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Aaron Wall: Life as a Homeboy

Sitting down for a pint of Guinness with a frontrunner in Irish hospitality is a great craic, but there’s far more to Aaron Wall than just the stereotypes of a Dubliner.

His reputation since opening Homeboy in London’s Islington has exploded, but given his 6ft 5in frame, it wasn’t throwing Martinis which got him into hospitality, but throwing his weight around on the door.

In 2002 Wall worked as a bouncer while he was at school in Dublin before getting behind the bar for the first time aged 19. “My first night I totally blagged it but made about £80 in tips. I never looked back,” says Wall, while attempting to ‘split the E’ on his pint of Guinness (@split_the_e) with his first big gulp.

The Irish giant quickly moved on to The Octagon Bar at The Clarence Hotel in Dublin, where he learned the basics of making classic cocktails and the joy that hospitality brings him. “I then got an opportunity to work in Paris in an Irish bar called The Coolin when I was just 20, I couldn’t believe it.” The Coolin was named Best Irish Bar in the World (outside Ireland) by the Irish Times and Wall was responsible for its first cocktail menu. “I loved my time in Paris, but I think I’m the only person to move back to Dublin to stop drinking so much.”

His next big move was to win his local leg of the 42 Below Cocktail World Cup and represent Ireland at the global nals in New Zealand. This opened up the opportunity to work as a Bacardi brand ambassador for the following three years.

“A lot of young bartenders forget the brand ambassador role isn’t just a rock star lifestyle – it’s tough work and can get lonely. I also think I got to a point where I wasn’t learning anymore and I missed making people smile from behind the bar.” This lead to Wall helping open Opium, a huge, three-floor venue in Dublin among various other spaces he helped launch throughout his busy early years.

“I love opening bars, as long as you’re ready and prepared they’re great fun.” In 2016 he visited London Cocktail Club founder and longstanding friend JJ Goodman for what he thought was just a catch up drink, but which turned out to be a job interview. A couple of months later he moved to London as training and development manager for LCC. His leadership helped the chain get nominated for the Top 10 International High Volume Cocktail Bars at Tales of the Cocktail in 2017.

Following this success he was approached by Callooh Callay to take over as bar manager, an offer he couldn’t refuse. “The first couple of months were really tough because it was a totally different environment to LCC – it was much more intense, but I really wanted to define what Callooh was all about.” Wall’s momentum continued as he got the bar nominated in the exact same list as LCC but for 2018.

But the next big step in his journey is again thanks to Goodman, who suggested he take on a venue LCC had put up for sale. He successfully pitched his business plan to Goodman while the LCC owner leaned against a lamppost having a cigarette, and the next challenge was to raise funds. This is where his then housemate and now business partner Ciarán Smith, put his faith in Wall’s ability to create a world-class neighbourhood bar.

“Suddenly everything was happening, even my dad came over and helped with the floor and we built the bar together,” adds Wall. “I’m so proud of how it turned out and, although my old man had some differing views on the decor, I think it turned out all right.”

Now, having been commended for Best New Bar at the Class Bar Awards 2020 and boasting a plaque stating Best Pint of Guinness in London, there are plans for a new kitchen, and even new venues. That’s right, Wall plans to roll out Homeboy across London and even further afield. So whether you’re a Dubliner living abroad or simply after great modern Irish hospitality, when you walk into one of Wall’s Celtic venues you’ll feel like a homeboy.

A view from the city: Tulum

Angel Brown speaks to Lorena Seligson co-founder of We Are Bartenders and cocktail writer

Tell us little about Tulum’s drinking culture. What are the traditional drinks and how are things changing?

It is amazing how quickly Tulum has evolved. A few years ago, Margaritas and Piña Coladas were indispensable. Nowadays, due to the boom in tourism, bartenders feel the need to experiment with different ingredients and flavours to please visitors from all over the world. Our local favourite is the Ojo Rojo, meaning Red Eye – a Mexican beer with tomato juice, spicy sauces and a salty rim – a perfect remedy for when you are ‘crudo’ (hungover), or just to refresh the soul. There are also hand-craft ed cocktails made with local ingredients, such as Mexican spirits including sotol, pox, mezcal and bacanora. There are even straws made with lemongrass or papaya stem for a more original and ecofriendly presentation.

How advanced is the cocktail culture in Tulum?

Believe it or not, from the locals to the tourists the cocktail culture has grown exponentially. Many people come to Tulum to rejuvenate, unwind, explore, and have a cocktail or two, especially because bartenders are very passionate and competitive. We have a lot of skilful bartenders behind the bar. This November, Tulum is going to be hosting We Are Monday, the first bar show in Tulum solely dedicated 100% to Mexican Spirits.

