Conference Preview: Amazing Sake and Cheese Pairings

Today we have a Conference Preview from Toshio Ueno, certified Master of Sake. Toshio describes his session “Amazing Sake and Cheese Pairing,” to be presented at SWE’s 40th Annual Conference, and tells us about his journey to becoming a Master of Sake.


Yes, Sake can be paired with cheese. If you think SAKE should only be paired with Japanese food, think again. Through Sake’s unique multiple parallel fermentation using Koji (microbe) and yeast, Sake retains a good deal of lactic acid – which everyone know is also a main component of cheese. In this seminar, let’s discover how different style of cheeses and Sakes can be paired, to give you an idea for your next Sake & Wine pairing dinner.

Toshio Ueno is certified Master of Sake, Master Sake Sommelier, and Shochu Sommelier. Toshio is currently the only person in the world to hold Master of Sake (酒匠), Master Sake Sommelier (日本酒学講師), and WSET Sake Educator diploma. Born in Japan where his family has grown Koshu grapes for generations, Toshio grew up helping in the family business from a young age.

Following his college education in the US and employment at an international trading company in Tokyo, Toshio joined Chateraise, a pastry and wine company as Director of Sales. There, he was put in charge of overseeing the personal wine collection of the company’s president, which intrigued him to enter the world of wine stewardship and research. Toshio joined Mutual Trading Company in 2002, where he is Manger of the Business Development Department in marketing Japanese foods, Jizake, and Shochu to the mainstream American trade. With his passion and expertise in Jizake, Shochu, and Wine, Toshio aims to further promote Japanese food and Sake cultures to new, international audiences.

He has been Vice President & Executive Instructor at Sake School of America, which offers two Sake classes (Sake Adviser, Sake Sommeliers). Toshio has taught over 800 students since 2010 and has been a guest lecturer at Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, Napa Valley College and Cal Poly Pomona Collins College of Hospitality. Most recently he has lead a sake and shochu Master Class at the “Taste of Japan” at 2016 Culinary Institute of America Sommelier Summit in Napa.

Toshio’s session will be offered on Thursday, August 11th at 1:30 pm as part of SWE’s 40th Annual Conference.


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