Two Minutes with Miriam McLachlan

By Elspeth Nielson
10th Jul 2012

Miriam McLachlan has forged an impressive career. Honing her skills as a sommelier across several continents, she has spent time in some of the UK's and Australia's top restaurants. A three year stint in UK restaurant Zuma, lead to her developing an appreciation in not only Japanese cuisine, but in the art of sake.

A 2010 sea change saw her back on Australian soil where she now shares her knowledge as Saké Restaurant & Bar's sommelier. Sake expert, trained actor, and an almost yoga instructor we took two minutes with the very talented Miriam McLachlan. 

TUL: Describe in one sentence what you do for work? 

All things wine and sake for the Urban Purveyor Group (parent company behind Saké); talking it, writing it, selling it and yes, tasting it.

TUL: What is the most exciting part of your job? 

Visiting wine regions and meeting the people that make it happen. 

TUL: Where did you work prior to Sake Restaurant & Bar?

Zuma restaurant in London, UK.

TUL: What is one thing people should know about Sake (the drink)?

It's not a spirit! Seek out some labeling terms for guidance and try it; it could be a revelation!

TUL: If you weren't working in your profession, what other career would you choose? 

I am actually a trained actor, but my love of wine and the associated food and travel elements of sommeliering were far more attractive as a profession. I'm also about to gain my qualification as a yoga instructor. In a parallel world, I would also love to practice as a speech pathologist. I believe enhancing someone's ability and capacity to communicate would be highly rewarding.  

TUL: What is your career highlight (so far)?

Being on the judging panel for Decanter UK.

TUL: Describe your style. 

Professional, approachable and enthusiastic.

TUL: If you could have a super power what would it be, and why? 

To heal. Imagine being able to give someone their health back!

TUL: The last thing you purchased?

Chantilly lace for my wedding dress.

TUL: Best way to spend $50? 

Yoga session and a decent bottle of wine.

TUL: And the best way to spend $500? 

Necessities aside, I'd spend it on flights to somewhere I've never been.

TUL: 3 great reads? Or musicians/albums you have on high rotation?

1. Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis Bernières: a heartbreakingly beautiful tale told with terrific literary skill-a lot darker than the movie.

2. The Church Mice books by Graham Oakley: deliciously funny stories and illustrations for young and old

3. The New France by Andrew Jefford; a wine book that is thought provoking and features beautiful photography.

TUL: What was the last song you downloaded?

"Sing" by Travis.  I heard it the other day on the radio and it evokes really fond memories of my friend and I dancing around our empty flat when I was leaving for London 10 years ago.

TUL: The best gift that you have ever received? 

My most precious tabby cat- Isadora McGib. 

TUL: The best gift that you have ever given? 

My blood.

TUL: What would you request for your last meal on earth? 

Every kind of shellfish fresh from the ocean and ripe mangoes for dessert. 

Saké Restaurant and Bar
Where: Level 1 Eagle Street Pier | 45 Eagle Street in Brisbane CBD
Contact: 07 3015 0557

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