Starting his journey as what he described as an “average student” in class, Kevin Yee soon took over the cellar, as seniors left, leaving it empty. “Thus, by a stroke of chance, I started handling the massive wine cellar, doing the daily inventory, seeing all the
labels one by one. It opened my eyes to a world that was so much bigger and vibrant than what I learnt in those wine classes, due to the resort’s extensive collection.”
To Yee, the process of getting accustomed to the labels is somewhat akin to working in a library, checking facts and understanding a product’s back story. Wanting to test his knowledge, he took exams after exams under the Wine and Spirit Education Trust. Lo and behold, he passed
each one, further cementing his belief that he was on the right track.
A certified sommelier representative for the state of Pahang, Yee trains junior sommeliers for the resort, which he claims, “…as a rather surreal moment for me. Some of my trainees have also attained the highest exam results in their classes.”
Yee now has the enviable position as the wine keeper of The Olive’s unrivalled wine cellars, which includes some of the rarest and most exclusive wines in the world.
Kevin works closely with Chef Steven Chou to create exquisite wine
Yee is also in charge of wine procurement, a process that is rather complex to the untrained eye. “Every half year or every few months, we will do a study of the dishes in demand. It’s the same process with the wine procurement; we will procure wine labels according
to the guests’ demands. We also need to focus on the coming trends,” Yee explained.
This process ensures a good mix of customers’ favourites, trending labels and also a nice selection of labels that are the sommelier’s choice. “These ‘passion labels’ are the ones we will recommend to guests. Once we’ve come up with a good list, it is then presented
to the management.”
Yee has done what each and every one of us covertly wishes to be able to do in our lifetime; he has gone through the wringer and has managed to make his passion his work.
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