Restaurants

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

By Anna May - 06 Oct 2014

After sifting through over thousands of your votes (yeah, thanks for that Listers!), we announced the 2014 winners of our Barista Waiter Cocktail Maker Awards!

This week we sat down with the three winners and find out what they love about their job, how their lives have changed since becoming the best in Sydney, and some of their favourite spots to wine and dine around town.  

INTRODUCING…

KENCITO RIOS | BEST COCKTAIL MAKER | RED LILY COCKTAIL BAR

TUL: What do you love about being a bartender?

Kencito: The people! I love having the ability to provide a great experience with delicious drinks and cocktails.

TUL: How long have you been working at Red Lily Cocktail Bar?

Kencito: I have been at Red Lily Cocktail Bar for almost a year.

TUL: Why do you think people voted for you in the BWCM Awards?

Kencito: It's not just about the drinks or cocktails. I feel people voted for me because we also strive to create a memorable experience - whether it's a good conversation, a little bit of a beverage lesson, or sharing a good joke. We don't take ourselves too seriously. Long term customer engagement and relationships is what we love. 

TUL: What's the secret to making a good cocktail?

Kencito: Knowing what the person is actually looking for in a drink. Asking questions is key. Once I know what they want, then it's all about having the confidence that it'll blow their socks off. Know your craft. Be proud of your cocktails.

TUL: Favourite place for a drink?

Kencito: Favourite drinking spot at the moment is Earl's Juke Joint. 

TUL: Favourite coffee spot?

Kencito: My favourite coffee spot is Alma on Stanley Street. 

TUL: What's your biggest indulgence? 

Kencito: My biggest indulgence is definitely eating out - and twice as much, drinking!

Favourite restaurant?

Kencito: My favourite restaurant is Arisun in China Town. 

To the people who voted…

Kencito: To the beautiful people who voted for me; I'd like to express my gratitude and I hope I see you all down at Red Lily Cocktail Bar soon or else.

 

LOU HUNT | BEST BARISTA | ORTO TRADING CO.

TUL: What do you love about being a barista?

Lou: I love the pressure of the job and the daily interactions with my customers. I am an important part of their daily routine.

TUL: How long have you been working at Orto Trading Co.?

Lou: I started Orto Trading Co. over 3 years ago now with my business partner Chris Low. We share the same ideas around good food and service. We feel that our love for the industry is reflected in everything we do at Orto Trading Co.

TUL: Why do you think people voted for you in the BWCM Awards?

Lou: When my customers heard that I had been nominated they were all very excited and I think that it was a way for them to acknowledge my work. We had t-shirts printed and jumped on social media that created conversations around the competition. So many customers came in telling me that they had voted because they love the coffee I make for them. It's all a little flattering, but I do take my job very seriously. It's wonderful to receive an accolade for the very thing that I am passionate about and that is to make a consistently great coffee.

TUL: What's the secret to great coffee?

Lou: There are so many varying factors to consider when making a great coffee. Everything from the freshness of your coffee to the temperature of your machine to the pressure of your tamp. I do believe however that the secret is passion. Anyone can make a coffee but not everyone can make a great coffee. Your heart has to be in it.

TUL: Favourite coffee spot?

Lou: This is a tough one as I have many favourite spots around Sydney. My current favourite is a new cafe in Redfern called 107 Projects, it's part of the 107 Projects community art space on Redfern Street. They make an awesome coffee and you will often find me there on my day off sipping a 3/4 latte.

TUL: Favourite place for a drink?

Lou: It would depend very much on my mood. I enjoy visiting the staff at Fratelli Fresh in Alexandria on a sunny afternoon and drinking a glass of their pinot bianco and snacking on bread and olives. I also enjoy a new local bar in Redfern called The Bearded Tit. Their cocktails are delicious and it's a really fun and quirky space to hang out. 

TUL: What's your biggest indulgence?

Lou: Good wine and art… buying it, collecting it and sharing it.

TUL: Favourite restaurant?

Lou: It would have to be China Doll; its location on a sunny Sydney afternoon is awesome. The views are spectacular, their food is consistently good and they have a great wine list too.

TUL: To the people who voted…

Lou: Thanks very much for your support in the competition and your continued support of Orto Trading Co. I feel very humbled to have won this prize. I look forward to serving you coffees for many years to come.

 

CALLUM MARTIN | BEST WAITER | THE CUT BAR & GRILL

TUL: What do you love about being a waiter?

Callum: For me being a waiter is much more than just a job it's a lifestyle and a great one at that! Whether it be trying a wine for the first time or tasting a dish a chef has worked on for months, I love this industry for so many reasons but the one defining factor is the people… my customers are the reason I love coming into work everyday.

TUL: How long have you worked at The Cut Bar & Grill?

Callum: Almost nine months now and loved every minute, I mean what's not to love a menu full of Australia's best prime cuts of beef (among lots of tasty other things but hey its called the cut for a reason) topped off by an amazing wine list compiled by our incredibly talented sommelier Gustavo Kroneis.

TUL: Why do you think people voted for you in the BWCM awards?

Callum: I guess you will just have to come down to The Cut Bar & Grill and see for yourselves.

TUL: What's the secret to good service?

Callum: Passion! You have to be passionate about every aspect of service from the major to the minor, obsess over your customer and all else will follow.

TUL: Favourite coffee spot?

Callum: It's got to be Proud Marys in Melbourne great coffee amazing and engaging atmosphere. It's a must for the brunch lover too!

TUL: Favourite place for a drink?

Callum: Now asking this question to somebody who works in hospitality is like asking a mother of 8 which is her favourite child, but I'm probably going to give this to the boys at the Baxter Inn, they've got it all.

TUL: What's your biggest indulgence?

Callum: I'm originally from South Australia so to me nothing beats a big bold SA Shiraz obviously accompanied by a charcuterie/cheese board. 

TUL: Favourite restaurant?

Callum: I am so lucky to live in a city with so many amazing venues I truly cannot pick just one, as long as I have my beautiful girlfriend Leila (the person who led my campaign to victory) by my side, great food and wine in front me I'm golden. Oh wait I take it back its gotta be The Cut Bar & Grill!!

 

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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