As published in www.hosponation.com on 4 August 2015.
He’s only been in New Zealand for six months, but talented 34 year old Serbian, Predrag Jovanovic, has been named NZ Bartender of the Year. The 34 year old battled it out against the best bartenders from around the country during the NZChefs National Salon, held in Auckland last week.
Predrag, a hospitality management student at NZMA, one of the ACG Tertiary & Careers Group training providers said the event tested his skills in Wine and Beverage Service, Classic Cocktails and Innovative Cocktails.
“This is the first time I’ve ever entered a bartending competition. Winning this title means a lot to me because it will improve my chances of landing a managerial role in New Zealand and help build my reputation in the hospitality industry here.”
Predrag spent eight weeks training for the competition, putting in huge hours every week on top of his NZMA diploma studies and the 20 hours per week he works at Ascension Wine Estate. Much time was spent developing his award-winning innovative cocktail, ‘Homage’. Inspired by the speakeasies and the end of prohibition in America. The drink was a mouth-watering mix of dark chocolate, Marsala wine and chip-infused rum. This, teamed with his classic Sidecar and Margarita, and his top-notch wine and beverage service skills proved to judges Predrag had what they were looking for – excellent product knowledge, exceptional technical ability and outstanding bartending skills – and he came up trumps in all three categories.
The title was one of many top awards that went to NZMA. Hospitality student Yang Qian (Joe) took out gold medals and Best in Show for both the Classic Cocktail and Innovative Cocktail competitions, and NZMA Cookery tutor Ganesh Khedekar was awarded gold medals in his Petit Fours and Celebration Cake events. General Manager – Tertiary, for the ACG Tertiary & Careers Group Mark Worsop is delighted with the results.
“Our great results at the NZChefs National Salon reflect the investment we have made in our people, our resources and our products – but most importantly, it reflects the quality of our training and the calibre of our students and graduates,” said Mark.