World Class: What to know, with Eduardo Conde
Any bartending competition is usually a flexor of several skills in a bartender’s toolkit. World Class is the culmination of every skill – we’re talking everything from brand knowledge, cocktail craftsmanship, storytelling, hospitality, speed and cleanliness just to name a few.
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
Following on from last month’s chat with World Class Ambassador Kate McGraw, this month we caught up with 2023 winner Eduardo Conde to talk about how he prepares for the World Class Entry round and unpack the best way to get yourself started, or, what you need to know before you know! He summarised his process for this stage into 3 steps.
1. Beat the creative block early
When the entry round challenge lands on February 12th (or if you get a first look at it at your local Diageo Bar Academy Roadshow), there will be some people who are immediately inspired, and others (more thank you think!) that hit the dreaded creative block. The best way to prepare for the worst is to get yourself equipped with knowledge early.
“The Diageo Bar Academy website has so many articles, masterclasses and videos on trends, techniques, cocktail history – kind of everything” says Eduardo, “I always look into what other people are doing, and if there’s a trend or flavour combination or technique that resonates with me, I’ll use that as a starting point.”
2. Know the brands
“Ultimately World Class is a bartending competition grounded in Diageo’s Reserve Brands” says Eduardo, “Trying to learn everything about a brand in a week is a really hard ask of yourself, especially when you’re busy with work and life.”
“The secret (if there is one) is to be ahead of it! The Diageo Bar Academy Website has everything you need to know about the history, traditions, and innovations of the brands you’ll be using.”
“The key is to add your own touch – the judges know the history of the brands, but what they don’t know is how the brands make you feel, or how the brands have shaped or inspired you.’
3. Think sustainably
“World Class can reap huge rewards for your career – you’ll make connections and expand your network, learn new techniques and approaches, and develop your personal brand. The question I always asked myself when I was doing World Class was ‘Am I having fun? Am I enjoying myself?’”.
Eduardo stresses the importance of thinking about how sustainable your effort is – “The earlier you start getting yourself prepared, the less stressed you’ll be.
Make sure you’re taking care of your body and mind – your own sustainability is key to doing well.”