Last week the winner of the GB World Class final was announced, after a night and morning to let it all sink in BarLifeUK sat down with the new champ.
Less than 18 hours previously Cameron Attfield was stood in The Regent’s Park with 19 other bartenders waiting for one name to be uttered, 30 seconds later he was hoisted in the air and everything had changed for him.
The first question was an easy one.
BarLifeUK: How’s the head? Cameron Attfield: Haha. Not too bad. Bacon has sorted me out.
BLUK: Who was the first person you called after the announcement? CA: Well… I immediately went to call the bar. They have been so supportive during all of this I wanted to share the moment with them. Unfortunately as soon as someone answered the bar phone, mine died. There aren’t many charging points in the middle of a field so I didn’t get to speak with them till I got back to the hotel a few hours later.
The bar Cameron speaks of is Disrepute in London where he is Bar Manager. His bar CV leading up to this is a varied but very impressive affair. His journey started 9 years ago after his Maths & Economics Degree didn’t pan out as planned he quickly moved to a Pitcher & Piano in the city which mainly involved ‘cutting millions of limes’ until he moved up the chain. From there it was All Star Lanes and part of the opening team for Ace Hotel, these gave him the skills and confidence to pack his stuff up and get adventuring Down Under in 2014.
In Melbourne he was part of the team that opened the latest Speakeasy Group site (the folks behind Eau-de-Vie and Mjolner) Boliermaker House. It was a highly anticipated opening in the Australian bar scene with some of the countries top bartenders brought in. It was here that Cameron first met Jack Sotti (now Head of World Class GB) who would become a friend and mentor.
Due to the joys of visas he had to leave Australia and found himself in New Zealand as part owner of a gin bar. Here he learnt a whole new raft of skills as the bar grew ‘we went from having 10 people in some nights to turning away 30-40 people every night’. Then it was back to the UK where he joined the team at Dandelyan before moving to his current home at Disrepute.
It is obviously a job and team he loves and keeps mentioning them throughout the interview especially when discussing mentors during the World Class journey.
CA: The whole team at Disrepute have been fantastic during the process. Not just the team I work with but regular customers who have been trying the drinks and giving me great feedback. Lele, one of the bartenders, has been really key, his feedback and enthusiasm has been vital.
BLUK: Anyone outside of Disrepute? CA: Yeah for sure. Jack Sotti has been a great inspiration ever since I first met him, his presentation style and confidence in front of a crowd is something I admire. His best piece of advice would be ‘be yourself’. Also Sam Orrock from Eve Bar who was a great help when it came to helping me out with distillates and carbonation.
Over the two days of the competition the finalists all took on three challenges (more details on the comp and challenges can be found here) but it was the final Speed Round that Cameron found the hardest, ‘That one I was most nervous about. I think it was the added pressure of being what we do every day.’ His nerves were certainly tested as he was last up on the bar, he needn’t of worried though, he nailed it.
BLUK: What about the best experience from the competition? CA: There were many highlights but it is definitely the 19 new friends I made that stands out the most. Despite us in theory competing with each other everyone bonded and helped each other out. In the end it was 3 days with 19 amazing people.
Next up for Cameron is of course the Global Finals in Glasgow later in the year. It’s another step up and will undoubtedly feature even tougher challenges, is he ready to take on the world?
CA: 100% ready, and really looking forward to it. These finals were hard enough and I truly believe that all 20 could have represented GB in Glasgow, but with different countries with different styles and skills the globals are going to be something else. I’m certainly going to be working on my presentation style but can’t wait to see what they have in store.
From what we have seen of Cameron there is no doubt he can take on whatever the other countries throw at him. With Jack and the Diageo BA’s on hand to help he has one hell of a support team. We certainly can’t wait to cheer him on in Glasgow and will be bringing you all the news as it happens.