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NEWS

Paul Sfîrlea wins the title of Diageo Reserve World Class bartender of the year and will represent Romania at the Global Final in Cape Town

Seven months after the start of the second year of DIAGEO RESERVE WORLD CLASS COMPETITION, Romania has found its new champion. His name is Paul Sfîrlea and he is from Cluj Napoca. Paul managed to come on top and be crowned Romania’s DIAGEO RESERVE WORLD CLASS™ Bartender of the Year 2015 after two days of fierce competition, incredible craftsmanship, boundless creativity and five star cocktails.

Diageo Reserve World Class, the world’s most famous international contest in search of the best bartender in the world, is at its second edition in Romania, organized by PPD Romania, Diageo’s local partner. The best bartenders and mixology experts in Romania fought again against each other in a competition in which creativity, craft, talent and charisma were key in winning the coveted award.

From the 30 participants who registered in the competition, 11 went on to go head to head in the final that took place in Bucharest at Fratelli Social Club between 9 and 10 of June.  The Final was a tough one, a two-day tournament with five challenges that put the best 11 bartenders from Romania to the test. The first three rounds (Fundamentals of flavours, A blend of two worlds and Cocktails against the clock) inspired finalists to create premium serves using the world’s finest spirits, telling stories of places, people and the local history through their crafted cocktails.

At the end of the first day only 5 bartenders went on to compete in the next round: Coloji Horea, Calin Ioaniciu, Costin Gache, Sergiu Biris and Paul  Sfîrlea. The second day had the contestants face a surprise test called “The market challenge” where they had to purchase from the market the ingredients needed to make 2 innovative cocktails.

The last challenge of the competition asked from the participants to make the cocktail that represents them best. In the end, imagination, speed and spontaneity were of the essence in choosing the finalist for the highly anticipated Global Final of Diageo Reserve World Class 2015, hosted in Cape Town. Paul Sfirlea, who works as head bartender at Joben cocktail bar, managed to take the trophy back to Cluj Napoca, proving unrivaled skills and a round spirited personality.

On the whole experience Paul confesses: “The whole experience started some months back and it has been overwhelming. Especially because winning the DIAGEO RESERVE WORLD CLASS trophy is the dream of every bartender who loves his job. The feeling I have right now cannot be expressed in words but I’ll give it a try: it’s happiness combined with excitement and emotions...it’s everything! And I have been dreaming about this moment every day for a couple of months now. I see the Global Final in Cape Town as an opportunity, a test, the most important test of my life. I have a motto after which I guide my life: “Always aim for the moon, even if you miss, you'll land among the stars”

Paul thus becomes the second winner of the WORLD CLASS™ Bartender of The Year title in Romania after Aida Ashor in 2014. Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of The Year is a competition that opens a large number of opportunities for Paul, who is determined to raise the quality standards of bartending in Romania and plans to broaden his horizons internationally, in the future, due to his participation in the contest. 

Aristotelis Papadopoulos and David Rios made up the jury that had the job to evaluate all 11 finalists and pick from them the best one. With an extensive professional background of over 28 years in the bar& restaurant field, Aristotelis is the first ever winner of WORLD CLASS and a true giant of global mixology, working closely with Diageo to promote the competition. Likewise, David Rios from Spain is the 2013 competition winner, one of the new generation gurus and a world influencer in cocktail culture in his own right. 

The Diageo Reserve World Class award is Paul’s ticket to Cape Town, the city hosting the Global Final, a vibrant and cosmopolitan place with a remarkable mixology culture, abounding in natural beauties and cultural diversity. But first, Paul will prepare for the WORLD CLASS Global Final at a one-week boot camp in Istanbul where he will be trained by the best experts of the bartending world.