New West End Sense of Taste manager Peter Cheney has an impressive and varied resume to say the least.
He’s worked as a glassie at the Alexandra Hills Hotel, pool cocktail bartender on Hayman Island, sommelier at one of Brisbane’s finest restaurants and cruised the high seas for eight years as a food and beverage officer. Most recently he was with the Coles Liquor group.
It’s this extensive experience that’s made him feel comfortable and confident in his new role at Sense of Taste, which began about four weeks ago.
“I have experienced the dizzy and crazy heights that go with working at a top restaurant to doing the bulk, everyday tasks,’’ Peter says.
“I can blend both of those together. I am as comfortable selling someone a $7 bottle of Wolf Blass as I am selling a $900 bottle of Grange.’’
Peter also hopes his new role will allow him the time to renew his WSET (Wine Spirit Education Trust) studies, which offers internationally accredited wine and spirit courses.
It was while working on Hayman Island that Peter’s passion for wine developed.
“By day I was working at the pool cocktail bar and at night I was in the silver service bar in the premium restaurant on the island,’’ Peter recalls.
“We even had cocktail trolleys we’d wheel around to the tables. I had a good relationship with the sommelier, sampled some nice wines and knew I wanted to be doing something with wine.’’
His first real wine job was at the River House, in Noosa, under chef David Rayner. On returning to Brisbane, he worked at Tattersalls Club and then the sommelier job came up at the acclaimed Restaurant Two.
“That was the best restaurant I’ve ever worked at, it was certainly a highlight,’’ Peter says.
“Everything had to be excellent and perfect. The kitchen made no mistakes, and we worked very hard on the floor not to make mistakes. It was a great work environment.’’
The next chapter of Peter’s career involved a sea change, working as a sommelier for Princess Cruises.
“It was obviously a big change, I was now working in a very budget-restricted environment, on a massive scale, and was responsible for the liquor budget. I really struggled the first year.’’
Peter spent eight years on cruise ships, moving up the ladder to assistant food and beverage officer. A year working as a cellar hand and in the restaurant at Lowe Wines Mudgee followed before he joined Coles Liquor, where he spent five years before linking with Sense of Taste. I told you he had a varied work history!
Peter’s favourite wines are riesling and pinot, but his manager’s pick for the week is neither of those.
He’s a real fan of Barossa’s Sons of Eden. Their set-up under Corey Ryan and Simon Cowham impresses and they always overdeliver for value.
Sons of Eden’s tribute wines showcase wine styles synonymous with the Barossa and pay tribute to the pioneers, characters and rich tradition of the region.
The Sons of Eden Marschall Shiraz ($28) is rich, rounded and intensely flavoured, finishing with a robust vitality. The Sons of Eden Kennedy ($27) Grenache, Shiraz, Mourvedre combines a blend of fleshy fruits and savoury flavours amid a rounded and textural finish.
Grab yours at Sense of Taste West End and say hi to Peter.