As of this Wednesday, Canada's contingent of Master Sommeliers consisted of three Toronto-based wine experts: John Szabo, Bruce Wallner, and Jennifer Huether. The trio is now a quartet—consultant and part-time Maison Boulud sommelière Élyse Lambert joined the ranks after the successful completion of her Level IV exam in Aspen yesterday. There were seven new recipients of the illustrious diploma in all. The Master Sommelier club is exclusive; only about 215 individuals in the world hold the distinction, the vast majority of whom are men.
The Montreal-born Lambert has a diploma in hotel management from the Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec and a sommelier degree from l’École Hôtelière des Laurentides. Her résumé includes the Relais & Châteaux L’Eau à la bouche in Sainte-Adèle, Auberge Hatley in North Hatley, XO at Le St-James Hotel, and Le Local. She now consults as a freelancer and works part-time at the Ritz-Carlton’s Maison Boulud. Lambert's trophy case includes Quebec’s Best Sommelier 2004 and third-best in Canada in 2006. She won Best Sommelier of the Americas in Buenos Aires in 2009, and represented Canada at the Best Sommelier of the World Competition in 2010, in Chile, where she finished in the top 12.