[ 國際調酒師系列 ] 酒類新概念的迷人佈道者 — Micaela Piccolo

Micaela Piccolo 絕對是一個迷人的調酒師,不管是她溫暖的笑容、或是她對調酒的熱情,都讓所有人感染到愉悅的心情。Micaela 是近幾年備受矚目的新興調酒師,你可以在許多高檔酒吧喝到她的招牌調酒,或是你也曾看到她與她的作品出現在媒體上,像是 Men’s HealthShape Magazine紐約每日新聞Artinfo。擁有多年的服務業的經驗,目前她擔任 Maison Ferrand 的亞太區品牌大使,持續推廣著各種調酒及酒類。

Micaela 原本是美國 Vogue 雜誌的模特兒,當她決定要轉換跑道時,她從紐約市一間酒吧的Barback 開始起家,逐漸成為酒吧 Distilled New York 最被推崇的調酒師之一,也開始提供酒吧顧問的專業服務。現在,她負責中國、香港、新加坡、泰國、柬埔寨、日本、韓國、馬來西亞、印尼、台灣、越南、菲律賓、澳洲及紐西蘭等地區的酒類推廣。

這次她擔任 Bartenders’ Week Taiwan 大師講堂的講者而來到 KOR Taipei,我們準備了一些問題請教她:

1.在您從事調酒行業之前曾經是個模特兒,您的故事是什麼?為什麼轉換職業跑道?

就像其他產業裡的通俗故事一樣,我會踏入紐約的調酒產業是為了賺錢,因為我想辭掉模特兒的工作。我當時非常不滿,我知道是時候要做出改變了。我看到一間酒吧正在找人,我踏著毫無經驗的腳步走進去,並且告訴經理我會盡我所能的投入工作,很幸運的他願意在我身上賭一把,如果不是因為這件事,我現在絕對走不到今天。

2.這次的主題是「新興酒業的崛起」,可以為我們解釋一下什麼是「新興酒業」嗎?作為一個品牌大使,這個現象的重要性是什麼?

你會注意到現在有很多調酒師跟品牌大使都在轉移到呈現更加永續性的方式,並且轉化產品的技術多樣性,而不是「如何做出這杯含有10種食材、並且加入發酵泡沫就會點燃著火的瘋狂調酒?」在我看來,這個行業就像是經歷了一個孤立的階段,忘記了大多數人渴望美味而簡單的飲料。當然,人會想要嘗試新的東西,但他們也會回頭去找以前最喜歡的飲料,因為那種熟悉感給可以給人回到家的感覺。這就是為什麼經典調酒永遠是經典!

我在台灣期間向大家呈獻的飲料都會非常平易近人,而且是大家在家就可以做的。我並不是為了改變遊戲規則,而是希望可以為調酒師打開眼界,尤其是那些希望在未來邁入品牌大使這樣角色的人。飲料行業的另一個熱潮是「在地製烈酒」,愈來愈多的酒吧比以往更加支持自己的國家及本土製造者。只要有了這種心態,每個人都會贏。

3.您曾經在韓國培訓當地調酒師,您認為美國和亞洲的酒吧文化和調酒師的關鍵區別是什麼?

在人才方面沒有太大差異 – 我所見過的亞洲調酒師們,他們和世界上任何一家酒吧一樣,都是擅長製作飲料的好手。我相信美國/歐洲和亞洲之間的巨大差異是在於「接受教育和培訓」。 我在整個旅行期間跟許多調酒師和酒店客人聊天,他們希望有更多的翻譯書籍、討論品牌的分類或者想知道如何運用各種酒類。目前,亞洲市場大致受制於市場行銷,這些銷售理念並不能為酒吧或酒吧團隊提供長期的好處。但好消息是,Proof&Company、Maison Ferrand和La Maison du Whiskey這些公司正在做出改變,包括更多專注於分類的培訓及觀念建立,未來在亞太地區絕對會愈來愈常見。

4.您認為什麼是調酒師最重要的特質?您平時如何訓練自己?

