Name: Franz Swinton
1. Where are you from?
I currently live and work in Calgary, AB
2. Where do you currently work?
3. How long have you been in the industry?
4. If you could work with any other bartender in the world for one night who would it be?
5. If you could visit any bar/restaurant in the world where would it be?
E/O NYC, after midnight, an early week.
6. Who is your mentor, if you have one?
GW, Christina Mah
7. Why do you feel MADE WITH LOVE, as a cocktail competition, is important for the Industry in Calgary?
MWL is an open forum, you need to qualify against the best and win to get in. And then you need to show out. 200+ cocktails, give them the full experience and then deliver with that drink. Not an easy feat.
8. What is the skill you look for in a competitor when you are judging?
It’s not a skill, its overall impression. As a judge, I am bound by the criteria in front of me. But I’ll take some wow.
9. What is the most impressive thing you have ever seen a bartender do?
Not sure, a tight race between doing a 7-bottle combo or falling over behind the wood and still magically working the next day…I kid, so many impressive feats behind the bar these days. I think it’s not about the show, but about the go, what drives you. Passion and knowledge and strength in this is so impressive.
10. What’s the most frequent error competitors do in a competition?
The most frequent error is to not approach the competition as a competition. Reading the rules is key.
11. What’s the biggest challenge a judge has?
The biggest challenge is to give the same energy and quality that each competitor has delivered(during my analysis). I need to be able to allow myself to be immersed and feel the experience they are creating, but be able to block that out when the next bartender presents.
12. What is the most precious advice you could give to a competitor?
– Know the competition
– Know the rules
– Know the scoring criteria
– Cater to the next level of the competition, not just the regional heat.
– Most precious: Be aware of why you’re in the comp.
– If you want to win – know everything about the comp, ask questions. (You should probably know more about the comp than the organizers.)
– If you are there to grow/learn – be the first to show up and the last to leave. Ask for feedback from your judges and peers. Watch the top competitors, how did they prepare? Did they have a better organization system? How did they set themselves up to win/where can I gain points next time?