Meet The Winners | Barista, Waiter, Cocktail Maker Awards 2014

By Phil Swan
8th Oct 2014

After putting in a few late nights, we've finally sorted through all 14,000 of your votes and last week we announced the winners of our third Barista. Watier. Cocktail Maker Awards, presented by Unita.

In case you were catching up on sleep after all that voting and missed the biggest announcement of the year, the winners are…

Barista: Syndee Storey from Ananas Espresso
Waiter: Peter Ogden from Bitter Suite
Cocktail Maker: Tessa Clarkson from Brewhouse Brisbane.

These are the fine folk that froth your milk, serve your eggs, and shake up your tipple of choice on a daily basis. And, according to you, these legends have some serious hospo' swagger!

We sat down with the winners to find out why they love their job, their favourite spots around Brisbane, and a trade secret or two.


Barista of the Year - Syndee Storey

TUL: What do you love about being a barista?
SS: I guess I love making coffee! But it's also the people I work with, and our regular customers that really make it a bit more special. It doesn't really feel like a job!

TUL: How long have you been working at Ananas Espresso?
SS: Since it opened in January.

TUL: Why do you think so many people voted for you in the BWCM awards?
SS: We've got a really good rapport with our customers. Probably about 80% are regulars, who we see every week or even every day. So it's easy to remember orders, and gives them a great experience!

TUL: What do you think is the secret to a perfect coffee?
SS: Just knowing what you're doing I guess, haha! A clean machine, having the grind set right, heating the milk properly, and just enjoying what you're doing all helps.

TUL: What's your favourite place for a coffee?
SS: Besides Ananas, I love going to Southside Tea Room, those guys are consistently making great coffee, no matter who's making it.

TUL: What's your favourite place for a drink?
SS: I don't drink too often, but last time I went out we went to Tippler's Tap. I love it there.

TUL: What's your biggest indulgence?
SS: Sugar! If I had to say something in particular, our lemon and blueberry muffins are pretty good!

TUL: What's your favourite restaurant?
SS: I'm not too fussy, I just like easy food that's done well. I like Sushi Kotobuki in East Brisbane. Their food is always really fresh

TUL: Do you have a final message to those who voted?
SS: Thanks so much for all of your votes, I'm really humbled by it all. I'm glad you really like my coffee. And for those who haven't been to Ananas Espresso before, looking forward to seeing you soon! 


Brisbane's Best Waiter - Peter Ogden

TUL: What do you love about being a waiter?
PO: I enjoy being able to turn a normal night into an unforgettable night, and just interacting with our customers. Hopefully turning first-time visitors of Bitter Suite into regulars.

TUL: How long have you been working at Bitter Suite?
PO: Just over 15 months. It's been really fun, and it's really relaxed.

TUL: Why do you think people voted for you in the BWCM awards?
PO: Well, from the start I've always made a big effort to know all of our regulars, and make sure they leave Bitter Suite having a great experience. Hopefully that helped my cause!

TUL: What do you think is the secret to being a good waiter?
PO: Really being able to connect and interact with people. To put in the extra effort to make sure they're really having a great time.

TUL: What's your favourite place for a drinks?
PO: I really like Papa Jack's— there's always good music, and great cocktails. It's always fun there.

TUL: What your favourite coffee spot?
PO: If not Bitter Suite, then usually Sourced Grocer. Nice relaxed vibe going on there, and the coffee is pretty good.

TUL: What's your biggest indulgence?
PO: It would have to be 4 Pines Pale Ale right now. I reckon I've been drinking it more than water lately. It's beautiful.

TUL: What's your favourite restaurant?
PO: I don't eat out much, but when I do it's usually here at Bitter Suite. I just think our menu is good, really varied. The head chef here just nails it.

TUL: Final message to the folks that voted for you?
PO: I really appreciate the support, I'm stoked for the acknowledgement, and can't wait to see you all in at Bitter Suite again soon!


Cocktail Maker of the Year - Tessa Clarkson

TUL: What do you like about being a bartender?
TC: It's a great outlet for me to really express myself. You learn so many skills being behind a bar, and I really enjoy it. The team at The Brewhouse have been really supportive of my development.

TUL: How long have you been working at Brewhouse?
TC: Just over a year now.

TUL: Why do you think people voted for you in the BWCM awards?
TC: I guess they've liked the cocktails I've made them? I don't know! I really appreciate flavour combinations. Even though Brewhouse is a microbrewery and we're very focussed on beer, the same sort of principles apply to cocktails in terms of matching ingredients, and being able to tell whether something is working or not.

TUL: What do you think is the secret to making a good cocktail?
TC: I think it's all about balance. I don't think cocktails should have an overwhelming flavour. The ingredients should blend and accompany one another to create a whole new flavour. It's all about creating something new and different. The opportunities are endless.

TUL: What's your favourite place for a drink?
TC: Well, naturally, The Brewhouse! But I also really like Lock'n'Load, and Archive in West End. I really appreciate what those guys are doing for the craft beer scene, particularly Australia craft beers. I'm a bit of a fan

TUL: What's your favourite place for a coffee?
TC: The Little Prince Espresso just next door makes some pretty awesome coffee.

TUL: What's your biggest indulgence?
TC: Well I have a sweet tooth, so, chocolate.

TUL: What's your favourite restaurant?
I really like Jellyfish at Eagle St. Pier. There's some really great restaurants on that whole strip actually. It's hard to pick just one.

TUL: And your final message to the voters?
Thank you! I'm really flattered, and excited to continue pursuing my passion, and hopefully make you a cocktail soon!

The Barista. Waiter. Cocktail Maker 2014 Awards are presented by Unita — a leader in the field of retail and hospitality fit-outs. Unita are responsible for making many of Melbourne's best restaurants, bars and shops look oh-so-good.

TUL also thanks the BWCM category sponsors, Winemarket, and Tappr.

Winemarket is one of our fave online destinations, where we can stock up on vino while wearing our jim jams.

The awesome team at Tappr are changing the game when it comes to Mobile-Point Of Sale technology. They're behind a groovy new app that allows our favourite small business owners to make transactions and check their business analytics all from their smartphone. Simples!


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