Chef and food writer Gizzi Erskine with World Class Irish Bartender of the Year 2015, Anna Walsh
Cork native Anna Walsh from popular Dublin bar MVP was last night announced as the winner of the coveted title of World Class Irish Bartender of the Year 2015. The Irish final was held at No. 10 Ormond Quay in Dublin’s city centre, following an intense year-long competition.
Six finalists representing some of the top cocktail bars across the country were put to the test, challenged on all aspects of bartending and judged by some of the most revered names in the industry; Spike Marchant, Tom Jones and Max La Rocca. Chef and food writer Gizzi Erskine was also on hand to put the contestants through their paces and judge them on their creativity, their ability to balance flavours and their presentation skills. Walsh, the only female finalist, will now go on to represent Ireland at the World Class Global Final in South Africa in August.
World Class is renowned as the industry’s most prestigious and respected mixology competition that involves a year-long journey of qualifiers and heats. The elite competition is a celebration of contemporary cocktail culture, which describes its mission as bringing together the best bars, the most iconic bartenders and the most exquisite spirits from around the globe. It also showcases the Diageo Reserve portfolio of luxury spirits, including Ketel One, Cîroc, Zacapa 23, Tanqueray, Tanqueray No. Ten, Bulleit, Don Julio and Johnnie Walker, to name but a few.
The six finalists included Meath native Adam Walsh from Soder & Ko in Dublin; Cork woman Anna Walsh of MVP Dublin; Shane Nolan of SoHo in Cork, who is originally from Dublin; Clondalkin born Darren Gerraghty who represented The Candlelight Bar in Dundrum, Dublin; the banner county’s Ken Herlihy who is bar manager in House, Dublin and Mark Gil R. Velasquez of The Merchant Hotel, Belfast, who is originally from Manilla in the Philippines and moved with his family to Belfast in 2008.
Speaking at the event, David Smith, country director of Diageo Ireland commented: “The quality of this year’s competition has been superb with all of the entrants throughout the heats demonstrating great flare and skills. We are proud to be celebrating Ireland’s brightest and best bartenders, who have shown us throughout this competition process the incredible skill, creativity and dedication they have for their careers.”
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