NZMA graduate Sai Hamsala has been chosen as a finalist for ‘Outstanding Bartender’ in the upcoming Lewisham Awards.
The awards, now in their 16th year, are the ultimate yardstick of success in the vibrant Auckland hospitality scene. Finalists are nominated by industry peers, and are considered to be the crème de la crème in their field. Winners across a wide range of categories – including Outstanding Waiter, Barista, Chef, Maitre d’ and Restaurateur – will be announced at the prestigious awards ceremony on June 5. Dubbed by many as the hospitality party of the year, this year’s event will be held at the Langham, and will be attended by everyone who is anyone in the local hospitality sector.
The nomination is yet another feather in the cap for Sai who has had a stellar career since graduating from NZMA with his Diploma of Hospitality Management. He was named Bartender of the Year at the 2013 NZ Culinary Fare, and in 2015 earned himself the title of World’s Best Bartender, after knocking out 27 of the most talented bartenders on the planet at Diplomático’s World Tournament Finals in Venezuela. Also last year he opened his own bar, Rich Heart, in Central Auckland’s Fort Street. The establishment has been a huge success and has a growing list of discerning clientele, who travel from near and far to sip Sai’s legendary cocktails.
“It’s been like a dream come true, achieving all these goals. It has made all my hard work worthwhile,” says Sai.
The Lewisham Awards are named in honour of illustrious hospitality entrepreneur Richard Lewisham, who was instrumental in establishing the vibrant, dynamic hospitality scene that Auckland has become famed for.