The first five bartenders to go through to the GB final of the latest Diageo Reserve World Class competition have been announced.
After 50 competitors from across the UK took part in the first of two semi-finals yesterday, judges selected five from London. They are:
- Liam Broom of Callooh Callay in Shoreditch
- Sean Fennelly of Milk & Honey in Soho
- Scott Gavin of Scarfes Bar at Rosewood London hotel
- Tim Laferla of City Social in the City of London
- Kyle Wilkinson of The Blind Pig in Soho.
They will take part in the GB final in May next year alongside another five bartenders who will be selected in the second burst of the competition starting in March.
The judging panel consisted of a host of industry experts, including the head of World Class UK Dan Dove, Diageo Reserve brand ambassadors Andrea Montague and Colin Dunn, the World Class ambassador for Western Europe Max La Rocca, and the UK winner of World Class 2015, Ali Reynolds.
Dan said: “The calibre of bartenders competing this year is exceptionally high – each year seems to be progressive, but the broad thinking and unusual flavour pairings we’ve witnessed this year have taken the competition to a new level. All five finalists should be incredibly proud to have made it this far in the competition, and we very much look forward to seeing them again.”
Ali added: “I’m very honoured to be a judge in this year’s World Class competition. After being part of the process last year I feel I’m in the perfect position to offer hands-on experience and knowledge to bartenders entering this year, especially as the competition brought out the best of my skillset and enabled me to reach a whole new level.”
The second burst, called “Fruits and Plants”, will open for entries from March 18 to 27, giving bartenders a chance to enter using Tanqueray No Ten gin, Ketel One and Ketel One Citroen vodkas, Cîroc and Cîroc Pineapple vodkas, Don Julio Blanco and Reposado tequilas, and Jinzu gin. This semi-final will take place in May.
The first burst of the competition, titled “Mindful Drinking”, sought recipes using whiskies Talisker, The Singleton, Cardhu, Johnnie Walker Gold Label and Blue Label and Haig Club, American whiskeys Bulleit Bourbon and Rye and Ron Zacapa rum. Click here for a full list of the 50 semi-finalists.
For details about entering and World Class, visit www.theworldclassclub.com.
Updated December 14 with comments from judges.