Who and what are the pioneer bartenders and bars?

I’d like to mention these passionate bartenders who work every day to improve our cocktail culture: Israel ‘El Chore’: A true alchemist. A painter and musician, after that he harnessed his career in creating magic behind the bar. His innovative techniques working with local ingredients have propelled him in creating a lot of menus for bars all around Tulum. Peter Sanchez: head bartender of Arca and co-founder of We Are Bartenders, he started the cocktail movement in Playa del Carmen along with Aldo Piccini. Alex Sanchez: he is leader of Clínicas Clandestinas, a platform of free seminars for bartenders. He was also head bartender of Todos Santos, a no-menu bar with the use of local ingredients. Franco Batezzati: global finalist of Chivas Masters, he is super-talented and head bartender of Nu Tulum. Diego Valencia; one of the cocktail movement pioneers in Tulum, he has his own brand of lemongrass straws and he also does consulting for a lot of bars within the Riviera Maya.

Where do you think Tulum ranks in terms of bar scenes in Mexico – is it leading the way or are other cities and scenes more influential?

Tulum is having its moment. The spirit industry is watching Tulum and we are excited. During the past two years, bartenders have improved their craft, techniques, hospitality and knowledge, all for the love of cocktails. Arca and Casa Malca were nominated for Best International Bars in the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards. I can proudly say Tulum has made its mark on the globe for international awareness.

La’Mel Clarke: How’s your mental state?

The gamut can run from having an ‘off day’ to full-blown depression. It’s mind-blowing, because all bartenders do is make drinks, party and have a laugh, right?

Of course, this isn’t
 the case. Hospitality 
staff are familiar with
 the struggle of balancing personal relationships 
with notoriously antisocial working hours. Add to that the pressures of working in an industry that is currently in a beautiful season of bloom, along with the ever present need to innovate and excel – there quite simply isn’t enough time to feel lonely or anxious; there are Piña Coladas to clarify, and mint garnishes to pick.

But it isn’t all doom and gloom. There are some exciting opportunities and lifelines for members of the drinks industry, whether they need immediate counsel regarding mental health, or are looking at taking preventative measures for health and mental wellbeing.

Drinks industry charity The Benevolent is a non- profit organisation designed to provide support for members of the trade and their families. Whether
for emergency grants and funding, support with stress at work, substance dependency or free counselling sessions.

There is also Healthy Hospo, founded by Tim Etherington-Judge, which is all about providing training, events and activities
to educate and inspire people to better health and wellness and change the attitudes prevalent within the industry. I attended a Healthy Hospo event in 2018 and we did yoga, drank kombucha and learned that the best way to eat on a night of drinking is to graze, rather than eat one heavy meal. In 2020 it’s also launching its first digital learning platform focused on health and wellbeing in the hospitality industry.

Finally, there is the work
of Reyka vodka, which 
has made a real splash. 
Led by Fabiano Latham, groups of bartenders have been ‘adventuring within nature’ and participating 
in wilderness excursions, taking part in bouldering, abseiling, canoeing, paddle boarding and foraging for cocktail ingredients on remote islands. Or, for the less adventurous, there’s the casual weekly running club, Reyka Runners.

While the top line of
the Reyka experience isn’t married to mental wellbeing, there’s still a connection. Experiences like this are great because they get people out of their everyday routine and into the outdoors,
where a microbiome called mycobacterium vaccae, found in mud, has been credited with treating depression.

In the current social climate, mental and physical wellbeing is taking centre stage for the vast majority
 of the industry and the wider public. As a result,
 it is heartening to see programmes which have been developed to benefit the industry, but it is also important to be mindful of whether it is actually good for the wellbeing of the industry, or if it is just slick PR for alcohol brands – anyone for beer yoga?

Swift launches new “Hospitality Menu”

London cocktail bar Swift has launched a new drinks menu which aims to celebrate its local neighbourhood in Soho.

The new “Hospitality Menu” has retained five of Swift’s most popular drinks, there are 15 new additions focusing on the LGBT, coffee and music movements.

The menu features simple tasting notes with illustrations created by Catalan artist Helena Bonastre.

