Formerly a head chef, Christine Parkinson is today one of London’s best-known buyers, having joined the opening team at Hakassan in 2001 and creating its first wine list. She is now heads the group’s wine and sake operations worldwide, having also created one of London’s first major sake lists at Sake No Hana. Sharing her love for both wine and Sake, Parkinson is a WSET Certified Educator, and has run wine and sake courses for Hakkasan staff across three continents, leading Hakkasan Group to win WSET Educator of the Year. She has been called “one of the most creative wine buyers in the UK” by wine guru Jancis Robinson, and is frequently called upon to share her insights on the industry as a guest speaker at beverage conferences worldwide, all while writing numerous articles for trade and consumer press. Here, she looks back on her career, recalling an encounter with Elvis Costello, a run in with a meat cleaver-wielding head waiter and reveals why she could have ended up an astrophysicist.