Eric Van Beek - #bartenderoftheweek
Ladies and gentlemen, I had to wait a full year to do this interview. During my latest visit in Amsterdam I`ve had a chance to catch up with Eric Van Beek, my dear colleague and the new #bartenderoftheweek – the global winner of Bacardi Legacy 2018, bar manager of Bar TwentySeven placed in the luxury hotel in the heart of Amsterdam – Hotel TwentySeven.
If You`ve ever wondered what happens with bartenders who win the most prestigious cocktail competitions on the global level, here I give you an interview with the BLGCC champion “1 year-after”.
1.Eric, It`s been over a year now since You won the global finals of Bacardi Legacy how You would summarise this period of your career?
It has been a whirlwind and an epic one at that. Travelling the world, meeting new people, see new places and tasting and experiencing new things. It definitely helped me develop as a bartender but also as a person.
2.You`ve travelled a lot ( over 100.000km You’ve said). How have these travels changed your perception of the cocktail culture, making your own cocktail creations and hospitality in general?
Yes, this true! It thinks it is amazing what some of these bartenders are doing with ingredients and liquids. Things that I would have never thought of I am now exposed to. I think this helps me grow as a bartender and it gives me the opportunity to share with my own team so we can all elevate our level.
3.In a few words how would You describe cocktail cultures in all the countries that You’ve visited – particular differences to what You’re used to in Amsterdam that stayed in your memory
The cultures in other levels are an average higher as a scene then Amsterdam. What I can say is that the level of creativity is higher in other countries and the sense of hospitality as well. Like I said, some bars in Amsterdam are on the same level but not as a whole scene together.
4.Has any of these experiences changed your way of thinking or approach to certain things at the bar? Have You adopted any of these changes to the Bar 27?
Absolutely, the way we create drinks, serve our guest, and the way we think about the general sense of running a bar program has changed. One example of this is that we serve a welcome drink. This is something that was exposed to in numerous bars, so I wanted to adopt that into our philosophy.
5.What are your plans after leaving Bar 27?
I am not entirely sure but opening my own bar at some point is definitely part of the planning.
6How would You describe being on the top? Does it also have dar sides and if yes, then what?
I think it is an amazing feeling being asked to come to different places for whatever reason it may be. Judging, guest-shifts or masterclasses and I surely enjoy it.
Top 3 advantages are:
You get to travel
You are able to meet people and create your own brand
You get paid for things besides bartending: Judging comps, masterclasses etc
Top 3 downsides
You get almost no rest
The chances of losing yourself in parties and drinks increases
You something do things you regret because of drinks and parties.
7.Bacardi Legacy finals are just around the corner, what could You recommend to this year’s competitors? What rookie mistakes should they avoid and what other pro tips could You give them?
Yes, of course, try to be creative and new in any element the competition has. So be creative with your drink, your presentation and even your promotion plan. Try to be fresh and new. Nobody wants to see something that has been done several times already in the past.