Some of Swift’s new cocktails:

FLAMINGO ALL NIGHTER (£12)
Monkey Shoulder scotch whisky, pomegranate, Aperitivo Select, lemon, egg white

SCALA (£11)
Beefeater Gin, gooseberry, Picpoul De Pinet, lime sherbet, geranium

PARAKEET (£12)
Olmeca Altos tequila, guava, Pineau Des Charentes, Wray & Nephew and lime

WINDMILL (£13)
Lot 40 Rye, Martini Ambrato, Caperitif, banana

La’Mel Clarke: An industry in high spirits

La’Mel Clarke marvels at how the hospitality industry has already faced up to the coronavirus crisis with creativity.

At the risk of sounding ignorant or ill informed, the increasing risk of the COVID19 virus had mostly just passed me by. Amid the arrival of numerous antibacterial hand-washing stations popping up in [London bar] Lyaness, and the numerous stories regarding toilet paper hoarding, the virus had been ­firmly off my radar. I honestly didn’t realise the scale of the situation. Not even when I reflexively checked if my Eurostar to Paris was still functioning as planned. I wasn’t even worried when the outdoor Parisian dance party I was poised to attend was shut down. The real sucker punch, however, was when I saw a sign on the door of my favourite after-work pub which read: “We won’t be taking any cash payments, due to Coronavirus.” Everything fell into place. Things have become really bad, and the momentum doesn’t seem to be slowing.

The cascade of closing bars and restaurants and the careers of my friends in hospitality at stake has already changed the landscape of our industry forever. But, just like that famous proverb, something about “falling but getting up stronger” – the hospitality industry is bouncing back with ferocity. The tenacity and speed with which the bar industry has reacted to this unprecedented situation has astounded and inspired me. Bars and restaurants became delivery and take-away services overnight; if guests can’t go to their venues, deliver a taste of the venue to the guests. The positive outreach of this is immense – keeping staff engaged while footfall is slowing down. The venues that closed before the government stepped in were able to generate some sort of income for their staff while navigating these uncertain times.

SPECIAL DELIVERY
Home delivery is out of the question for me, however, as I don’t live in east London – but luckily I’ve been sorted out with two amazing home deliveries, the ­first was courtesy of Anna Sebastian and the Artesian team with No.3 gin and then my Lyaness family making sure I had some goodies to keep me sated during this quarantine period. It’s the small acts like this that have made me most excited – the steps that are being taken to preserve the brains and lift the spirits of bar staff all over the world.

There is so much encouragement to stay motivated and sharp. This is the perfect time to up-skill and train physically and mentally, ensuring you return to your job in the best possible shape. I personally can’t wait to see all of the ripped bartenders once this has all blown over. Learning is a commodity rather than a luxury – thanks to Pernod Ricard, I am about to embark on the WSET training for free. The Booze Brain, helmed by Maxim Schulte and Jo Last, is leading the online way with talks and activities ranging from fi­tness to cocktails to bar photography. It is unpacking all the facets you could potentially need to work in our industry. It is more than simply making drinks. Our jobs are all about proximity and being hospitable – personally, if I know you, and you come into my bar, there will be hugs galore. But we’ve had that stripped away and we now have to restructure the way we go about our everyday business, we have to acclimatise to the reality of post-Coronavirus, and we are ready.

From the fact-based updates on The Booze Brain to the home deliveries, we are really displaying what hospitality is – anticipating a need and providing your guest with exactly what they didn’t realise they needed.

Pegu Club closes after 15 years in NYC

New York bar Pegu club will not reopen even after restrictions implemented for the COVID-19 global pandemic are lifted.

The legendary bar was forced to close under government rule earlier in the year to prevent the spread of the virus, but founder Audrey Saunders announced on Facebook that it was the end of the road for the Lower Manhattan venue.

“Our lease was due to expire on October 31, and we had every intention of staying put until then,” said Saunders. “We were also looking forward to celebrating our 15th anniversary on August 29 in a grand way. But COVID-19 has taken every bit of the life we had out of us, and a soft reopening following NYC guidelines would not be enough to sustain us entering into the summer months.

“In order to maintain social distancing mandates, we would only be allowed to fill the room at 50% capacity – that is, even if we reached 50% capacity during our slow season.”

Pegu Club was opened in August 2005 by Saunders and was inspired by a Victorian gentlemen’s club of the same name in Myanmar in the late 19th century.

The bar was ranked fifth in the inaugural edition of The World’s 50 Best Bars in 2009 and went on to feature on the list in four consecutive years.

Saunders added: “It’s hard to imagine that I will no longer have the pleasure of seeing any of you enjoying yourselves within our walls, or even be able to sit with any of you at the bar for even one last drink. We wanted to give her a great send off, but it simply was not in the cards.

