The winner of the Middle Eastern leg of World Class, an annual competition hosted by Diageo Reserve to find the world’s best bartender, has been announced.
The annual competition, which took place on 21 – 22 May 2016 at Grosvenor House Hotel Dubai, is aimed at discovering the next generation of bartending talent and the latest trends in mixology.
The winner of the UAE competition was Laura Duca, assistant head bartender at Boca Dubai, who also made the final in the 2014 competition.
Commenting on the win, she said: “It’s so hard to describe it…I felt so many emotions at once that I literally was speechless trying to process everything.
“It is by far my biggest accomplishment and I can’t help by feeling such great joy. I feel so thankful to all the people that helped me along the way.
“I know that this is the first step into different world and I couldn’t be more excited to step in. Winning World Class was a proof that if you truly love something and put the effort in, sooner or later you will succeed.”
The other 11 finalists were Claudio Mnerau and Aleksandr Lumshanov, Coya Dubai; Ionut Toader, Zuma Dubai; Emilio Valencia, El Sur, The Westin Dubai; Lionel Fernandes, Seafu Four Seasons Dubai; Francesco Galdi, Buddha Bar, Grosvenor House; Luis Garcia, Cigar Room, Fairmont The Palm; Adam Hrapko, Zuma Abu Dhabi; Erzal Stiawan, Rays Bar, Abu Dhabi and Dicky Hartono, Shangri-La, Muscat.
To enter the competition, bartenders from across the region were invited to come up with a new aperitif or digestif.
The chefs competed for the national title and the chance to represent the UAE in Miami at the grand finale.
The global final will take place in Miami this September, marking the first final in the US.
Japan has already won two titles and the US has won the competition once before.
Diageo Reserve represents the luxury division of Diageo, including the multi-award winning portfolio of Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Gold Label Reserve, and Platinum Label, Ketel One, Zacapa, Don Julio, Cîroc and Tanqueray No. Ten.