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Marco Pierre White crowns Edinburgh's Ryan Chetiyawardana as the 'UK's Best Bartender' at the final of World Class
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Marco Pierre White last night crowned Ryan Chetiyawardana of Bramble in Edinburgh the UK’s best bartender in the final of World Class 2009 – the Oscar’s of the bartending world. Held at the exclusive Kent House in London’s Knightsbridge, Ryan dazzled the judges by showcasing his exceptional mixology skills as he triumphed over competition from fourteen of the country’s top bartenders.
In a day-long trial, Ryan and his fellow finalists were tested to the limits in a competition which saw them take part in rounds covering bartending knowledge, mixology and an innovation challenge where they had to prove their creativity against the clock. After 15 bartenders were whittled down to the final two, Ryan went head-to-head with Andreas Tsanos from Zuma in London to battle it out for the grand prize where the two bartenders had to create their final bespoke cocktail and present it to the panel of judges. After a highly competitive and tense round, Ryan was declared the winner with his impressive and delicious Three Storm Flip cocktail (recipe below).
Alongside Marco Pierre White, the infamous Michelin-starred chef, the competition was judged by some of the country’s foremost experts in taste, style and bartending, namely Andy Pearson, TV Mixologist; Bill Prince, Deputy Editor of GQ; Ian Cameron, Managing Editor of Theme (one of the bar industry’s leading magazines) and Barrie Wilson, Reserve’s Head of Brand Ambassadors.
Marco says “I’ve been totally blown away by the skill of the bartenders in this final. To make a great drink takes a lot of hard work, a lot of understanding; it’s not just about putting alcohol into a shaker. What I wanted to see was someone who could engage me, give me something I’d never had before and that was exactly what Ryan did. He was phenomenal – not only with his drinks but also with his knowledge and personality behind the bar and fully deserved the title.”
Ryan will now go on to compete in the prestigious World Class Global Final, taking place later this month, which will see him representing the UK against the finest bartenders from around the world including Australia, China, Singapore, Brazil and Greece. The global winner will go on to have their definitive book of cocktails published courtesy of Diageo and be the face of a global campaign to raise the profile of the industry, themselves and their bar.
“It’s unbelievable” says Ryan, “this was far and away the most challenging and nerve-wracking competition that I’ve ever been in and I’m absolutely thrilled to have won. I was up against the best bartenders in the country – lots of whom I know and admire personally – and performing in front of judges of this calibre has been the highlight of my career so far. I’m hugely excited about the global final and I’m planning to show that cocktail-making in the UK can rival, if not better, anywhere else in the world – it’s an amazing opportunity”
Reserve Brands launched its ‘World Class’ bartender programme to recognise the incredible skill sets of bartenders across Britain. The UK final of World Class was the culmination of a year long series of regional category finals – rum, tequila, gin and vodka – from which fifteen winners were chosen to compete in the UK final.
To find out more about Ryan Chetiyawardana, the UK final, the World Class competition and details on how to enter next year’s competition log onto www.weareworldclass.com
Ryan’s winning recipe:
Three Storm Flip
Method – dry shake all ingredients. Then shake with cubed ice and double strain.
Notes to Editors:
Diageo Brands used as part of World Class training include:
The BLUE LABEL, CÎROC, JOHNNIE WALKER, PAMPERO, SMIRNOFF BLACK, KETEL ONE TANQUERAY and TANQUERAY NO. TEN words and associated logos are trade marks. © Diageo 2008.
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