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

By Pip Jarvis
6th Oct 2014

After doing the hard yards and shuffling through over 4000 of your well cast votes, last week we announced the winners of the inaugural Barista. Waiter. Cocktail Maker Awards, presented by Unita.

In case you were sleeping off the night before and missed the biggest announcement of the year(!), the winners were: Barista – William Newbould-Figg at Hammer & Tong; Waiter – Parv Bhullar at ORA; Cocktail Maker – Giulia Venzo at 1806. These are the fine folk that froth your milk, serve you your eggs and concoct your drink of choice on a daily basis. And, according to you, dear readers, this trio has some serious hospo skillz!

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


What do you love about being a barista?
Apart from my passion for coffee and great service, I think it's the people you meet and the relationships you build with your crew and especially your regulars/guests.

How long have you been at Hammer & Tong?
18 months.

Why do you think people voted for you in the BWCM Awards?
I hope it's because people are enjoying my coffee, but I think it has a lot to do with the great team at Hammer & Tong, who share a passion for service which makes a great environment to work in and to dine in.
What's the secret to a good coffee?
Passion, patience, attention to detail and a great roasting crew, sourcing the best beans.

Favourite coffee spot?
Place Holder (Smith St).

Favourite place for a drink?
Can't go past the Black Pearl without going in for one.

Biggest indulgence?
Would have to be coffee, surely...

Favourite restaurant?
I'd have to say at the moment Rockwell & Sons, especially with their kitchen out at the Two Birds Brewery.

To the people who voted...
Thank you so much, I'll see you soon.


What do you love about being a waiter?
Giving the customers an experience from the moment they enter the venue until they leave, and making sure they are happy with the experience.  Making sure the customer is always looked after and that they return.

How long have you been working at ORA?
6 months.

Why do you think people voted for you in the BWCM Awards?
Because I'm passionate about what I do and I hope that comes across to our customers.

What's the secret to good service?
Treat everyone as you would want to be treated yourself and understanding your customers' needs. Being genuine and humble in your service.

Favourite coffee spot?
Stagger Lee's.

Favourite place for a drink?
City Wine Shop.

What's your biggest indulgence?
Sneakers and watches.

Favourite restaurant?
Northern Light.

To the people who voted…
A big thank you, and your support means the world to me!


What do you love about being a bartender?
The power of creating enjoyable elixirs that make everyone feel delighted. I love the atmosphere and the vibe behind the bar. The way our team work together, support each other and exchange ideas helps us continually grow.  

How long have you been working at 1806?
After I arrived in Australia, I decided to take a risk and drop my resume into one of the best bars in Melbourne, 1806. I was really impressed with the venue and got lost looking at all the shelves full of spirits. My first thought when looking at the back bar was about how difficult it would be to clean all the bottles! I was really drawn to the theatrical nature of the bar and could imagine myself playing the role of a bartender at 1806. I had just stepped back onto the street when I got a call from the venue manager asking me to come in for a trial…10 months later and I'm still here and loving it!

Why do you think people voted for you in the BWCM Awards?
I think I've been voted for because my friends, family and our regular customers who know me have noticed the improvements I've made lately. The bar industry back in Italy is still so different from the one in Australia and I'm excited and humbled to be recognised for my achievements in Melbourne. I have also fulfilled a personal goal of mine where I'm working in a great venue and continually improving my skills.

What's the secret to making a good cocktail?
Passion. The best part about making a good drink is when you have understood what your customers want and then you watch their eyes light up when they take that first sip.

Favourite place for a drink?
Bar Americano, because the name reminds me of one of my favourite drinks and lots of secret ingredients are used in the cocktails that take them to a new level. The staff are also fantastic with great banter!

Favourite coffee spot?
The Mess Hall. The coffee is very well made and the venue makes you feel at home.

What's your biggest indulgence?
Spending my Wednesday off with my colleagues getting spoiled by our friends who work in our favourite bars and drinking loads of Americano.

Favourite restaurant?
Doc Pizzeria in Albert Park…why? Because the pizza is absolutely great and they make really nice Italian-style aperitifs. It also helps that my boyfriend works there and he knows the pizzas I like.

To the people who voted…
You gave me your support and that makes me feel loved. I really appreciate it! And thanks to my colleagues…let's enjoy some delicious wines!

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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