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Sixteen candles: Simon Amos on Hilton Beijing’s Food & Wine Experience

philip osenton awesometon at hilton beijing china world glass holding record (7)
The antics of Philip ‘Awesometon’ Osenton represent a particular highlight for the Hilton’s Simon Amos.

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The annual Food & Wine Experience at Hilton Beijing is impressive both for its track record — sixteen years and counting — and for the vast array of wines it brings together. It ranks among the “must go” events for wine consumers in our fair city. I talked to Simon Amos about this year’s edition, slated for November 2.

What’s different about this year’s event?

We have more wines than any previous year in the history of the Hilton Beijing Food and Wine Experience. The entire third floor is already nearly fully booked with many old and new beverage suppliers with literally thousands of wines, beers, spirits and so on. Expect some great food as well as training sessions throughout the day delivered by ASC Fine Wines, Vandergeeten and The Wine Republic.

There are so many wines. What is your suggested strategy for managing all of those choices?

Arrive as early as possible after a large breakfast, pace yourself, and occasionally use the spittoons available, but challenge yourself to sample each and every wine. Take notes as you might not remember the following day. [I think he might be kidding about trying over 1000 wines. - Ed]

The Hilton Beijing is donating an overnight stay in the presidential suite as a contest prize on this blog [details shortly]. What would you say to the winner?

What can I say? Do I need to empty the private bar and remove the Bang and Olufsen sound system? Is in-room breakfast required the following morning? Do you need a wake-up call?

This is your fifth Food & Wine Experience. What’s been the biggest highlight?

I have enjoyed every single one that I have been involved with over the last five years. It is a lot of work each year but it has been great to see the event grow bigger and bigger with a diverse range of food and beverage suppliers and also visitors.

The world famous Philip Osenton, who cost me a fortune in broken glasses last year practicing for the world record for glass holding, has to be top of the list. I asked him to come back this year to do the same with plates. He politely declined.

Some of my biggest highlights will have to be kept secret. There are always a few scandalous stories from the event!

If people want to get tickets ahead of time, what should they do?

Tickets are available from the Hilton Beijing Food and Beverage office, email shirley.shi1@hilton.com or call 5865-5125. Tickets will also be available soon at www.sendmetickets.com.

Note: The Food & Wine Experience is 1 PM to 7 PM on November 2. Tickets are rmb190 for the tasting or rmb280 with buffet lunch (until 2 PM) or dinner (5:30-7 PM).