“This is Pegu Club’s 15th year, and our time has come. I couldn’t be any prouder of what we were able to accomplish over the many years, along with nurturing the most incredible generations of alumni of who we are so deeply proud of.

“They say that if you can make it in NYC, you can make it anywhere. Pegu made an indelible mark not only on the New York city skyline, but on the world itself. We changed the entire cocktail landscape going into the 21st century and improved the way the world drinks – it’s something that every single Pegu alumni can and should be proud of as well.”

Alex Lawrence: The little posh boy

With a sense of irony his industry peers call him a little posh boy. It’s ironic because Alex Lawrence is covered in tattoos, carries a thick Scottish twang and is far from what is traditionally deemed ‘posh’.

His private school education is what draws in the nickname and in many ways it was his rejection of this system that made him the person he is today.

”I did all the normal formula of A-levels and going to university, but I fucking hated it,” says Lawrence.

“It’s the most oppressive system for young people so I got to university and I stuck around for nine days, got my student loan and then did what I wanted.

“Music was always my passion. I went to music college the following year with the sole purpose of finding a band and then dropping out.” He adds that he’s still paying back the fees.

“I played in a couple of bands over the next few years to minor success but they were some of my happiest days.”

His bartending career began when he needed to raise money to sustain this music dream and he started in Aberdeen at a high-volume pub. By the age of 19 he was a trainee assistant manager, but once he discovered cocktails Lawrence took up a second job to learn more about them before landing a role at Aberdeen’s Orchid.

“That’s where I self-studied super hard and I had a mentor in Dan Nevsky. I remember reading Difford’s Guide every day, trying to learn as much as physically possible.

“We had a rotovap and I started annoying everyone with it trying to make cocktails, but then we realised it was better for making gin. It was like a crazy dream, being in my early 20s and developing my own gin (Porter’s).”

Lawrence then went down to London for Diageo World Class and visited Ryan Chetiyawardana’s Dandelyan for the first time, and sat there for a solid 12 hours.

“I made it my mission to work there and I begged for a job for about six months until Ryan eventually gave in. I sold everything I had, including my music equipment, to move to London because I was given two weeks’ notice to start.”

Lawrence has now been in London for five years, but it wasn’t straightforward to begin with.

“London was tough for the first six months – I hated it. I’d get halfway home on the bus from a shift and start crying, but I couldn’t go home because that would have been a failure. It took a while to get going and I started to make industry friends, but to this day I have, like, three friends outside of work.”

Although he took a brief sabbatical to help launch Swift in London’s Soho, there’s no questioning the success Lawrence enjoyed while working at Dandelyan. He rose to head bartender where he oversaw its topping of The World’s 50 Best Bars before it rebranded to Lyaness in 2019.

“I’d put my heart and soul into Dandelyan so when Lyaness came about I didn’t think I was the right person to take it forward. I was going to have to look elsewhere, but then they made this role up for me, they wouldn’t let me leave.”

The relationship Lawrence has with Chetiyawardana is what kept him with the company, now holding the role of global bar director overseeing the international bars under the portfolio.

“I obviously started working for Ryan, but now he’s become one of my best pals and we have a natural way of communicating. I wouldn’t want to work for anyone else and I’m so privileged to be in the position I am.”

The little posh boy was actually invited back to one of his old schools to give a talk about alternative career paths to university. But the fact he was later turned down when they discovered his tattoos only emphasises this sense of irony because, quite simply, Lawrence is a true success story of someone who goes against the grain.

Carlos Londoño: Passion pays off

I heard gunshots so I ran downstairs and the security guard at reception told me not to go out. My stepdad was badly wounded, my mum was lucky, but the driver was dead.”

Carlos Londoño had a life-changing year in his Colombian birthplace when he was 14. His father died of a stroke and his family was attacked by gun fire while returning home from holiday. They fled the country that year to escape the ongoing violence and political unrest and headed to London.

“I had a very privileged upbringing in Colombia, it was like a little bubble,” says Londoño. “But the next thing I knew we were on a flight to Europe. I was really excited because I was going to live in the land of The Beatles and Queen, but it was a bit strange going from such a comfortable upbringing to a small bedsit in Brixton with political refugees from all over the world.”

According to Londoño it all came as a result of his late step father’s work as a lawyer protecting the trade unions in Colombia. “I thought I was going to follow my father and become a lawyer, but having my life flipped upside down as a result there was no way. For a while I wanted to be an architect and then a fashion designer, but my first job in the hospitality industry was at a Colombian & Argentinian restaurant in Islington.”

