It was his second attempt at the Bartender of the Year competition sponsored by BACARDÍ & De Kuyper and the second time Jet Hauge from Isabel, Bondi has cracked the Top 8.
This was your second year in the comp and the second time through to the Top 8 — how did it feel this year?
I’d like to say it gets easier, but that wouldn’t be 100% true. It was definitely an advantage having been through it before, but the calibre of bartenders is as high as ever so you really have to be on your game. As always it’s a rush, I really tried to make the most of the experience and take it all in this year, rather than stay in my head and overthink everything (as I often do).
What advice do you have for the second mystery box round?
It’s a really good idea to go in with a handful of rough specs that you know work, look at the ingredients and trust in your ability. Don’t overthink it.
When it comes to performing on stage, what goes through your head?
Rather than sticking to a script I like to go up with a couple of bullet points that I know I want to hit and rely on what I do every day to get me through. It doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s more fun for me. I think it’s important to read the room, and adjust your service to the people in front of you. I want to be able to create the perfect experience for the people in front of me, whether that’s a regular on a quiet Wednesday night, or a room full of the industries elite. It’s a real privilege to be able to do what I love in front of the people I respect.