Pier-Alexis Soulière: strength in subtlety
1. How did you prepare for this North American competition? Was it different from preparing for the Meilleur sommelier du Québec, or the Canadian competition? What are the differences between those, and this continent-wide competition?
“I think preparing for each competition is always different, you need to adjust and learn from past experiences. The environment also changes. For me, it was a lot easier to prepare at home than to prepare somewhere else.”
2. How come your preparation here was easier than elsewhere, or abroad?
“Since the competition is being held here in Montréal, I don’t have to deal with jet lag or time changes, so I feel good! There’s also exceptional support from our association—that means so much to me!”
3. What element of the competition makes you the most nervous? What sort of thing would be the most embarrassing thing for a competitor here?
“Embarrassment would be not knowing the answer to a question posed to you—and it’s possible that might happen! Each time I study for these competitions I learn new things, so as a result, you just have to make peace with the fact that you can’t control everything.”
4. Do you have a pre-competition ritual? Unusual tips you’d like to share?
“A ritual… no! It’s more than a ritual! My advantage is being healthy and staying healthy, and surrounding myself with people who have positive energy. Those kinds of supports are the things that will help you win competitions. For me, its very important to be balanced and in tune before a competition.”
5. If you win this competition, you’re headed to the International event next year. If you win this event and title, would you take a rest or immediately start getting ready for next year?
“After the competition, we’ll see—now that the summer is here, there are a lot of fun things everyone wants to do. That said, after the competition, I’ll be heading to eat a poutine! Eating an amazing poutine where that famous Québec food began would be fantastic!”
6. What does your life look like when you’re getting ready for this type of competition? How do you maintain relationships with friends, family, and so on?
“I suppose you’d have to ask them about that (laugh)! To accomplish great things, sometimes you need to sacrifice… but I believe that the real trick is maintaining a balance. The people who surround you also play an important role. I‘ve also noticed that I personally feel better when I’m well rested, when I’ve been able to spend time with others. It takes effort for sure, but I don’t want to become wine-obsessed; at that point, it’s no longer interesting.”