Interview With World Class GB Champion Daniel Warren

World Class 2019 Entry Deadline: Midnight, Sunday 7th April

Submitting an entry to Diageo Reserve’s World Class competition can be the first step toward a genuinely life changing and career-defining experience. However entering such a high-profile competition, with so much at stake, could seem daunting. With that in mind, we asked current GB champion Daniel Warren a few questions about his World Class experience so far. Anyone putting the finishing touches to an entry will find his answers interesting, and should you feel in two minds about entering World Class, Daniel’s advice to “Just enter. Seriously, just enter a drink and see what happens” will hopefully provide the encouragement required to take the plunge.

Interview with World Class GB champion, Daniel Warren (DW)

BLUK: If you had to sum up your World Class experience in three words, what would they be?
DW: An amazing, humbling and career-defining experience.

BLUK: Is there something you learned during the competition process that you wish you had known at the start?
DW: I wish I’d known just how quickly things start to move after World Class – I haven’t stopped since the competition in Berlin! But it’s been a fantastic experience and I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve also met some incredible people along the way.

BLUK: Which of the 2018 World Class challenges did you find most difficult, and which did you enjoy the most?
DW: I think the most difficult challenges were the ones that we couldn’t prepare for. I like to rehearse and perfect my technique, so my favourite challenges were the ones that I was able to fully prepare for and present in front of my friends and industry peers beforehand.

BLUK: During the challenge stages, competitors are sometimes tasked with creating recipes under pressure and in a short period of time. How did you approach this situation?
DW: I guess I approached this situation like anyone else – head on with a clear mind. You have to believe in your ideas and rely on your experience.

BLUK: In your opinion, what qualities or characteristics does a World Class cocktail need to possess?
DW:First and foremost, it has to taste delicious. Far too many drinks have amazing concepts that overpower the actual balance and flavour of the drink itself. However, saying that, concept is also very important! Then the presentation, the look, the story… everything has a part to play.

BLUK: You seemed very calm and relaxed on stage during the World Class finals. How did you mentally prepare for a performance in front of so many people? 
DW: I practised over and over with my World Class presentations – I left nothing to chance. I timed myself and made sure that I had enough time to make mistakes and roll with whatever was thrown at me. After that, I genuinely just enjoyed presenting to the judges who were people that I have looked up to my entire career. I knew I had a chance to show them who I was as a bartender and make drinks for them, so that was pretty special for me.

BLUK: Is there a piece of advice you would give to anyone who is about to enter World Class 2019?
DW: Just enter. Seriously, just enter a drink and see what happens. You never know where the competition can take you and it could completely change your career.

BLUK: What doors has achieving second place in World Class opened, and what does the coming year have in store for you?
DW: Since competing in World Class I’ve had a lot of job offers – but I also work more with the brands that I genuinely love. I get a chance to travel to some amazing places too.

To find out more about submitting an entry to World Class 2019, including a description of the entry challenges and a link to the submission page, click here.