BBC’s Masterchef: The Professionals 2010 finalist and leading North East chef John Calton, of The Staith House, North Shields, became one of Newcastle Wine School’s (NWS) newest students after deciding to brush up on his wine knowledge and pursue a Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) qualification, starting with securing his Level 2 Award.
The South Shields-born chef has successfully completed the course, and is using his knowledge to ensure that thegastropub’s newly introduced wine list perfectly complements the dishes he is serving.
Mr Calton, who opened The Staith House with his wife Kimberley and business partner James Laffen in 2013, said: “We have achieved a great many accolades since opening – from Best Turnaround pub in the North East, Yorkshire and Scotland, to securing a listing in the Michelin Guide, Hardens and Sawdays Guides as well as The Good Food Guide – and we have built a really strong reputation for the quality of our food and service.
“Wine is the perfect accompaniment to good food, and it is really important to me that we match our meals with a great choice of reds, whites and rosés. We have been doing really well so far, but I really felt that a professional qualification in wine-tasting would add another string to my bow. It’s been a great step for me, and one that I think will help The Staith House to become even better.”
John completed the course with Newcastle Wine School, a leading source of wine education in the North East. NWS, part of the Local Wine School network, provides coordinated and bespoke training to the industry, as well as educational classes to consumers and wine enthusiasts, allowing anybody interested in a wine to attend and learn more.
The WSET Level 2 Award Course the NWS offers is a vocational training programme intended to give those employed in the drinks industry, where a good level of product knowledge is required to underpin job skills and competencies, the information they need to excel in their fields.
The course, which is also open to anyone who has a serious interest in wine and wishes to expand their knowledge in a structured way, runs for 16 hours and covers a range of subjects, from learning how to decode labels and understanding the various types of grapes to food and wine matching and wine tasting using the WSET Systematic approach.
Mr Calton’s tutor was Helen Savage, one of Britain’s most respected and knowledgeable wine writers and educators, who has been collaborating with Newcastle Wine School over the last year on the delivery of WSET courses.
Combined, Newcastle Wine School and Savage have an almost 100 per cent record in getting students from different backgrounds through the qualifications, with the majority achieving a merit or distinction.
David Harker, NWS owner, said: “It’s been great for Newcastle Wine School to support John on his journey through his Level 2 qualification.
“Helen is a fantastic tutor, and will have imparted knowledge to John that will really transform his understanding of wine. And it’s great that this will help to elevate his already stunning gastropub.”
The next WSET Level 2 Award in Wines and Spirits starts on September 14 and runs for 3 consecutive Mondays in central Newcastle. For more information on courses at The Newcastle Wine School and qualifications available, visitwww.newcastlewineschool.com, or call 0191 704 2161.