How has the transition back to bartending been after so many years working for Bacardi?
Honestly I was looking forward to being behind the stick making cocktails and hosting guests again. I did lots of guest bartending during my time in Bacardi but now I’ll be bartending every Tuesday supporting my new bar team at 28 Hongkong Street. I can tell everyone again that I’m a bartender and not an ex-bartender, as everyone catalogues you as a brand ambassador. Bartending again in one the best bars in the world is a wonderful feeling.
How do you feel Singapore’s bar scene is developing?
Compared with, for example, the UK, there is a lack of talent and people to work in food and beverages. The majority of Singaporeans have a university degree and will not pursue their career in a bar. But now with the influence of many expat bartenders such as Arijit Bose, Zdenek Kastanek and Dario Knox, with a great pedigree internationally, the industry is changing rapidity and lots of young Singaporeans are looking into hospitality more seriously.
I remember when I came for the first time two and a half years ago, only a few bars served decent cocktails. Now the city is populated with some really good bars, full of interesting cocktail programmes, and is rapidly getting to the standard of the cocktail capitals of New York and London.
What would you say to a bartender considering a move to Singapore?
Singapore maybe is not for everyone, but it is a city with everything needed to become a great cocktail culture destination. The possibilities are endless and the most important part is that money [to buy cocktails] is not an issue.
The bar scene is growing every year and more and more companies such as [28 Hongkong Street’s parent company] Proof & Company are investing in education and tools to help develop the bartender community.
If a bartender is looking to take a serious path in their career and wants to work hard to contribute to create one of the best cocktail bar scene in the world, this is the time to move to Singapore.