At the JW Marriott Marquis on June 18, Oleksandr Uvarov picked up the Caterer Middle East Awards Bartender of the Year top prize.
Presented to him by Ester Thomas, Patron brand manager, it’s the culmination of years of hard work for the Ukrainian national.
The lead bartender at Luna Sky Bar at Four Seasons DIFC started as a bar-back at the Grand Plaza Casino in Kiev, working 14-hour days for minimum wage.
It’s not just his circumstances that have changed, with Uvarov telling Caterer Middle East that bartending has also evolved in the last five years. He said: “It has changed dramatically. In the last five years it has become more connected to being sustainable and environmentally friendly, which is becoming more popular. Not only because it helps to save costs, but because it helps save the planet.”
His innovative nature sees him using the likes of used coffee grounds to infuse his negronis, and he impressed our lead bartending judge Rebecca Sturt with his exceptional talents and personalised service. His colleague Brigin Jose said he “opened my eyes in ways I could never dream of when it comes to understanding spirits and cocktails.”
Uvarov has also been recognised by the bartending community at large, with a high place finish in the World Class UAE and Oman 2019 competition, which he described as “the most beautiful moment in my professional career.”
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Jervis Rosales Umana, bartender, Cargo
Nalin Lahiru Madusanka, head bartender, Plantation Brasserie, Bar & Terrace, Sofitel Dubai Jumeirah Beach
Robel Grill, bartender, Bistro Des Arts
Suman Dangol, head mixologist, Treehouse