Chong Yi Shawn from Senses at the Hilton KL has won second place at the regional finals of Diageo’s prestigious World Class Bartender Of The Year Competition. We know we’re gonna be getting our cocktails next.
The 23 year old Shawn beat 8 other contestantsto gain 2nd place in Diageo’s World Class Bartender Of The Year regional level competition with his winning cocktail Sexy SenoritaÂ when it was held at the St Regis, Singapore on June 17.
The Sexy Senorita is a mixture of coffee bean, roasted hazel nuts, Don Julio Reposado tequila, Galliano, fresh milk, fresh cream and one other secret ingredient that Shawn refused to reveal. Extraordinarily, Shawn is not a professional bartender but in fact service staff at Hilton Kuala Lumpur’s Modern Australian Cuisine restaurant Senses.
Receiving his trophy from Atul Chharparwal, Commercial Director for Diageo Singapore, a beaming Shawn said “I used to attend many bartending competitions and my interest was sparked from there and eventually made it a personal hobby by mixing cocktails in my own time and self learning through books and videos. Working for Hilton KL provided me with the platform to showcase my hobby through various competitions posted by the hotel that allowed me to enter and emerge victorious.”
Before Shawn’s entry to the regionals in Singapore, a national level cocktail competition was held at Zeta Bar, where Shawn was selected on site beating 14 other contenders from various clubs to represent Malaysia in the Singapore regional finals. The panel of judges for this prestigious event included Mac Lee, President Association Bartenders Sommeliers Singapore; Atul Chharparwal, Commercial Finance Director, Diageo Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia; Lam Chee Mun, Secretary General International Bartenders Association; Derrick Lee, President International Bartenders Association; and Kevin Chang, Reserve Brand Ambassador for Diageo Korea.
World Class is an international bartending competition, challenging bartenders across the globe to show off their expertise and skill in the battle to be crowned World Class Bartender Of The Year. It celebrates the art of mixology, bringing the elite from established bars head-to-head with up and coming local heroes, all of them demonstrating their knowledge, creativity, accuracy and flair, striving for this prestigious title.
World Class representatives began their search in July 2008 for the World Class Bartender Of The Year by judging the finest in each country, at a national, then regional level, before the winners go forward to compete at the World Class Grand Final in London 2009. The final, deemed to be ‘The Liquid Oscars’, will take place in front of a formidable line up of highly respected judges including Marco Pierre White, Tyler BrÃ»lÃ© and Dale DeGroff.
Commenting on the award, William Costley, General Manager of Hilton Kuala Lumpur said, “Shawn has done us very proud indeed especially when mixology is not part of his daily duties and he went out there and beat other experienced bartenders. His win further confirms Hilton Kuala Lumpur’s commitment in developing skills and supports a comprehensive learning infrastructure for Team Members to satisfy the need for growth and fulfilment. With 500 Hilton hotels in 52 locations worldwide, Team Members like Shawn are given lots of opportunities for cross exposures and career advancements within and in other properties around the world.”