Get to Know Your Western Regional Finalists!

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Let’s all give a warm welcome to some of the Western mixologists who will be moving forward to the Regional Competition. Three Finalists form each region will go forward to compete at our National Finals.

We invited the finalists to tell us a little about themselves and their experience with World Class. 

 


 

Michael Cadden

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Following the live or online Bartender Lab: Do you feel that this education helped to advance your skills, or change your mindset when working at your bar?

I believe all education and experience benefits advances your skills, even if thru repetition.

 

What is the best bartending advice you received?

Smile and be courteous to everyone, have empathy and treat every customer as if they are an old friend.

 

What is the best compliment anyone could give you?

You look like Tim Curry, Not the old one, the transvestite from The Rocky Horror movie.


Harry Chin

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Following the live or online Bartender Lab: Do you feel that this education helped to advance your skills, or change your mindset when working at your bar?

Yes. It actually further solidified the mindset I already had when working behind the bar. It is good to have that. 

 

Do you have any rituals right before competition time?

Practice and research.

 

What's the simplest thing you've never mastered?

Playing guitar


 

Karina Martinez

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Following the live or online Bartender Lab: Do you feel that this education helped to advance your skills, or change your mindset when working at your bar?

 

The World Class Labs always offer an opportunity to progress. Sensory labs and hands on challenges present scenarios that allow us to examine our industry in a new perspective.  With so many bartenders coming together the networking and team building continue to progress you to different paths of thoughts and problem solving.  The labs that may seem redundant or streamlined to those that works at top level bars still allow refinement, finesse, and teaching opportunities.

 

What is the best compliment anyone could give you?

Trust in making them a cocktail that stretches their tastes and preferences.

 

What's the simplest thing you've never mastered?

Patience behind the bar... maybe not mastered, but I have definitely come a long way.


 

Joel Pfeifle

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Following the live or online Bartender Lab: Do you feel that this education helped to advance your skills, or change your mindset when working at your bar?

Yes, it definitely gave me a different way to think about inspiration for cocktails.

 

What is the best compliment anyone could give you?

That I have made some sort of impact on their life in a positive way.

 

What's the simplest thing you've never mastered?

Walking. I seriously trip over air all the time.  


 

Darwin Pornel 

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Following the live or online Bartender Lab: Do you feel that this education helped to advance your skills, or change your mindset when working at your bar?

Definitely, it always helps to be in an educational environment, especially when the speakers have such a wealth of knowledge and experience.

 

Do you have any rituals right before competition time?

Get really nervous, chug a glass of water, re-tuck my shirt, and take a deep breath.

 

What's the simplest thing you've never mastered?

I think the simplest thing I've never mastered is organizing my emails into folders efficiently.


 

Tyler Richardson

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Following the live or online Bartender Lab: Do you feel that this education helped to advance your skills, or change your mindset when working at your bar?

This lab was definitely an eye opener. It showed me how developed people's palates are becoming and why it is so important to have brand knowledge. It showed me to showcase and accent the flavor profiles that are already in these beautiful spirits, whether it be the vanilla notes you get from Don Julio or the spicy notes you get from a Bulleit High rye bourbon. It also showed me how many talented bartenders are out there working hard to improve our craft. It definitely inspired me to step my game up and strive every day to be a better bartender than I was the day before. I would highly recommend this lab to bartenders even if you aren't looking to compete. It's a wealth of knowledge you can't put a price on. 

 

What is the best compliment anyone could give you?

I like the way you shake


Mark Sassi

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Following the live or online Bartender Lab: Do you feel that this education helped to advance your skills, or change your mindset when working at your bar?

Yes.  I love learning how others evaluate spirits and think about the applications in a culinary aspect.

 

What is the best bartending advice you received?

Look up.  Don't get so focused on the drinks you make.  Make sure you stay focused on the guests' experience. 

 

What is the best compliment anyone could give you?

I wish that more bartenders were like you.


 

Jason Seele

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Following the live or online Bartender Lab: Do you feel that this education helped to advance your skills, or change your mindset when working at your bar?

The bartender labs are great tools to utilize to help enhance your bartending abilities. They encourage you to think outside the box and challenge you to become more innovative with your cocktail creations. There is a lot that can be learned from these seminars. From a new bartender starting in our industry to the most seasoned vet, there is something to be gained for everyone. 

 

Do you have any rituals right before competition time?

I take a few minutes to breathe and go over my steps in sequence. I visualize the bar, how it's set up, where my tools are, and walk through the steps in my head. This helps me prepare for what's to come. The goal is to shake off the nervousness and hopefully execute a seamless competition round. (In theory... hahaha!)


 

Massio Stronati 

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Following the live or online Bartender Lab: Do you feel that this education helped to advance your skills, or change your mindset when working at your bar?

I think that attending the online bartender lab I have had the chance to learn something more about Diageo Reserve Portfolio and World Class word as you know there is always something to learn...

 

What is the best bartending advice you've received?

Probably the general information about the products, so to have the chance to use that in the best way possible to create an unforgettable guest experience.

 

What's the simplest thing you've never mastered?

I'm still learning, and this is helpful and makes me to be still interested and focused on my work!


Nonna Titulauri

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Following the live or online Bartender Lab: Do you feel that this education helped to advance your skills, or change your mindset when working at your bar?

Absolutely. I find the labs to be very inspiring and they help enhance my motivation to explore and learn new techniques and combinations of flavors. The Webinars are great too as a building block foundation to remind you about the basics and spirit identities to help you find better flavor pairings. I have my barbacks watch those videos before we do a spirit type tasting.

 

What is the best bartending advice you received?

Have fun. My lead bartender gave me that advice when I was transitioning from barbacking to bartending. Yes, to some it's a temporary job, but to others it's a career. We're doing a very simple job to make someone smile. Enjoy what you do and people will reciprocate that.

 

Do you have any rituals right before competition time?

Not really. But I have to remind myself to drink water. Makes me think more clearly and keeps me relaxed.I used to get anxious about my turn and presenting in front of the judges, but the more I did it, the more I would get used to it and it wouldn't seem so scary anymore. Additionally, over the years I've met more and more industry veterans and trend setters, so when it turns out some of them are my judges, it doesn't even feel like a competition, because I feel more like home knowing those people and I treat it more as a demo from my end to get constructive criticism from people I know, no judging involved.


Jorge Vargas-Baquedano

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Following the live or online Bartender Lab: Do you feel that this education helped to advance your skills, or change your mindset when working at your bar?

Definitely both. The Bartender Lab gave us a lot of information about the brands and how to execute the best experience for the guest. Also during the live session, we were practicing Dealer's choice cocktails and sharing information with the group. 

 

What's the simplest thing you've never mastered?

I've never done a Blue Blazer. But that's going to change. 

 

What is the best compliment anyone could give you?

That I was telling the story or inspiration behind the cocktails I was serving with so much passion. The guest said I put the heart when I talk, showing that I love my profession.


 

Heath Wetherbee 

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