For a Cape Town born and raised local, working at ‘Cape Town’s best address’ is extremely inspiring, and as sommelier for The Table Bay, Jonathan Wakefield is living his dream.
“Not only is it the best address, but it has the best people. I love my work and enjoy my colleagues as well as our many regulars. As soon as you walk in the doors you realise the high standards the hotel holds itself to. It feels like being at home, but better than home, if you know what I mean. It is a special place,” said the 31-year-old, who was promoted to Sommelier at The Table Bay in December last year, after joining the five-star Sun International property in the V&A Waterfront in 2017 as a Food and Beverage Supervisor. His new role will see him responsible for everything beverage related in the hotel’s lounges, restaurants and the Union Bar, as well as overseeing the wine cellar.
Wakefield has enjoyed working with award-winning TV chef Siba Mtongana, who has operated her first restaurant, the eponymous Siba, which opened at The Table Bay at the end of last year. “Siba’s food is fantastic and wonderful to pair with wines,” he said of the pop-up restaurant. Siba has been so successful that its run has been extended until the end of April.
“I have been interested in food, wine and spirits for as long as I can remember, but my journey started in 2013 while I was working on a luxury cruise liner.”Cruising the world to all seven continents while becoming a sommelier on-board the ship sounds like a dream job for many people, and Wakefield relished the experience. “I’d love to return one day but I’m married now, with a one-year-old, and it is a job for someone who’s single.”
He holds a Court of Master Sommeliers certified level qualification and aims to complete the Advanced Level once overseas travel is permitted.
“I am building a new wine list, and am looking forward to introducing new, lesser-known cultivars like albarino or pinot grigio. While we cater for international guests and have a number of international wines, we do have a Proudly South African focus and stock local award-winning wines made on our doorstep.” Wakefield is excited to host private wine tastings in the wine cellar.
Wakefield does not have a favourite beverage but says he is partial to a glass of red in winter, a glass of dry rose in summer, “but won’t say no to a peaty whisky or a margarita”.
“Becoming a sommelier was the next part of my personal journey with the industry. It is a specialised position that is recognised and respected globally. With the world of wine and food pairing constantly changing and evolving, there is very little chance of me ever becoming bored.”