Our second #BehindTheBar interview presents… Michele Venturini! With a career in hospitality spanning almost two decades, 2019 will mark Michele’s fifth year working for Inception Group. He has been a Bar Manager at Cahoots for the past three years!
FUN FACT: If he wasn’t a Bar Manager, Michele believes he would have been a comic actor!
Q. How did you become a Bar Manager?
After 18 years of experience in the hospitality industry, I learnt a lot from different perspectives, from my role as Head Bartender to the next level as Bar Manager. But, even though I started managing bars in Italy, London has a completely different style of business!
Q. What do you enjoy about bartending?
I enjoy interacting with customers, making them happy and providing them with the best experience. Although the drinks are very important, I always represent the drink as the cherry on top of the cake – the cake is the whole customer experience!
Q. What inspired you to become a Bar Manager?
It happened quite naturally. I love every single aspect of my job – especially serving customers, working with my team to create menus and working alongside important brands.
Q. What is your favourite cocktail to drink and create?
I love classics! I’m in love with Martini cocktail, stirred with olive and just a splash of dry vermouth. The Americano cocktail is also super refreshing! I love to make different styles of drinks. For example, sour cocktails topped with a nice foam, but also long or refreshing drinks using fresh ingredients.
Q. Which seasonal drinks do you recommend during the Christmas period?
Warm drinks and twist on classics like hot punch or Hot Toddies containing spices and whiskey, but also creamy drinks with egg or milk such as eggnog!
Q. What makes a great Bar Manager?
There are three important things behind a great Bar Manager:
- Managing the business – This includes ensuring you maintain profits and control costs, while also growing the brand by organising events, pop-ups and masterclasses.
- Managing the team – Always keeping staff motivated, helping them develop their skills with improvements and also offering them praise.
- Focus on customer experience – Be attentive to guests in a professional but light and funny way!
Q. Do you have any advice for aspiring Bar Managers?
A Bar Manager’s role in a cocktail bar is one of the most important. The bar is the engine of the business, and if the car is going fast, you have to drive it!
Q. What ingredients do you feel are underused? Or overused? And what is the most versatile?
I believe that bitters (or amari in Italian) are underused here in London, and I think that vodka and sweet products such as juices and purées are overused.
Q. How do you develop new recipes or new cocktails?
Creating new cocktails is quite a complex process. It involves research into what customers look for in a cocktail, then making that connection through a combination of ingredients. London is home to a great range of products and liquors, which makes it easy to develop new recipes.
Q. Where’s the next place on your travel bucket list and why?
Over the past two years, I have been on many work trips including visits to Athens, Rome and Cyprus. I will be going to Berlin for the Berlin Bar Show where I will be representing Cahoots in a branded bar stand, followed by Dubai and Greece.