CARROLLTON, Texas, Feb. 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- TGI Fridays will host the 23rd annual World Bartender Championship (WBC) Thursday, Feb. 27, at 7:00 p.m. at House of Blues Dallas. Widely acknowledged among bartenders as the toughest international bartending competition, 12 finalists from across the globe will go head to head for the coveted title.
"Fridays bartenders are the best in the business," said Matt Durbin, previous World Bartender Champion and vice president of beverage and bar innovation at TGI Fridays. "We're pros at both mixing and muddling handcrafted cocktails and creating memorable guest experiences. The World Bartender Championship provides a great arena for our bartenders to showcase his or her skills."
To make it to the final showdown, the 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 will exhibit product, ingredient and recipe expertise through a series of rigorous tests followed by a freestyle performance, where a panel of judges will assess each finalist's ability to make innovative drinks while displaying both an engaging style of service and flawless mixology techniques, qualities made famous by Fridays™.
Hosted at the historic House of Blues Dallas, the premier event will include the final showdown between competitors, music and specialty cocktails. Jon Taffer, host of Spike TV's hit reality series "Bar Rescue" and friend of Fridays, will once again be on hand to serve as emcee.
Bartenders from five countries will compete in this year's World Bartender Championship. The top competitors who reached the finals include:
- Genrev Paul Bacasno is from Makati City, Philippines and has been showcasing his talents for four years now. Bacasno enjoys it so much that he would love nothing more than to train future great Fridays bartenders for years to come.
- Alexander Barrenechea is from Lima, Peru. Competing in bartending competitions since 2008, this is the first time Barrenechea has reached the finals. He can't wait to show off his skills on the world stage!
- Santiago Emeric is from Orlando, Fla., and has been perfecting his bartending technique for nearly 10 years. If Emeric could be any drink, it would be a nice, simple beer. Naturally.
- Andy Hool is from Canton, Mich., and for more than five years has quenched guests' thirst with refreshing cocktails. This is Hool's third WBC appearance. He loves nothing more than to take care of his guests and says he's never had a bad day in his life!
- Katie Livezey is from McKinney, Texas, and has been crafting innovative concoctions and cocktails for 10 years now. This is Livezey's first WBC appearance and she looks forward to competing right here in her own backyard.
- Stavros Loumis is from Nicosia, the capital of the island of Cyprus, and has been serving up delicious drinks for two years now. If Loumis could be any drink of choice, he would, of course, be a Fridays' classic: Long Island Ice Tea.
- Jessica Myers is from Vestal, N.Y., and has been crafting cocktails for 14 years. This is her second consecutive WBC finals and the talented mom's dream is to be the first female to be crowned "World's Best Bartender."
- Ashley Morley is from Surrey, U.K. and has been delighting guests with his bartending craftsmanship for three years. When asked what drink he would be, Morley said a Mai Tai because it means out of this world!
- Ben Schaefer is from Orange, Conn., and has been showcasing his bartending talents for nearly seven years. Schaefer's competed in numerous Fridays events, but this marks his first time to the finals and he cannot wait for the chance to compete against the best!
- Alejandro Silva is from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., and has been honing his craft for almost a decade. When asked what drink he would be, without hesitation, Silva answered Heaven in Your Mouth.
- Russell Ward is from Sheffield, U.K. and has been dazzling Fridays' customers for nine years. He has competed in numerous bartending competitors in the U.K. and his excited to bring his expertise and skills to the U.S.
- Roque Zubia is from Hagerstown, Md., and has been making quality drinks for nearly 15 years. He has won numerous local and regional bartending competitions and looks forward to competing for the coveted crown.
Prior to battling it out in the final competition, the 12 finalists teamed up and volunteered at North Texas Food Bank (NTFB) on Monday, Feb. 24. The finalists participated in a variety of tasks including sorting incoming donations and unsalable items, to an assembly line which produces boxes of food items for various programs. NTFB, a certified member of Feeding America Food Bank Network, provides access to nearly 175,000 nutritious meals in 13 North Texas counties every day. Fridays is dedicated to hunger-relief and is committed to educating the public about food insecurity. Additionally, Fridays will donate proceeds raised from the local, regional and division bartender competitions to Feeding America at the WBC.
For more information on the World Bartender Championships and updates from Fridays, consumers can visit http://www.worldbtc.com/ and follow the brand on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/TGIFridays), Twitter @TGIFridays and YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/TGIFridays).
About TGI Fridays
TGI Fridays restaurants have a mission: To help people go out better. Because people deserve to be rewarded with handcrafted quality and genuine, personal service when they make time to go out with their friends.
As the original casual dining bar and grill, TGI Fridays offers authentic American food and legendary drinks. To bring our menu to neighborhoods all over the world, TGI Fridays proudly serves guests with over 900 restaurants in more than 60 countries. Making every day feel like a Friday wouldn't be possible without creating a place where friends feel free to hang out. That's why TGI Fridays takes pride in its nearly 8,000 skilled and knowledgeable bartenders, all of whom for the past twenty years have competed annually for the title of the "World's greatest TGI Fridays Bartender."
The Fridays guest recognition program, Give Me More Stripes®, gives our closest friends exclusive insider rewards, events, and sneak peeks.
TGI Fridays believes in having a good time, but also in the importance of drinking responsibly. Additionally, its Responsible Business Program is focused on positively impacting the communities and neighborhoods it serves. For more information, visit www.fridays.com.
SOURCE TGI Fridays