Bedales, Borough Market, London
At a time when hospitality staff are rather thin on the ground, Mario Sposito, wine director at Bedales, is happy to celebrate the excellence of his front of house team, in particular wine specialist Ernesto Angulo.
“He came to us with some wine knowledge and a wealth of hospitality experience,” Mario explains. “Ernesto has a real passion for wine and I guess when you have someone who is already very interested in the subject, it is much easier to work with them to increase their knowledge.”
Ernesto now hosts training for other members of staff and over lockdown he ran some of the Zoom tastings set up by Bedales for its customers.
“He is probably our strongest wine person in the front-of-house team, not just in terms of knowledge but it’s the joy he has when he talks about wine – it’s infectious,” says Mario.
“He always says to me, ‘I’m really happy when I can share what I learn with colleagues and guests. That is when I feel fulfilled.’
“You cannot train someone to have that connection with guests. He has a natural ability – he is amazing with customers.”
Colombian-born Ernesto has been working in the hospitality industry for the past 13 years in London restaurants and private members’ clubs.
“I was working in cocktails in Colombia, so I have always been orientated towards hospitality,” he says. “I developed my knowledge of wine because I think it plays such an important part in how people connect and enjoy themselves and create memories.
“It is really important for me to understand the atmosphere at the table and what is going on. Are the guests in the mood for a heavy red or do they want something light? That is the fun for me. Wine and emotion are tied very closely together.”
When asked to consider any long-term goals, Ernesto’s thoughts turn to the educational side of things. “I love historical and geographical facts about wine, and its social history,” he says. “I would love to do some research into the origin of winemaking and blends in Europe.
“I would like to travel to Languedoc or eastern European countries, like Georgia, and create a documentary or a guide of some sort.
“I am very happy to continue my career in hospitality and at Bedales I have been given the chance to explore. From all the places I have worked, the variety and the menu choices at Bedales are very much an interpretation of my taste.”
Ernesto wins a bottle of Staglin Family Vineyard Estate Chardonnay 2017, courtesy of Pol Roger Portfolio
If you’d like to nominate a Rising Star, email firstname.lastname@example.org