Barista Magazine

FEB-MAR 2014

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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sultant. "We couldn't have had a better ambassador." There's no doubt Victor's success at the WCIGS is due in large part to his complex experience in culinary and beverage arts. He's a barista, yes, but also a mixologist. He's had years of training as a service professional—successful training, too, if you count landing the assistant manager position at the brasserie and terrace bar of the Paris Ritz Carlton successful. (He did, and we do.) Victor and his accomplishments stand for something very important that affects everyone in the specialty-coffee industry: the bridge between fine coffee and fine dining. "He is the perfect ambassador for France and also the perfect choice to help bring bartenders and baristas together for a common goal," says Michael. "His experience gives us so many possibilities for promotion of coffee quality in so many different settings. The [French chapter of the SCAE] is lucky and proud to have him as our ambassador as he brings so many worlds together in the same in the name of innovation, taste, and coffee excellence." It wasn't so long ago that mention of the World Coffee In Good Spirits Championship earned dubious looks at best. Why would you have a coffee-cocktail contest? Why then, you could say in the same breath, have a coffee contest at all? The World Barista Championship is distinctive as the premier stage for espresso excellence; its popularity and command for respect reaches a mainstream audience, one that broadens each year. Perhaps a coffee-cocktail competition is the next logical step in elevating specialty coffee in elaborate settings, such as Michelin-starred restaurants. "This competition is a unique opportunity to combine bartending creativity with barista skills in order to create new and innovative flavor experiences," says Victor. "Often the bartender doesn't care much about how the coffee is prepared and doesn't have the training or knowledge to make coffee more special than their cocktails. In fact, the synergy of the two creates an impact on both sides that give the barista-barman more power to please and more versatility than if they stayed separate. It gives a great potential for better sales, more loyal clients and more pride in their everyday work." For Victor, food came first, then alcohol, then coffee. He says his first great coffee experience didn't happen until 2007, when he met Michael. "I met Victor when he was only 20 years old," Michael says. "He was the French champion for the World Skills Olympics and sought training for the upcoming world championship in Japan. At this point, he had absolutely no skills as a barista. We trained several sessions together and he ended up getting the honorary prize for the nation of France. When I first started working with Victor, I immediately noticed his passion and willingness to learn. So mature and well-organized. When we discussed his endeavors and accomplishments, I had the impression that I was front of a 35-year-old experienced professional." Victor returned to Michael a few years later hoping for assistance to train for the French Barista Championship. Though Michael was already committed to coaching a different competitor, the relationship was solidly forged, and ever since, the pair has Colleen Anunu Cupper & Roaster Thinker, Learner, Practical Joker, Cofee Idol Brazil Cup o Excellence Juror 57

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