The Art of Bartending Seminars entered its fourth year of service to prospective bartenders and mixologists 0n Wednesday when it launched its September semester at the offices of the Barbados Coalition of Service Industries, Harbour Road, St Michael.
During an interview with members of the press, Founder of the Art of Bartending, Franklyn Parris, said that three years ago the programme began with a student roll of 17. Parris later pointed out that over the years as many as 37 students enrolled in a semester covering the two areas of study.
He said: “ Over the years the course has grown a lot. There is a desire for knowledge in this area in Barbados because of the increasing number of popular activities and events being staged in the island.
Bartenders are no longer interested in just serving rum and coke and the public is now seeking more “colourful and flavourable drinks” when they go out. So mixology is becoming a very prominent part in catering to the public.”
Parris said he is trying to get Barbadians bartenders on the same level of their counterparts around the world. “ We are very focused on customer service because I think that is one of the biggest issues we have here in Barbados. We want all our students to be able to provide an environment that is different from what visitors experience at home,” Parris said.
Parris told members of the press that his organization is trying to have `students more versed in flavours. He said: “ Tourists visiting Barbados do not want to taste the same cocktails they drink where they live. They want to experience something different in every country they visit. In Barbados we have our own local fruits and herbs we can use in cocktails. This can make their visit memorable.”
Arguing there are many opportunities for bartenders with Barbados becoming a cultural hub in the region, Parris recalled that during the recent Crop Over Festival, some of bartenders worked around the clock during the entire Crop Over weekend.
Commenting on the issue of spiking drinks for female customers, Parris denied knowledge of the practice. He said: “ The bartenders attending my classes are encouraged to be very professional in their work. They are expected to respect their place of work and their customers. We teach them to be ambassadors for themselves, where they work and their country.”
Parris contended that even if they are accused of being snitches they should report all bad practices to the relevant authorities. “ This will ensure that the profession maintains a high standard. Customers trust bartenders to give them a clean drink,” Parris said.
Meanwhile, speaking on behalf Stansfeld Scott and Co., Ltd, Rym Riley, the Division Manager, said the company was very proud to be associated with the Art of Bartendering Seminarswhich does so much for the island’s tourism industry.
Riley said: “ Bartenders are the face of an establishment. They are the people who are going to make the difference. Parris has put together a comprehensive package.”
Past students of the programme, Nathifa Headley and Hamal Grazette also addressed members of the press.