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Get to Know Your Northeast Regional Finalists

By Shayleigh Ward posted 30 days ago

  
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2019 USBG World Class sponsored by DIAGEO season is in full swing! The competitors are fiercely preparing for the Regional Competition taking place in New Haven at the USBG Regional Conference, April 14th - 17th. There, the finalists will be competing over 2 days for the opportunity to advance to the National Competition.


We invited the Northeast finalists to tell us a little about themselves and their experience with World Class. 


:: Northeast Region ::


LEANNE FAVRE

What inspired you to enter World Class?

Competitions push us to be creative and inspire us to think outside of the box. This is why I entered World Class. I can't wait to be in a room filled with so many talented bartenders.
What is your favorite unique ingredient to make drinks with right now?

I tend to create cocktail with sherry, savory ingredients and exotic spices. Lately, I have been exploring more culinary ingredients, such as mushrooms, tomatoes, etc.

If you could make a cocktail for any celebrity living or dead who would it be and what would you make them?

If I could make a cocktail for any idol, it would be Frida Kahlo. I would love to make her an elegant and refreshing homemade Tepache Sherry cocktail.
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FABIO GONZALEZ

What inspired you to enter World Class?

A good friend of mine has participated in previous years and has always said great things about it. This year was my turn to experience it myself.

If you were stranded on a desert island with only ONE cocktail what would it be and why?

The one cocktail would be a pina colada because it always makes me feel festive. One pina colada and my mood can go from sad to ecstatic.

What is your favorite unique ingredient to make drinks with right now?

I love using sherry. It could be used for shaken or stirred cocktails. The salinity and nuttiness work well with other ingredients.
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RAUL MARIN

What inspired you to enter World Class?

Since competing last year I learned a lot from my colleagues, judges and the people who helped me along the way. World Class taught me how to push my creativity to the next level and I'm ready to showcase.

If you were stranded on a desert island with only ONE cocktail what would it be and why?

It would be a Daiquiri. Daiquiris are so bright in flavors and refreshing. Daiquiris help you forget about everything and enjoy the current moment. Also, rum is delicious!

If you could make a cocktail for any celebrity living or dead who would it be and what would you make them?

It would be Prince. Prince has always being spontaneous, loud, exciting and pushing boundaries with his talents. I would make Prince a very classic sophisticated cocktail, a Vieux Carré.
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CHRISTINA MERCADO

What inspired you to enter World Class?

The people and the challenge. World Class is a chance to push ourselves, to learn and grow through the different stages of the competition.
What is your favorite unique ingredient to make drinks with right now?

While working at one of my sister's hotels in Anguilla, I came across fresh sorrel for the first time. For the past month I've been experimenting with it; from dehydrating (to compare to what I've bought before), infusing, making salt, fermenting, etc...

If you could make a cocktail for any celebrity living or dead who would it be and what would you make them?

It would be the fierce, inspiring, hardworking Latina - Rita Moreno! I would make her the cocktail I created in her honor and listed on our Women's History Month list last year: "Love & Lust" - a combination of rum, coconut, guava, citrus, and anise garnished with a citrus scented, hand painted edible flower.
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LAUREN PAYLOR

What inspired you to enter World Class?

This time last year I told myself to go after the things I wanted and to work hard to get them. My desire to participate in World Class arose when I attended last year's live regional competition in Washington, DC. The participants were passionate, enthusiastic and extremely talented. It was a truly inspirational moment. I'm honored and happy to be competing this year.

If you were stranded on a desert island with only ONE cocktail what would it be and why?

If I were stranded on a desert island with only one cocktail it would be a Tom Collins because they're delicious, refreshing and so easy drinking.

If you could make a cocktail for any celebrity living or dead who would it be and what would you make them?

If I could make a cocktail for any celebrity, dead or living, it would be Frank Sinatra. I'd make him a 2:1 Gin Martini with a few dashes of orange bitters and a lemon twist.
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DARWIN PORNEL

What inspired you to enter World Class?

