Diageo reveals 16 bartenders for World Class finals

world class finalists diageo st pancras

The 16 finalists to go through to the next stage of the global final of Diageo’s World Class bartender competition have been announced today.

After three days in Scotland and London, the judges chose which of the 48 global finalists (pictured) had scored most highly on the challenges so far. UK winner James Fowler of The Larder House in Bournemouth was not among them.

The 16 remaining finalists are:

  • Charlie Ainsbury from Australia
  • Jeffrey Chang from Taiwan
  • Peter Chua from Singapore
  • Giacomo Giannotti from Spain
  • Charles Joly from the USA
  • Ronnaporn Kanivichaporn from Thailand
  • Kaori Kurakami from Japan
  • Jan Liska from UAE
  • Hannah Von Ongevalle from Belgium
  • Claudio Perinelli from Italy
  • Hardeep Rehal from Denmark
  • Grant Sceney from Canada
  • Leroy Soumokil from the Netherlands
  • Le Thanh Tung from Vietnam
  • Anton Velich from Slovakia
  • Ahmed “Mido” Yahi from France

The 48 finalists arrived from around the world at Gleneagles in Scotland on Sunday and began by having their knowledge of blends put to the test, before moving on to a challenge to stimulate the judges in a sensory way.

After travelling to London on the Orient-Express (pictured), they were set their next challenge at St Pancras International station, asked to create a classic Martini and their own modern take on the drink at five pop-up bars on The Grand Terrace concourse.

Today the finalists took part in the 5 Star Challenge, where they were tested behind one of five different leading hotel bars in London, including the Savoy and the Langham.

After this afternoon’s eliminations, the remaining 16 are being challenged to create literary-inspired cocktails for the Cocktails and the Written Word stage of the competition. Next will be a gastronomic challenge in foodie haven Borough Market on Thursday morning followed by a speed challenge for Cocktails Against The Clock on Thursday afternoon.

The overall winner will be announced at the World Class Awards ceremony at historic Old Billingsgate on Friday night.

Judges over the week include cocktail luminaries such as Dale DeGroff, Salvatore Calabrese, Peter Dorelli, Daniel Estremadoyro, Steve Olson, Gaz Regan, Julie Reiner and Hidetsugu Ueno.

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