In an incredible end to two days of gruelling challenges, Jamie Jones of The Social Company pipped 10 other finalists to bring home the title of Diageo World Class 2017 GB winner.
The finale dinner was held at The Mondrian at Sea Containers, where guests were treated to three courses and three cocktails with each competitor hosting their own table, wheeling out a trolley to serve an aperitif, amuse bouche and digestif cocktail.
‘It feels ridiculous. I’m so happy!’ said Jones. ‘I was in the World Class final two years ago so I felt like I knew what I needed to do this year which was to reign it back in, talk about who I am and not try to push gimmicks too hard.’
From exploding custard tins to cocktail-dispensing coffee machines, there were some incredibly creative and innovative serves on the night. But it was Jones’ use of storytelling and flavour that gained him a standing ovation at the table and elevated him to the win.
'Jamie had a great opportunity to communicate not only with drinks but also with stories, techniques, colour and emotion,' said judge Dennis Zoppi of Smile Tree. 'His drinks were incredible and he has an amazing sense of hospitality. I love him, I like his style; he deserved to win!’
Jones, from Manchester, will join winners from around the world in Mexico for the global final. In a nod to this location, competitors were asked to make use of agave spirits in the preceding rounds.
‘It’s very exciting to be going! I think people are seeing tequila in a different light, it’s no longer a shooter, it’s a more sophisticated and eloquent spirit so I think people are doing different things with it; which is exactly what us being here serving tequila-based cocktails in a grown-up manner is all about,’ Jones said.