我愈是花時間去拜訪各地區的酒吧,愈是發現年輕的調酒師僅僅被教導如何製作經典調酒、以及一些基礎知識,但他們卻沒有被教導如何控制和維持氣氛。如果你去探訪世界上一些最好的酒吧(像是Employees OnlyAttaboy28 Hong Kong Street…等等),無論星期一或星期五晚上,音樂和燈光永遠都是完美的,門口的迎賓總是讓你感覺自己非常特別。我很幸運能夠在這種擁有最好的音樂策展及燈光設計的酒吧裡工作和成長,在餐飲界,任何人都應該記住,他們是接待賓客的主人,而這些元素都是服務的延伸,為了不斷的改善這一點,我建議所有的調酒師應該盡可能的多去參觀其他酒吧和餐館,並且注意他們如何營造環境,而不僅僅是他們的酒單。

5.你認為女性調酒師在這個行業受到了不同的待遇嗎? 你認為女調酒師有什麼優勢?

我很難找到正確的答案,因為沒有任何理由去嘗試將這個產業裡的男性和女性分開來。尤其當我們愈是提出這樣的問題,我們就愈加意識到女人 VS. 男人的分別。我們應該問的問題是:「作為經理或團隊成員,我怎樣才能確保我的同事在我身邊感到安全和平等?」或是「如果他們遭遇明顯的性別歧視或種族歧視,我將如何支持我的朋友或同事?」無論是男性還是女性都有各自的優勢,我們可以做的事情是注意我們的措詞,讓我們在這些性別的差異下仍然確保平等和公平。

Micaela Piccolo

Micaela Piccolo is definitely a charming bartender that everyone can be infected by her warm smile and her big passion of bartending. She is quickly rising through the ranks in the world. Her signature cocktails can be seen and enjoyed in many upscale cocktail lounges and featured in numerous publications such as Men’s Health, Shape Magazine, New York Daily News, and Artinfo. She currently work as Brand Ambassador of Maison Ferrand for Asia Pacific, responsible for Grand China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines, Australia and New Zealand.

We had a few questions for her when she visited KOR Taipei during Bartender’s Week Taiwan 2017:

1.You were a model before being a bartender. What’s your story? Why did you change your career path?

Well, just like other folks in the industry, I sort of fell into bartending in NYC to help make money as I decided to leave the modeling world. I was very unfulfilled and I knew it was time to make a change in course. That’s when I saw an open call for a bar opening up and I just walked in and promised the bar manager that I was willing to learn and put in the work. Thank goodness he took the chance on me! I wouldn’t be where I am today without it.

2.The topic here is “the rise of new cocktail (drink) industry “, can you please explain how the topic means to you as you’re currently a BA in Asia market?

You’ll notice that a lot of bartenders and BA’s are shifting focus to showcase more sustainability methods and transparent production techniques versus the ‘how to make this crazy 10 ingredient drink that lights on fire when you add fermented foam to it’. The industry sort of went through an insular stage, in my opinion, forgetting that the majority of folks crave delicious but simple drinks. Humans will always want to try something new, but they will also go back to ordering their favorite drink because that’s what makes them feel at home. That’s why classics are classic!

The drinks I will be showcasing during my time in Taiwan are approachable and easy to make at home for anyone. I’m not looking to change the game but I am aiming to open up perspective for bartenders, especially those looking to step into a role like Brand Ambassador in the future. Another craze taking on the drink industry is the support of locally made spirits. More bars want to empower their country and producers now more than ever. With this mindset, everybody wins.

3.You have been to South Korea to train bartenders, what do you think are the key differences between bar culture and bartending talent in the USA and Asia?

There isn’t a large difference in talent – I’ve seen bartenders in Asia who are skillful at drink preparation just like any other bar in the world. I believe the big difference between the USA/Europe and Asia is the access to education and training. I meet bartenders and hospitality individuals throughout my travels that desire books to be translated and for brands to help discuss categories or how to apply their spirits. Right now, Asia is roughly suffering from marketing ideas that don’t exactly provide long term benefits for the bar or bar team. The good news is that this is changing with companies like Proof & Company, Maison Ferrand and La Maison du Whiskey more trainings are dedicated to category building and awareness are definitely going to be something APAC sees more of in the future.

4.Do you think female bartenders are treated differently in this industry? What advantage do you think women bartenders have?

I have a tough time finding the right answer to questions that try to separate men from women in the bar industry. The more we ask questions like this, the more we add to the idea that its woman VS. man. The questions we should be asking are “How can I as a manager or team member make sure my colleagues feels safe and equal around me?" or “How will I step in and support my friend or colleague if there is an obvious situation of sexism or racism towards them?" Being either male or female will always have its grand advantages but we can also control the narrative to assure that these gender expectations are set to ensure equality and fairness.

 

 

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