Meet your judges – Penelope Irving

Where are you from?
I am originally from New Brunswick but my heritage is half Iranian/French.

Where do you currently work?
I work for FWM Canada – Henry of Pelham, as the National Key Account Manager

How long have you been in the industry?
15 years.

If you could work with any other Bartender in the world for one night who would it be?
Ohhh this one is tough but I would pick Tom Walker at the Savoy or Frankie Solarik.

If you could visit any restaurant/bar in the world where would it be?
I would choose Maido in Lima, Peru.

Who is your mentor, if you have one?
My dad has always been a fabulous mentor for me but outside of family definitely one of the owners of my winery – Paul Speck.

Why do you feel MADE WITH LOVE, as a cocktail competition, is important for the Industry in Toronto?
I love this event because it is a much more open and personal competition. There are rules but the competitor is allowed to express themselves a great deal more.

What is the skill you look for in a competitor when you are judging?
I think one’s personality is huge in this industry but it has to be genuine. I don’t want to watch a ‘theatre production’ I want to see the real person behind the bar. I want to see your heart and soul in the cocktail.

What is the most impressive thing you have ever seen a bartender do?
Spending quality time understanding a new Customer’s likes and designing a drink catered to her personally, he then followed up with her to see what she thought.

What’s the most frequent error competitors do in a competition?
Not tasting their cocktail before presenting it.

What’s the biggest challenge a judge has?
When two competitors are very close in winning – finding what separates them the most to bring one over the other.

What is the most precious advice you could give to a competitor?
You do you! Be genuine and show us your true personality – let that shine through and your craft will happen.

Made with Love

Made with Love

Creators of international events for cocktail lovers and culinary epicureans. Passion, excellence, extravagance, community.