Max La Rocca judges Diageo World Class in Belfast

Incredible new experience in Belfast, judging for the first time my peers and see what’s “behind the curtains”.

Quite a wierd sensation at the beginning, seeing all your friends and colleagues a bit nervous getting ready, but I knew I was there WITH them and FOR them, 100% present.

I’m so happy to see that the level of competitions at Diageo World Class are improving year after year and bartenders in Ireland are little by little taking their place as influencers in the art of cocktail making around the world.

After the competition I made a presentation on what to expect from World Class Global Final, with a nice summary and great insides, talking about different subjects like: panic control, how to discipline yourself for the competition, what the judges expect from the contestants and talking a little bit about the various callenges with “tips and tricks” to feel a bit more confident, relaxed and HUMBLE.

“It was a brilliant experience that thaught me really a LOT both as a Bartender as well as a person, thank you guys!!”

I wouldn’t mind to do it again in order get more and more experience and keep learning from my colleagues.

Javier Bravo from Long Island, Cork clinches place in World Class Ireland Final

Reserve Brands, the luxury spirits portfolio from Diageo, has named Javier Bravo, from Long Island Bar in Cork, as the third and final bartender who has shaken and stirred his way to the Irish Final of the 2011 World Class Bartender of the Year competition.

Javier won his place in the esteemed country final at the third competition heat, held north of the border for the very first time, in the stunning Bert’s Bar at The Merchant Hotel, Belfast on 9th May 2011.

The TANQUERAY® and TANQUERAY® No TEN™ Gin heat was judged by an expert panel including the 2010 World Class Bartender of the Year Ireland winner, Max La Rocca; Gleneagles Hotel Bar Manager, David Sinclair and Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud Sommelier, Julie Dupouy.

Javier triumphed in the heat with his bespoke TANQUERAY cocktails, the‘Gin Gold Standard’ and the ‘Herbal Collins’.

David Sinclair said: “Javier absolutely deserved the win today. He impressed us with a humble style coupled with a great deal of cocktail expertise, finished with immaculate presentation. Not only that, but he gave a little of himself away, captivating his audience with stories that brought his cocktails to life – a true mark of a good bartender.”

Max La Rocca, who is now Bar Supervisor at Ohla Hotel’s Boutique Bar, an exclusive five star boutique hotel in the heart of Barcelona, said: “I can see the level of competition at World Class improving year after year as bartenders in Ireland are taking their place as leaders and influencers in the art of cocktail making around the world.

Javier, with his accomplished and innovative cocktail repertoire, fantastic personality and knack for presentation would be a great choice to represent Ireland at the global World Class finals.

Darren Geraghty from The Exchequer, Dublin and Luke McMullan from the Merchant Hotel, Belfast were named runners up at the heat.

Javier will join Raf Agapito from Bar With No Name, Kelly’s Hotel, Dublin and Sylvia Carcagno from Sheen Falls Lodge, Kerry at the World Class Ireland final on 13th June, to compete for a coveted place at the global final to be held in New Delhi, India from 11 – 14 July 2011.

Drink Responsibly Enjoy Alcohol Sensibly

The TANQUERAY, TANQUERAY No. TEN words and associated logos are trade marks. ©Charles Tanqueray &Co. 2011

2011 Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year Gin Heat Competitors

Domhnall Carlin The Spaniard, Belfast

Lukasz Wojcik The Dylan, Dublin

Ross McDonald Muriel’s, Belfast

Darren Geraghty The Exchequer, Dublin

Greg Kwasny Harvey Nichols, Dublin

Jonathan Magennis Bert’s Bar, The Merchant Hotel, Belfast

Gillian Boyle The Mint Bar, The Westin, Dublin

Javier Bravo Long Island, Cork

Karim Mehdi Saba, Dublin

Pat Thomas The Lost Society, Dublin

Shane Nolan SoHo, Cork

Luke McMullan The Merchant Hotel

Sam Metcalfe Apartment, Belfast

Mark Atkinson Horatio Todd’s, Belfast

Judge Biographies

Max La Rocca, Ireland World Class Bartender of the Year 2010

Max La Rocca was crowned Ireland’s World Class Bartender of the Year in June 2010, advancing to the Diageo World Class Global Final in Athens, where he competed against 24 of the most talented and inspirational bartenders over four days to be placed third in the world.

Max has worked as a Bartender and Bar Manager in some of the world’s finest establishments, including Claridge’s in London, the Stravinskij Bar at the Hotel De Russie in Rome, The Mandarin Oriental in Barcelona and currently holds the position of Bar Supervisor at Ohla Hotel’s Boutique Bar, a brand new and exclusive five star boutique hotel in the heart of Barcelona.

David Sinclair, Bar Manager, The Gleneagles Hotel

David has spent more than 15 years working in bars in luxury hotels in the UK and Ireland. Currently the Bar Manager at the world-renowned Gleneagles hotel, which was voted as one of the top 50 bars in the UK by the Independent newspaper in 2011. The Gleneagles Hotel has one of the rarest whisky collections in the world and David also acts as an ambassador for Scottish Whisky most recently promoting Whisky in Hong Kong. Being the custodian of some of the rarest spirits in the world David believes the key to success in any bar is education.

Julie Dupouy, Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud Sommelier

Julie Dupouy is currently the Head Sommelier at Dublin’s two time Michelin star award winning ‘Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud’. Born in Gascogne in France, Julie has quickly established herself as one of the country’s top sommeliers. Her unique knowledge and passion for wines and spirits led to her becoming a finalist in The French Guild of Sommeliers awards in 2008. She was also awarded the title of Best Sommelier in Ireland in 2009 by the Irish Guild of Sommeliers. Julie has previously worked as sommelier in some of Ireland’s finest establishment including Lyons Estate and Residence Private Members’ Club. Julie spends much of her free time perfecting her craft and educating herself in the world of wines and spirits.

About World Class

Developed by Diageo Reserve Brands, Diageo’s luxury spirits portfolio, the aim of the year long World Class programme is to educate and inspire bartenders to create exceptional cocktails, services and experiences, raising the standard of bartending.

Now in its third year, World Class is not only about finding the best of the best, it is an international celebration of the craft of bartending and a global leader for setting cocktail trends alight. Using only the finest liquids and exceptional ingredients, World Class has come to be known as the Oscars for the cocktail world