I was inspired to enter World Class because of the impact it has on the worldwide bartending community. One of my goals is to become an accomplished expert in our industry, and one of the best ways to build up my education and skills is entering World Class.

If you were stranded on a desert island with only ONE cocktail what would it be and why?

Daiquiri! Perfect for the setting.

What is your favorite unique ingredient to make drinks with right now?

Shiso leaf is one of my favorite ingredients to work with right now. It has a great herbal, citrusy profile and works in a variety of light, easy drinking cocktails.
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KOHARU USUI

What inspired you to enter World Class?

This is like a chance to stage behind the best bars in the country condensed into a couple of days. I'm so excited to learn from fellow bartenders and take home new ideas to share back home.
What is your favorite unique ingredient to make drinks with right now?

Makrut lime leaves! I'm working on a project that showcases Malaysian flavors with one of my friends, and it adds such a complex and fragrant citrus note to everything it touches.

If you could make a cocktail for any celebrity living or dead who would it be and what would you make them?

I'd love to make a cocktail for Liberace, as he was the epitome of a host with his showmanship. While a purple glitter-bomb drink would be an obvious choice, I like to think that he would enjoy a frozen daiquiri, too.
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RYAN WELLIVER

What inspired you to enter World Class?

The World Class Competition is the gold standard of competitions and I wanted to see whether or not I had what it took to compete with some of the best. It not only puts your drink-making abilities to the test, it challenges you in every aspect of the occupation. You really need to put thought into every entry and I feel like that is missing in many other competitions.

If you were stranded on a desert island with only ONE cocktail what would it be and why?

Bartender's choice. I'd like to get to know the monster that's leaving me on this deserted island, but I'd probably be in the mood for a Daiquiri, given the setting. I would then send it back and say I could not taste the booze, just to frustrate him a bit before he left.

What is your favorite unique ingredient to make drinks with right now?

Pineau de Charentes. It's under-utilized, delicious on its own, and I think it would probably work well with any distilled spirit on the planet.

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CHRISTOPHER ANDON WHITEHORN

What inspired you to enter World Class?

A dear friend of mine, Ryan Goodman - who is a brilliant bartender and all around swell guy - was a 2018 World Class competitor from Oklahoma City, and suggested that I enter this year and see where it got me. I had been mulling it over for a while, but wouldn't have made the leap if it hadn't been for his insistence, so I'm grateful for that.

If you were stranded on a desert island with only ONE cocktail what would it be and why?

Is it a desert island or a deserted island? If it's a desert island give me a Carpano Antica daiquiri, and if it's a deserted island give me a Carpano Antica daiquiri.

What is your favorite unique ingredient to make drinks with right now?

I've been stoked on using alternative acids the last year or so and utilizing whatever we have around us, whether that's acidified green apples, tart floral teas from seasonal blossoms, or taking more conventional sources of acid such as tomatoes and showcasing them in a different way.

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STEPHEN WOOD

What inspired you to enter World Class?

My friends within the cocktail competition circuit, both locally and afar. Watching them compete in the past and discussing the scope of the competition with them is ultimately what inspired me to take the dive and give World Class a shot. Also my fiancé, who has been endlessly supportive of my bartending, constantly telling me that if I put my mind to it I can do anything.

If you were stranded on a desert island with only ONE cocktail what would it be and why?

A Negroni. For me it’s the perfect cocktail for all times. It’s bittersweet and refreshing. It’s a botanical pick me up. It works before and after a meal. It’s a simple timeless combination that never gets tired and is always welcome and inviting.

If you could make a cocktail for any celebrity living or dead who would it be and what would you make them?

I would love to make a cocktail for Matthew McConaughey. I would make him something spirit forward and flavorful like a Brown Derby meets a Boulevardier With Bourbon, Green Tea & Jalapeño infused Mead, Hop infused Campari, and Fresh Grapefruit.
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To find a World Class bartender or cocktail near you, visit 
http://worldclass.usbg.org.
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