Water Sommelier: Is This The New Trend In Food Professions?

In mid-September the late night talk show host Conan O’Brien interviewed a water sommelier. Never heard of the profession before? You may not be alone, but as you continue in your online culinary arts program, you may want to become familiar with the title. Martin Riese, the general manager of Ray’s Stark Bar in Los Angeles, recently devised a water menu consisting of 20 different items. It’s touted as L.A.’s most extensive water menu, and sells bottles priced from $8 to $16.

Taking a closer look at the 45-page menu, you’ll discover that it tours the world’s natural springs from the Fiji Islands to France and Norway, with other countries in between. It also features the water by brand, showcasing the region in which it was sourced. The menu explains how the Badoit brand of water is naturally carbonated, as it rises in a thermal spring in the Loire region of France. One of the still varieties is the well-known Evian​, which is made from rain and melted water before being filtered through gravel and sandstone in the French Alps in a process that can take up to 15 years to complete.

Additional information in the menu talks about the water contents, detailing how much sodium, magnesium and calcium are found in each bottle. L.A. seems to have a firm grip on the international water market, but what about other areas?

Michael Mascha has been a big name in the scene for years. He published the book “Fine Waters,” which profiles bottles from around the world. In an interview with the international publication EDE Online, he noted how he switched to water in 2002 after following advice from his cardiologist. Mascha says he invented the water sommelier title and spoke of the acceptance of its connoisseurs now running parallel to wine enthusiasts. Additionally, he recommends drinking water at room temperature to enjoy the full flavor.

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