The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay Announces Polakovicova Earns Advanced Sommelier Certification

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The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay Sommelier Petra Polakovicova passed the Court of Master Sommeliers’ Advanced Sommelier Exam. She is now one of only 325 Advanced Sommeliers in the United States.

Petra Polakovicova, Sommelier, The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay

Taking this exam was one of the most difficult things I have ever done.

The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay Sommelier Petra Polakovicova passed the Court of Master Sommeliers’ Advanced Sommelier Exam. She is now one of only 325 Advanced Sommeliers in the United States.

“We are extremely proud of Petra and her dedication to her craft,” said James Cole, Hotel Manager/Director of Food & Beverage for The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay. “Petra’s passion for the industry and clear enjoyment of helping others learn more about wine make her the perfect ambassador, and we are truly honored that she will continue to share her knowledge and enthusiasm with our guests here at the resort,” added Cole.

The Advanced Certification Exam is a three-day exam that was taken by 47 candidates from 23 states and three countries. Petra was one of seven candidates to pass and one of four that passed taking the exam for the first time.

“Taking this exam was one of the most difficult things I have ever done,” proclaims Polakovicova. “When the Master Sommelier called me in and told me that I had passed, I was so excited. It was such an incredible feeling; it was like a dream. It took a few days for it to really sink in. I guess I am proof that if you really want something, you can achieve it with a lot of hard work and dedication,” she added.

The Advanced Examination is exponentially more challenging than the Certified Sommelier Examination, and a required step in the progression toward the Master Sommelier Diploma. Sommeliers are expected to have a high level of preparation in terms of theory knowledge, blind tasting skills, and practical restaurant service before sitting the class and examination. The Court of Master Sommeliers was established to encourage improved standards of beverage knowledge and service in hotels and restaurants. Education was then, and remains today, the Court’s charter. The first successful Master Sommelier examination was held in the United Kingdom in 1969. By April 1977, the Court of Master Sommeliers was established as the premier international examining body.

Polakovicova’s vision crafts the wine and beverage program for the entire resort including the signature restaurant Navio, the wine tasting room ENO, The Conservatory, and The Ocean Terrace. A native of the Slovak Republic, her passion for food and wine was cultivated by her parents who she says taught her appropriate dining etiquette, how to properly set a table, and how to be the best host to your guests – all important components in the sommelier exam. Polakovicova earned her Sommelier Certification from the Professional Culinary Institute and also holds certifications including Wine & Spirits Education Trust Intermediate Certificate and French Wine Scholar.

Polakovicova started her restaurant career at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco as an assistant restaurant manager and her love for working in the food and wine industry has taken her to such acclaimed establishments as The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco and the W San Francisco. Most recently, Petra was instrumental in the opening of Epic Roasthouse where she was responsible for creating and maintaining the 450-bottle wine list and rotating a selection of 26 wines by the glass, earning the Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator.

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About The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay
Situated 23 miles southwest of the San Francisco International Airport, The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay is a 261-room destination spa and golf coastal hotel and the San Francisco Bay Area’s only oceanfront resort. Set atop a rugged bluff overlooking 50 miles of pristine California coastline, the timeless oceanfront estate provides guests with a relaxed yet refined experience, whether for a romantic getaway, meeting or special event. For more information, please contact The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay at 650-712-7000. For room reservations, contact your travel professional, visit ritzcarlton.com/hmb or call Ritz-Carlton worldwide reservations at 800-241-3333. Visit experiencehalfmoonbay.com to learn more about the destination.

About The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C.
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., of Chevy Chase, Md., currently operates 86 hotels in the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean. More than 30 hotel and residential projects are under development around the globe. The Ritz-Carlton is the only service company to have twice earned the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, an award that originated in 1987. Its purpose is to promote the awareness of quality excellence, recognize quality achievements of companies and publicize successful quality strategies. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company won the award in 1992 and 1999. For more information, or reservations, contact a travel professional, call toll free in the U.S. 1-800-241-3333, or visit the company web site at http://www.ritzcarlton.com. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Marriott International, Inc.

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