Job Title: Head Bartender
Company: HIX Soho
Industry Sector: Hospitality and Leisure
A Levels: Fine Art, Economics and French
University: Bournemouth University
Degree Course: BA (Hons) International Hospitality Management
Professional Accreditation: Institute of Hospitality and Institute of Directors (Student Member)
Other: WSET Lvel 2 in Wine and Spirits and BIIAB Level Award for Personal License Holders
I wanted to work with wine and spirits from when I was around 16. I was offered a work experience placement for a week at The Waterside Inn, a 3 Michelin Star restaurant in Bray which has been named as one of the best restaurants in the world. I worked with their Sommelier and bar team with a wine list of over 1300 wines. I returned back a number of times during school holidays, learning more each time.
I then went to Bournemouth University to study International Hospitality Management, a small course, but one that teaches you about every aspect of hospitality, from service, to consumer behaviour and finance. During my placement year, I worked at Lime Wood, a 5 star country house hotel in the New Forest, where I worked in every department to understand how the whole hotel ran, and to get as much experience as I could from that year.
I had a few more part time jobs throughout this, in a café, pub, nightclub and cocktail bar – each taught me about different aspects of the industry and allowed me to practice what I had learnt at University.
"I worked in every department... to get as much experience as I could from that year."
I am now Head Bartender at HIX, Soho in London, an apothecary, speakeasy style cocktail bar which focuses on using unusual ingredients and creating “experience drinks” which you are unable to get anywhere else in the world. I use everything I learnt at University such as people management, stock management and just generally being creative and the best at what I do.
Loughborough Grammar School really did help me with what I do. You don’t necessarily realise that until you leave. The expectation from teachers and the work that you do is at a much higher level than you originally think. You become more mature than a lot of other people you meet along the way and this puts you in good stead for getting jobs further down the line. Your attitude to work has to remain once you leave, putting everything into what you do because you may not realise, but it shows to employers.
My one piece of advice to anyone, is to just care about what you’re doing, no matter what it is. Make that little bit of extra effort today to make life easier tomorrow.
Job Search Tips
Stay in touch with everyone you meet – even if it’s an email every 3 months to catch up. They may be able to help you further down the road.
Current Needs of Employers in my field
People that have the right attitude. You don’t necessarily need the practical skills, they can be taught, but if you WANT to do a job, show it.
Things I wish I’d known in Sixth Form
Don’t worry about what University to go to, just make the most of it when you’re there.