmingham.”
Now in its fourth year, the hugely successful GQ Food and Drink Awards receive thousands of entries from across the country, and this year there were more than ever. Readers of British GQ Magazine scour the land for the very best in wining and dining across Britain. The shortlist is then put to a panel of expert judges – acclaimed chefs, esteemed writers, and award-winning mixologists– who have the difficult job of choosing winners in each of the twelve categories.
“These awards are renowned in the hospitality business and set the standard for the very best of the British food and beverage industry. This is a huge accolade for Sonal, and the entire Purnell’s team is thrilled for him. Sonal has worked for me at Purnell’s for ten years and he puts 100% in to every service. I am so proud of his achievement; it is testament to his dedication, hard work and expertise. He fully deserves the recognition. He is a massive part of the Purnell’s family, an amazing Restaurant Manager and a superb sommelier.”
— Glynn Purnell, Chef Patron of Purnell’s,
Judge Nieves Barragan, owner and Executive Head Chef of London’s Sabor Restaurant, added: “It is very important that a sommelier works together with a kitchen, and knows every course on the menu, and that is why Sonal is a fantastic sommelier. Sonal is a wonderful representative of everything that a true sommelier should be.”