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Sunil is a confident, highly resourceful and reliable bar personal with an in depth understanding of the bar, restaurant and hospitality industry. Possessing the required communication skills and flair needed to attract customers, drive sales and develop a business. Flexible in the ability to adapt to challenges when they arise while remaining aware of professional roles and boundaries. He is working as Manager at The Hilton Puckrup Hall Tewkesbury hotel, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom. A five star luxury hotel, located just 50 minutes from Birmingham and Bristol.
What made you to pursue an offbeat, unconventional and unusual career of a bartender?
One day I was doing waiting for a wedding in Taj Mahal Palace hotel in Mumbai. I saw one guy behind the bar making some beautiful colourful drink, I went straight to him and asked, what is that? He said Cocktail. I asked him “Can I make?” Surprisingly and happily he permitted me, by saying of course anyone can make it, if there is passion. This was a turning point in my life. The next day I went and got myself a cocktail book. Tom Cruise starrer movie “Cocktail” had released at that time and I thought of pursuing bartender’s profession, soon after.
No doubt that bartending is such a hard field to get into. I was lucky. Shortly after completing my education, I was hired by Hotel Bawa International as bartender with the expectation that I would assist the head bartender when the lounge is busy. As I was passionate about the job, I eagerly absorbed every detail of the art of mixology, knowing that I would eventually have the experience.
Is it a tough job?
Undoubtedly, this job requires a thick skin and, of course, the ability to resist drinking an entire bottle of Jack Daniels at work when the going gets tough. More than anything, it’s the fascinating people you meet. I’ve served numerous global celebrities, and while the starstruck feeling quickly fades, the way that they behave never ceases to amaze me.
Who guided you to join bartending?
Life has a way of testing a person either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happen at once. As I was destined to broaden my horizon, a friend of mine Mohit Kadam, I cannot deny his inspiring words went straight to my heart and I can credit him for taking up the course at Shatabhi Basu’s Stir academy.
Globally there are rarely Indian bartenders? Are you well accepted?
Indeed you can rarely find Indian bartender on foreign land but if you prove. But things are changing now slowly and many Indians are visible at places. I am well accepted and I am proud that my mantle is well accepted. I left no stone unturned to prove my ability and the result is visible.
My job is to support my hotels service team and clients, which can mean anything from assisting with efficiencies behind the bar to creating a craft cocktail menu.
Is there any discrimination professionally?
It’s not like discrimination but it is one-upmanship everywhere. But if you are perfect in your job you can survive anywhere in the world. Even in India such things can be seen on a daily basis. We just have to know how to deal with it. With experience you become wiser and you will realize that sometimes bad things happen for a reason. And somehow you will see that some good came out of the event in your life that you once considered a failure. In the global trends only fittest survive, so I am more happy now.
Any mentors you had?
I have struggled a lot to be in this position. Life is a full circle and many people come and go. But there some people in your life that always remain in your mind forever. My parents were my pillar of strength in my career. My uncle Captain Prakash Hardwaria from Air India, Shatabhi Basu and food columnist- journalist Sitaram Mewati are really a guiding force behind me. All these people inspired me from when I was a young boy growing up – they motivated me to chase my dreams. I admired the fact that they were concerned about me. They pushed me higher and higher.
Are there job opportunities for bartenders abroad?
Earlier in India there were hardly few bartending academy like IHM Mumbai and Stir academy. Off late many mixology institutes have opened shop including globally known Johnie Walker academy. The reason behind mushrooming bartending institutes is growing demand for good bartenders in India and abroad. There are vast opportunities across the globe. Indians can be found in almost all professions across the globe.
Is it true that every bartender has a drunkard personality?
There are some myths created by for unknown reasons. Let me tell you that there is no truth that every bartender is a drunkard. Despite being in the bartending profession for almost 20 years, I have never consumed alcohol in my life. It’s fun when I am selected to create drinks for a cocktail-themed menu.
Any suggestions for aspiring bar tenders?
Like any other profession bartending is a one of the most attractive and lucrative professions and one of the most sought after trade. A few friends swore that Bartending School was a laughable sham which I took as a challenge. Do not fear failure. It is part of your journey to finding your way to success. We have a habit of grasping any opportunities and moulded as desired. With the rise of any major trend, someone has to be the first to carve out the path for others to follow. If you are passionate you can really grow in life in India and abroad too.