The World According To... Debbie Smith of 21212

Gaëlle Laforest

26 November 2015

She’s broken more bones than Evel Knievel, and she can butcher a deer in an hour. 21212’s Debbie Smith talks about hair dye and caviar to Gaëlle Laforest 

‘The weirdest hair colour I ever had was canary yellow – it didn’t suit me. My hair gave up on me, so my mum shaved it all off. In my passport and my driving licence pictures I’m bald.’

2007-2011 Studied journalism at university, while also working full-time as an events manager for deli Jaques & Lawrence in East Lothian, Scotland
2011-2012 Assistant restaurant manager at The Three Chimneys, Isle of Skye
2012-2014 Assistant restaurant manager and sommelier at Chewton Glen Hotel & Spa, Hampshire
2014 Beverage manager at Cromlix in Perthshire, Scotland
Since October 2014 Head sommelier at 21212, Edinburgh

‘I worked as a lifeguard for four years, but I don’t really know why anyone would trust me with their life, since I’m not very good even with my own.’

‘I was the youngest person in Scotland ever to have gone to university – I went when I was 16.’

‘In Edinburgh we’re lucky we’ve got a lively bar scene with people that do things a little bit different, like Stuart McCluskey. The issue in Scotland is when you get outside Edinburgh.’

‘At Cromlix I made a drink using a homemade syrup with lychee, lime and lots of chilli. We had the odd customer who needed a glass of milk.’

‘I dressed up as a Portuguese fruit trader to judge a cocktail competition and accidentally dyed my legs with permanent hair dye. I had purple legs for eight weeks.’

‘When I was little I wanted to be [BBC journalist] Jackie Bird. I was so into politics then that my brother and sister called me Tony Blair.’

‘Within a week at 21212 I broke my coccyx. I still don’t have any recollection how – but for anyone that asks, I went roller-skating.’

‘I can butcher a whole deer within an hour.’

‘When I was three, my sister told me that all I needed to do to be able to fly was do a belly flop off the top bunk and flap my arms. I broke both my legs.’

‘Bread and egg mayonnaise are properly the staple of my diet. I’m not very good at eating, but I’m very good at drinking – so my mum bought me a Nutribullet.’

‘Chris Evans once asked me for caviar and Melba toast at 1am. The effort paid off: he sent me home with half a bottle of Pétrus.’

‘Bartenders v Sommeliers was quite an “experience”. I’m gutted my champagne cascade failed – but it was ace to be on the winning team of shamazing sommeliers.’

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