When did you realise you wanted to work in hospitality?
I realised I wanted to work in hospitality quite late. It was after university and other studies when I realised I could combine elements of art, music and travel with a career in hospitality.
Where and how did you get your start?
I started working in little pubs and restaurants in Newcastle, then worked my way up to high volume cocktail bars in Liverpool after my studies there. I started to take it really seriously when I moved back to Newcastle. It was a real wake up call and made me believe in hospitality.
Sum up your current work life in one sentence.
Constantly trying to better myself and my work by being busy; not only learning and practising my technique and knowledge in work, but also with business plans and collaboration projects and takeovers.
You were crowned winner of this year’s No.3 Gin Unlock Taste Competition – how did it feel to win and what made you decide to enter?
The brand itself is amazing; it is a gin that really stands out as a modern classic, above all the others in the current gin boom. Generally believing in the product is one of the main reasons that I entered the competition, along with the challenges and people you meet along the way, which always makes a competition worthwhile.
Who has been really influential on your career and why?
Tim Ward has been one of the most influential. He was my trainer when I moved back to Newcastle and really made me knuckle down with learning good practices and technique within competitions and hospitality. Working with bartenders such as Davey McLean was amazing and really pushed me as well; then more recently with the team at Artesian and my manager Anna. I feel it’s important always to have influential and hard-working people around you.
What’s next for you?
Keeping my career moving at Artesian, learning and developing all the skills. I have my own little side projects that I am slowly working on for fun too.
What’s your one piece of advice to someone starting out?
Work hard and be known as a hard worker. Having a good work ethos and being able to be self critical and aware is very important in hospitality; sometimes you have to be louder than you want in order to be heard or seen as a bartender, so having that grounded awareness is important.
Where did you last have a great meal?
Riley’s Fish Shack, King Edward’s Bay, Tynemouth, Newcastle.
Are there any openings you are looking forward to?
I am looking forward to visiting Kwant in London, as well as Present Company in Liverpool.
Where is the most exciting city for hospitality (aside from London)?
Personally, in the UK, I love Liverpool, however looking out to the rest of the world, Singapore, Bangkok and other parts of Malaysia are turning everybody’s heads.
Who would you identify as a rising star?
There are always people becoming stars in their own right, such as those in this competition with me. I feel there is a really strong group coming out of Bristol at the minute and there is always a strong Scottish link when you look to that.