Press Room Group wine director Kavita Faiella was born in Kandy, Sri Lanka. Her Australian parents spent several years living in South Asia, hence her Hindi first name, which means 'poetry'. The family moved back to Australia when she was four and, after completing school there, she briefly studied medicine with a view to becoming a paediatrician. While travelling in Italy, however, she discovered the joys of food and wine, and decided to study to become a master sommelier. She worked in several locations in Asia for the Hilton and Aman hotel groups before moving to Hong Kong. How did you come to join the Press Room Group? I met Paulo Pong, who owns Altaya, the wine importer, and is one of the owners of the Press Room Group, on a trip to Bordeaux. I was there with my mentor, Jancis Robinson, and I met Paulo at a dinner at Chateau Cos d'Estournel - the French are very good at putting the right people on the right tables. I knew I wanted to be in Hong Kong because I'd spent six years in Asia without spending time here, and I was looking for something. Six months ago, I started working for Paulo. What does your job as the group's wine director involve? It's very different here to what I was previously doing in very glamorous resorts. In the Maldives, I had to look after seven restaurants and three bars, and then with Aman I had up to 10 hotels at a time to look after. Here, I look at each restaurant as a single entity. My job is to make sure that there are different concepts throughout the group. Obviously, there are six Classifieds [wine bars with this name], but there are four others. I have to create concept lists that enhance those restaurants. What concepts are you developing? Since I got here, the Press Room has moved to a 100 per cent French list to really enhance that French brasserie-style feel. We've opened the News Room, and that, being global in theme, has a global wine selection which we've done varietally in alphabetical order. There are lots of interesting grapes there. There are some bizarre grape varieties such as assyrtiko that most people don't even know about. I'm in the process of reworking The Pawn's wine list. It's going to have a more organic, biodynamic content. It's our flagship space, and we have the garden there. The organic and biodynamic movement is becoming more and more important in the rest of the wine world, but it doesn't seem to me like anybody is really focusing on it here in Hong Kong. It's supposedly an English pub, but are there any English wines? Yes, there'll be Chapel Down from Tenterden [southeast England]. English sparkling wine is obviously getting better and better. Because it's an English gastropub we'll always have an English focus there. Why did you sit the master sommelier's exams? When I first decided I wanted to be a sommelier I took a two-year certified course - one which is not recognised internationally but is recognised in Australia. When I moved to the Maldives, I started the master sommelier's course; that's done in four levels. I did the first and the second year while I worked in the Maldives. You can either do the English branch or the American branch and I chose the English, so I flew in and out of London to do the exams. The Court of Master Sommeliers is really an examination body. They don't teach you. They tell you what you'll be examined on and there's a syllabus, to a certain extent, but you teach yourself. The American and the English branches are joined and it's master sommeliers who examine. Once you've passed the second level you are a globally certified sommelier, and it is a professional qualification. There are a lot of people who call themselves sommeliers who are actually wine waiters. That's one of the problems in this field. People get to call themselves whatever they want a lot of the time. How long will it take you to finish? Last year I passed the theoretical component of the fourth level, which is the most difficult. There are three components and you have three years at the fourth level to pass all of those, the theory, the practical and the tasting. This October I'll go back and do the practical. Hopefully, I'll be a master sommelier by November.