The Secret to a successful career as a Sommelier

From the sunny coast of Durban to the tropical Seychelles, 24-year-old Brandon Kriel is making his mark in the hospitality industry. Graduating with his Hospitality Management Diploma with American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute recognition from the International Hotel School Durban Campus, Brandon moved to Centurion where he started working as a Banqueting Supervisor at Khaya Ibhubesi in Parys. He was then contacted by Olivier, the Head Sommelier at Constance Ephelia in the Seychelles, who invited Brandon to join his team. “This was an obvious YES and I possibly did a few cartwheels in between with excitement,” laughs Brandon.

Once Brandon had obtained his working visa it was all systems go! He then flew to the Seychelles and began working as a Level 3 Commis Sommelier. When asked what he loves most about the hospitality industry, Brandon smiled and replied, “The hospitality industry allows you the opportunity to learn and grow on a daily basis. If you don’t do this you are not seeing the opportunities available to you in the industry. You need to adapt and change as the industry does. I love the fact that I get to meet and connect with people from all over the world.”

“What I loved most about the International Hotel School is the quality practical experience that you receive during your studies: the school is associated with top hospitality establishments in South Africa. This allows you many employment opportunities after completing your programme. I have always had an innate ability to connect with people and a love for hospitality. To be honest, I never envisioned myself working in the industry, but once I started I knew this was what I was meant for and I have not looked back ever since. To all the students who have registered this year, you need to realise that the International Hotel School provides you with the best platform in South Africa to excel in the hospitality industry globally. With the correct mental attitude and networking abilities you can go anywhere in the world once you have graduated. Keep your head down, work hard and let your life be taken into 6th gear,” says Brandon.

2019 has been a busy year for Brandon, but he has set himself a list of goals, one of them includes furthering his studies within the Sommelier field. He hopes to obtain a Wine & Spirit Educational Trust (WSET) Level 1 and 2 by the end of this year.


Stephan Lagesse, the Hotel Manager at Constance Prince Maurice in Mauritius has played a huge role in Brandon’s love for the industry. “The manner in which Mr Lagesse conducts himself and the vision as well as the passion that he shares for the industry is something that I have never seen in anyone else before.  Since I completed my internship at the hotel, he has become not only my role model, but also my mentor.  These are the words that I would like to leave you with: remain humble and teachable. Give your all in every opportunity that presents itself,” concludes Brandon.

Explain your role and responsibilities as a Commis Sommelier Level 3 in Constance Ephelia, Seychelles:

  1. At this level I provide a service to any guest in the hotel who requires professional wine service.
  2. My role includes, but is not limited to: Making suggestions based on guest preferences, pairing wine that matches the guest choice of cuisine, providing complete drinks service at the highest professional level (this includes all beverages during service, not only wine)
  3. Mis en Place for service: polishing of glasses, receiving of requisitions and placing in the correct area in the outlet cellar, updating wine lists when necessary, keeping track of out of stock items, setting up restaurants for service, updating inventory daily, ensuring back-of-house area is kept neat and ready for service and conducting training when necessary)
  4. At my level I also have the opportunity to work in multiple outlets when needed, taking sole responsibility for the outlet during lunch and dinner service.
  5. At the moment I have been placed in charge of the main buffet restaurant while my superior is on annual leave, which means that I have taken over his role during this period. It has been one of the toughest experience thus far, but I have loved every moment of it. The chance to lead a team of three Commis Sommeliers and take control of every aspect of a restaurant’s operation from the Sommeliers side has been an invaluable experience.

If you would like to enrol for one of our Hospitality Management Programmes at our nationwide campuses, email us at or click here to request  call back: Visit to view our programmes.