our team

Byron P. Catéchis Director & DeanByron teaches in: French, German, English and Italian languages

WSET® Educator for the following Wine and Spirit Education Trust qualifications:

  • Level 1 Award in Wine
  • Level 2 Award in Wine
  • Level 3 Award in Wines
  • Level 1 Award in Spirits
  • Level 2 Award in Spirits
Internal Assessor for the following Wine and Spirit Education Trust levels:

  • Level 1 Award in Wine
  • Level 1 Award in Spirits
  • Level 3 Award in Wines

Member of the following judging panels:

  • Concours suisse des produits du terroir
  • Forum Romand des eaux-de-vie, Switzerland (spirits)
  • International Wine and Spirit Competition, UK (wine & spirits)
  • Sélection des vins de Neuchâtel, (wine)
  • Schweizer Schnapsforum, Switzerland (spirits)
  • Distisuisse 2017, Switzerland
  • International Wine Challenge 2016

Professional Experience:

Over 20 years of experience in the 4 to 5 Star Deluxe hotel and Michelin Star segment. To date involved in 5 hotel and 1 restaurant openings which included the Dorchester in London, The Louis C. Jacob in Hamburg, a Hotel in East Africa (part of an international hotel chain) among others. 

Johanna Dayer

Johanna teaches in the French and English languages

Johanna has been interested in wine since passing her Swiss Matura diploma and continued in this path on her way to gaining her Bachelor degree with the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne. She has completed the various levels of the Wine and Spirit Education Trust qualifications, including the WSET® Level 4 Diploma.

Now having completed her exams on the Masters of Wine programme, she now has to complete her thesis. Johanna has managed to keep herself busy by also studying for a Masters in Digital Marketing and Communication in Geneva. Johanna is currently also involved in the production and marketing of Clos Tsampehro in Valais. Johanna  also consults for a wine producer in Provence, France.

Johanna teaches winemaking on our WSET® Level 3 Award in Wines for both the English and French language courses as well as runs our courses in Lausanne.

alann gauciAlann Gauci

Alann teaches in the French and English languages

Alann is currently the Sales Manager at Maison Mathieu Vins, where he began eight years ago after spending fifteen years working in luxury hotels as Wine Director or Director of Food and Beverage. From New York to Geneva, by way of Antigua in the Caribbean, his passion for wine led him receive the Wine Spectator Grand Award in 2002 at the St. Regis Hotel in New York. In 2006, the same magazine gave the Award of Excellence for his work on the wine list of the fine dining restaurant at the President Wilson Hotel in Geneva.A certified Sommelier by the Sommelier Society of America (est. 1954) and recipient of the WSET® Level 4 Diploma in Wine & Spirits, Alann enjoys wines from across the world which are faithful to their terroir- from Burgundy, to Piedmont, South Africa or California.Alann teaches on the WSET® Level 2 in Wines and also the WSET® Level 3 in Wines courses for us.

Katharina Jans

Katharina teaches in the German language

Katharina originally completed her apprenticeship as a restaurant professional. Since her studies as a food technologist, she has gained practical experience in wineries in Neuchâtel, Italy and New Zealand. She is currently working on various research projects in viticulture and oenology as a trainee at the Wädenswil Wine Centre. Her next goal is to complete the WSET® Level 4 Diploma.

Katharina teaches the WSET® Level 2 in Wines.

Our Resident Craft Brewer:  
Thomas Eldridge

Thomas teaches in the English and French language our practical brewing courses

A Brewer specialising in the craft sector, Thomas has experience brewing in the UK and Switzerland. After his studies with the IBD he has occupied the post as head brewer in a regional craft brewery in Switzerland since October 2017 and participates regularly in beer judging competitions around Europe.

Thomas will be running our practical beer production courses. Watch our course dates page for details of the next practical courses!

Our team for distilling: will be finalised and announced in the coming months
Our Sake experts:  

Natsuki Romano-Kikuya

Natsuki teaches in the English and Japanese language

Born into a family that has been running a Sake brewery in Akita, and a Buddhist temple in Toyama prefecture, both on north-west side of Japan where is nourished with the best ingredients from the mountain and the ocean, and where winter can be severely cold. During her school years in the United States, Natsuki spent most of her time dealing with international volunteering works and documentary film making featuring the boarder issues between the US and Latin American countries. Natsuki went back to Japan and worked 2 and half years at the business and HR consulting firm called Motivation Inc. in Ginza Tokyo.Her Sake journey, to trace the path of her family roots, had started in 2009.
Natsuki had worked as a “Sake sommelier” at Zuma & Roka restaurant in London, UK, and in 2013. she had launched “Museum of Sake”, the Sake PR and Education agency to introduce and promote Sake to European markets.
Natsuki is helping to set up and will teach at WSET Level 1 & Level 3 Award in Sake launching in August 2014.• Sake sommelier certified at Sake Service Institute (SSI)
• WSET Level 3 Award in Wine (2013)
• Sake Communicator Award 2011 winner by Sake Samurai and International Wine Challenge (IWC)
• Sake judge at IWC Sake Category since 2011
• Executive Sake sommelier at Sake Experience and Sake Award hosted by Hyper Japan since 2012
• WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust) The Sake Qualification Development Manager
• Bibendum Wine Sake advisor

Honami Matsumoto

Honami teaches in the English and Japanese language

Honami has been working with sake for nearly 15 years and is a Kikisakeshi-qualified sake sommelier, WSET-certified educator for Sake Level 3, Wine Level 1, Level 2 and an International Wine Challenge(IWC) Panel Judge in the sake category.Having trained at Leith’s School of Food & Wine and Le Cordon Bleu, Honami is a qualified sommelier and has worked at some of London’s renowned places including luxury wine and spirits merchant Hedonism Wines.Honami has planned and hosted numerous number of exciting sake events at Hedonism Wines and beyond, many of which had sake and food matching with various renowned restaurants and chefs in London.

Honami created House of Sake to provide carefully selected accessories, events, promotion and sake education to the UK and beyond.

Our canine teaching assistants you will probably meet either Merlin or Arthur in one of our classes. They are trained (or in the process of being trained) to reduce your stress levels 
 The school’s mascot: Merlin Merlin joined the team on the 21st of September 2018 as a puppy (10 weeks old). You might see him at one of our courses in a stress reducing capacity… You will probably see him sleeping in a corner…
Arthur is our newest member and still in training… Arthur is our newest team member, still in training he joined us on the 9th of March 2020. He will hopefully follow in Merlin’s footsteps in the stress reducing capacity. You will probable meet either him or Merlin in your next class…


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