by Steven Doyle
TGI Fridays has crowned Andy Hool of Canton, Mich. the World’s Greatest Bartender at the 23rd annual World Bartender Championship last night at the House of Blues in Dallas. Andy’s mixology, precision and speed, coupled with his personality behind the bar, wowed a panel of industry expert judges and helped him secure the coveted title of World’s Greatest Bartender.
To make it to the final showdown, 12 finalists had to prove they were the best of the best on the local, regional and divisional level by ousting over 8,000 bartenders from over 900 TGI Fridays restaurants in more than 60 countries around the world. In the final competition, each bartender exhibited product, ingredient and recipe expertise through a series of rigorous tests followed by a freestyle performance, where a panel of judges assessed each finalist’s ability to make innovative drinks while displaying both an engaging style of service and flawless mixology techniques. Think Tom Cruise in Cocktail.
The final showdown between competitors was hosted by Jon Taffer of Spike TV’s reality series “Bar Rescue”.
“It is such an honor to be chosen as the World’s Greatest Bartender by Fridays—a brand with such a legacy of great bars and bartenders,” said Hool. “I’m incredibly proud of this honor and thrilled to represent Fridays as the World Bartender Champion. I can’t wait to celebrate with my Fridays family and guests in Canton.”
The 12 finalists in this year’s World Bartender Championship hail from five countries. The top competitors who reached the finals include:
- Genrev Paul Bacasno (Makati City, Philippines)
- Alexander Barrenechea (Lima, Peru)
- Santiago Emeric (Orlando, Fla.)
- Andy Hool (Canton, Mich.)
- Katie Livezey (McKinney, Texas)
- Stavros Loumis (Nicosia, the capital of the island of Cyprus)
- Jessica Myers (Vestal, N.Y.)
- Ashley Morley (Surrey, U.K.)
- Ben Schaefer (Orange, Conn.)
- Alejandro Silva (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.)
- Russell Ward (Sheffield, U.K.)
- Roque Zubia (Hagerstown, Md.)
The local favorite was the spunky Katie Livzey from McKinney, Texas who had the crowd roaring with her flawless execution and flair.
The journey and efforts of the 12 finalists culminated in last night’s event, and Fridays will donate all proceeds raised from the local, regional and division bartender competitions to Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity. Fridays is dedicated to hunger-relief and is committed to educating the public about food insecurity.