The first ever edition of #50BestTalks for Asia’s 50 Best Bars took place in May 2018, and the second edition followed a year later on Friday 10th May 2019 at Como Dempsey in Singapore.
Under the theme ‘Female Spirit’, some of Asia’s leading bartenders discussed key topics and current trends in the bar scene, cocktail culture and much more, at the first all-female edition of a #50BestTalks event.
The panel featured insight from mixologists hailing from Singapore, Bangkok and Hong Kong. Read some highlights from the event below and watch the highlights video to catch up on the best moments.
Sasha Wijidessa of Operation Dagger in Singapore
Wijidessa was halfway through a degree in pharmaceutical science when she swapped medical manuscripts for mixology menus. She said: “I enjoyed my study, but I fell in love with the atmosphere in bars. I felt really looked after by the community as a whole – they made it feel like home. If I get sexist comments from customers, I can’t control that; what I can control is how I react and whether I let it affect me.”
Chow owns one of the best bars in Hong Kong and Asia's first brand of artisanal canned cocktails. She asks her bartenders to focus on educating her customers, to give a well-rounded experience. She said: “Once you give a customer a backstory of spirits, suddenly they have a whole new appreciation of what we’re trying to do… We want to create a space where everyone feels comfortable – a positive environment for me, other women and all of our customers.”
Bannie Kang of Anti:Dote in Singapore
Originally from South Korea, Kang found her love for the bar industry while working front of house in Singapore over a decade ago. She said: “The Singapore bar scene has grown so much in the past five years and it’s the same story in Indonesia, Malaysia and South Korea… In terms of service, everyone should be treated the same. The only consideration should be someone’s personality; never gender.”
Pinsuda Pongprom of The Bamboo Bar at Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok, Thailand
Pongprom works in one of the finest hotel bars in the world. She tries to reflect the warmth of Thai culture in her drinks and hospitality, giving her guests an authentic brand of service. She said: “Togetherness is really important in Thailand and I try to bring that to every customer I serve. Working in a hotel bar is great, thanks to the resources it gives you… It shouldn’t be a surprise when a woman is head bartender or working behind a bar and I think we are really progressing.”
Watch the highlights from the 2019 and 2018 editions of #50BestTalks in the videos:
#50BestTalks is a series of thought-leadership events with the purpose of sharing, debating and passing along knowledge and innovation in the hospitality industry, as well as promoting the successes and tackling the challenges across the global and regional food and drinks sectors.