Last night in Glasgow, Bannie Kang of Singapore took the title of Diageo World Class champion for 2019.
To snag the trophy, Kang saw off 53 bartenders from around the world in a series of challenges working with Diageo Reserve brands. The competitors kicked things off earlier this week with trips to the Isle of Skye and Schiedam to take part in challenges for Talisker and Ketel One, respectively, then made their way to Glasgow for two days of rounds centred on Tanqueray No. Ten, Singleton and Johnnie Walker.
Finally the bartenders were whittled down to the top eight, which included GB champion Cameron Attfield. For the ultimate challenge, the finalists took part in a nail-biting speed round, facing off in pairs with the intense task of making six classic cocktails. They presented their drinks to a panel of all-star judges, who marked the bartenders on both their speed and the quality of their serves.
Kang, who works at Antidote in Singapore’s Fairmont Hotel, was undoubtedly the standout in this last round. She churned out her cocktails at an impressive pace and finished the round by pouring herself a cheeky shot of Johnnie Walker Black Label.
‘I still feel like I’m dreaming,’ she said just moments after her win. ‘World Class inspired me to become a bartender, and I can’t believe [I won].’
She went on to explain her desire to use the victory as a platform for elevating the presence of Asian women in the industry. ‘I want to inspire women in other parts of Asia,’ she said.
In addition to the winner announcement, last night Diageo revealed that the World Class 2020 global final will take place in Sydney. If you fancy a trip down under, it’s time to start strategising...