Sommelier Suraj learned the ropes in Hawke’s Bay
Suraj GC started her journey in hospitality at Elephant Hill. He is now Head Sommelier of Park Hyatt Auckland’s flagship restaurant, Onemata. Photo / Provided
This is the attitude that brought Suraj GC to where he is today.
This is also the reason why he landed at Elephant Hill as an inexperienced butler. They liked his attitude.
Suraj was born and raised in Pokhara, a small town in Nepal.
He has been in New Zealand for almost 12 years and discovered Hawke’s Bay while visiting a friend who was studying here.
“I loved Hawke’s Bay and chose to study at FutureCol in Hastings.”
He said moving to Hastings took a bit of adjusting.
“Everything closed at 5 p.m.,” he laughed.
It was while studying to become a computer engineer that he started working at Elephant Hill.
“I started from zero and learned so much there, that’s what put me on the path to hospitality. The staff and management were just amazing.
“Wine became my passion as I learned. The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn.”
What Suraj learned at Hawke’s Bay took him elsewhere. He is now Head Sommelier of Park Hyatt Auckland’s flagship restaurant, Onemata.
“My mum and dad were surprised by my career choice, but they support me. When I tell them what I do for a living, they raise their eyebrows.”
He says there is always something new to learn in the world of wine.
“There are always new wines and as a sommelier it is my job to know everything about all the wines we serve in the restaurant.”
He and his partner moved to Auckland without a job.
“I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and although Covid has made the hospitality industry very difficult, I love what I do and I’m glad we took the plunge. However, Hawke’s Bay will always be close to my heart. .”
Asked about his wine preferences, he said he “drinks everything”.
“I love everything. Hawke’s Bay wine drinkers have so many exceptional vineyards and wines on their doorstep.
“There’s such a broad spectrum and of course anything goes with champagne.”
He hopes to become a master sommelier one day and says there is “a lot of wine in my future”.
Suraj also expressed dismay at the news of the Black Barn fire.
“Hospo is tough enough without it.”