03 July 2012 by Mount Grace Country House and Spa
For West Ngcwabe, joining the Mount Grace team is indicative that his
life is definitely moving in the direction that he envisioned when
starting his career as a starry eyed new intake in hotel school.
The 25-year-old sommelier and restaurant manager at one of Gauteng’s most popular and renowned hotels grew up on the East Rand and was first introduced to the wonders of wine while a student at the International Hotel School. Back then West was a keen student with an eye for detail but he credits a meeting and subsequent mentoring from an influential industry player as a spark that has helped him stay the course.
“While I was doing practical work at Forum Homini, I was lucky enough to meet and be mentored by chef-owner Philippe Wagenfuhrer, one of the most respected names in the food and wine world; a self-taught expert, I realised when I met him that it is passion that makes the difference between a good professional and a great one”, says West, who is one of the key players in the food and beverage team at Mount Grace.
Currently working towards honing his skills with a Cape Wine Academy qualification, it is clear that West’s enthusiasm for wine is an unbridled one and on hearing him sing the praises of his current favourite vintages, it’s difficult not to be equally enthused. “Although I recognise the value of the great wines of the Stellenbosch region, I’m very interested in the wines of the Cedarberg and Tulbagh area and I’m slowly introducing some of my favourite finds from these regions onto the wine list”, says this keen golfer who harbours a desire to work a season or two in Burgundy and even make his own wine one day.
With youth and enthusiasm on his side, there’s no doubt West is an asset to the Mount Grace team – bringing with him his experience thus far in the hotel world and a healthy respect for the value of hard work in achieving one’s goals. And although his guilty pleasure is catching the occasional episode of TV soapie Days of our Lives, offering hotel and restaurant guests an exceptional experience and soaking up as much knowledge as possible are what drive him on a daily basis.
Meet West at Mount Grace’s signature Rambling Vine Restaurant where he and Chef Franc Lubbe host monthly Gourmet Weekends. Upcoming wine estate highlights include Nitida on 28 / 29 July, Zewenwacht on 25 / 26 August, Allée Bleue Wine Estate on 22 / 23 September, Iona on 27 / 28 October and Beyerskloof on 24 / 25 November. The Gourmet Evenings at Rambling Vine Restaurant are priced at R450 per person while the Gourmet Sunday Lunch option is priced at R265. Both choices include a stellar wine pairing.
For further Mount Grace Country House and Spa enquiries call direct on 014 577 5600, email or go to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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