The UAE’s Top Bartenders Raise the Mixology Bar at The Golden Pineapple Bartender Contest
Chef Middle East hosted The Golden Pineapple Bartender Contest, in collaboration with Juicy – the European all-natural juice specialist – and Path Bar School. A unique and exciting competition that tested the skills and creativity of some of the UAE’s finest bartenders from Dubai dining heavyweights such as Mimi Kakushi, Salmon Guru Dubai, City Social Dubai and many others. The competition was held in three elimination rounds, where the contestants had to create innovative cocktails using Juicy’s 100% fruit juices of their choice.
The competition’s finale concluded on 26 April 2023 at the picturesque Birdcage Bar & Lounge in Downtown Dubai. Out of many talented bartenders who participated, eight made it to the finals where they competed to win the one and only ‘Golden Pineapple’.
Each of the contestants rose to the occasion where they showcased their expertise and took the challenge to new heights as they faced off in a daring and exciting mixology competition. They had to prepare a cocktail each and present it to an expert panel of judges – Nina Stanic (CMO at Stanic Group), Manja Stankovic (Beverage Manager at Mimi Kakushi), and Shehan Minocher (Luxury Brand Ambassador at African & Eastern). Ultimately, the judges’ unanimous decision was to crown Gergely Piller from Salmon Guru, Dubai, the winner and Jerome Ramos, from The Birdcage, Pullman Hotel Dubai, the wild card title of the competition.
Tauland Hyka, Beverage Category Manager at Chef Middle East, shared, “The level of creativity and mastery demonstrated by the contestants was truly outstanding. We are thrilled with the success of the event and proud to have provided a platform for such talented bartenders to showcase their skills. Congratulations to Gergely Piller on his well-deserved win and to Jerome Ramos, resident bartender at the hosting venue Birdcage Bar & Lounge for earning the wild card title.”
Gergely Piller, the crowned champion, received a cash prize for his outstanding performance. Piller impressed the judges with his unique concoction, which perfectly blended the Juicy brand’s signature flavor – pineapple – with other ingredients to create a winning cocktail. He said “Winning The Golden Pineapple Bartender Contest was a unique and exciting experience! I loved the challenge of creating a drink based on any Juicy fruit juice, focusing on techniques and ingredients. Being a part of this competition was amazing – I got more excited as I progressed through the three stages, leading up to the finals. What meant the most to me was having the opportunity to showcase my skills and build connections with some of the best bartenders in the UAE. Overall, being a part of this competition was an unforgettable experience, and I am grateful for the opportunity to participate. A big thanks goes next to Juicy, PATH Bar School and Chef Middle East!“.
Juicy’s 100% fruit juices containing no added sugars, flavours, or colours meet the highest international standards in the world of fruit juices, and thus provided the most desirable pairing for the contestants to create fresh and exciting cocktails.
The competition was a testament to the innovative vision of bartenders in the UAE, as they pushed the boundaries of mixology to create cocktails that were truly unique and delicious. The event was a great opportunity for talented bartenders to showcase their skills, connect with industry professionals, and raise their profiles as mixologists.
Nina Stanic, Juicy’s CMO, in a statement, said, “It was an honour to be here, to be the judge for the day. I am amazed by the creativity, techniques, and skills showcased by the bartenders. Watching them at work with Juicy juices was such a pleasure; pure art. A big thank you to our partners in this competition – the fantastic Chef ME team with the amazing Tauland and Path Bar School, the bartenders and people who came to support the finalists, and my fellow judges.”
The success of The Juicy Golden Pineapple Bartender Contest demonstrated the growing popularity of mixology as an art form, and the importance of innovation and creativity in the industry. Chef Middle East is proud to be an integral part of this growing community that is fuelled with passion, expressiveness, enthusiasm, and a zest for life!