It was next door at Medicine Bar where he gained his passion for making drinks. The young Londoño worked voluntarily to help develop the venue’s cocktail menu and found himself a girlfriend there in the process. “One day she took me to Covent Garden and dumped me, so I wanted to go and get drunk somewhere nice. I eventually found Café Pacifico. I fell in love with the place and I needed a second job for some pot money, so when I was offered a waiting job I took it.”

Londoño moved up the ranks to head waiter and then head bartender and restaurant manager during his long reign at the central London joint.

“Pacifico is my institution. It’s a pioneer in so many ways and it’s where I met my wife, so it’s a special place. The three key things I brought to Pacifico were introducing more fresh ingredients to the cocktail menu, improving the customer service and reducing the number of tequilas behind the bar, because it was overwhelming.”

The bar was founded by Tomas Estes in 1982 and when he launched his Tequila Ocho brand in 2008 Londoño naturally took on the role as its first brand ambassador, a post he held for three years. He’s also represented the tequilas under Emporia Brands and was on the judging panel when star bartender Alex Kratena entered his first agave cocktail competition.

About three years ago Estes said he would probably sell if Londoño ever left because he was the spine of the place. Londoño decided he should be the one to buy it. “Together with my cousin we bought the place, even though it was in debt, and managed to turn it around in eight months. It’s rewarding to think we managed to raise the funds without taking outside investments because now we can do things exactly how we want.

“I’d love to write a book on my time at Pacifico because there are many stories to tell.”

While Londoño keeps pushing the Café Pacifico brand around the world and heading up the tequila leg of the International Spirits Challenge, he also has plans to launch a tequila brand and has his eye on another Pacifico venue. There’s no questioning his ambition and drive towards success, but at the forefront of everything is seeing happy guests.

“For me customer service is always number one. If they go away feeling loved then that’s enough for me. My mother always told me ‘do what makes you happy, and I’ll be happy’.”

Daniele Bresciani: Loyalty shines through

Young bartenders tend to move quickly between jobs to try to climb the professional hierarchy as fast as possible. But Daniele Bresciani has taken a different approach.

He has been a cornerstone of The Churchill Bar & Terrace in London for the past seven years, making him a loyal, methodical ’tender.

He gained this tenacity as a young man in Italy. “I was told I was too late to get into a professional cycling team – you had to start at 16 and I was already 22 – but I was determined,” says Bresciani. In 2007 he earned a cycling contract to compete in the elite U23 category, just one step away from racing for a top European team. However, after a couple of years on the circuit he didn’t make the next step up, so his professional cycling career was over.

Bresciani had worked in a coffee shop while he was training, which he returned to after cycling. His interest in hospitality grew while working at the coffee shop and other small venues, but a seminar on Don the Beachcomber and the history of tiki in Milan changed everything.

“It totally blew my mind. The language he used, the ingredients and techniques were amazing and that’s when I decided I needed to leave Brescia and see what was out there.”

After an unsuccessful Skype interview for a bar back role at The Savoy, Bresciani was invited for an interview at the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill, home to The Churchill Bar & Terrace. Although his bar skills were up to scratch, he was only offered a role on the floor because his English skills weren’t good enough.

“When I moved I wanted to do five years there, no matter how much I loved or hated it.”

During his time at the hotel bar Bresciani worked his way up the ranks, through the head bartender role to assistant bar manager in 2019. “Of course I could’ve looked elsewhere at one of the top hotel bars and worked with a bigger mentor, but at the same time I wanted to push the limits of what we could achieve with the team we had.

“Each year we had a new challenge. In my first year we experienced a gas explosion in the basement and other years I got a promotion. We also received nominations for awards, which gave me new inspiration to try to achieve more.

“That’s why I never even thought about leaving, and because we’ve all worked closely together the directors started to trust what we were doing with guest bar shifts, for example, which meant we could make changes to the bar more easily.”

Eve Vasileiadou was the head bartender when Bresciani joined, so her departure was disheartening, but her replacement, Nelson Bernardes, gave the Italian fresh enthusiasm, with big plans set for 2020 and an influx of big-name guest shifts.

“Obviously this was all cancelled due to Covid-19, but it’s still exciting to work with someone so well connected in the industry. I also think that, as terrible as the virus is for the industry, it’s also going to be an opportunity to reset and focus on how we run things.

“I think Covid could also bring the industry closer together, because over the past five or so years it’s something we’ve started to lose through social media.”

Bresciani’s loyalty to the Hyatt Regency brand is a true testament to his character and a rarity throughout the bar industry globally. “There have been tempting offers over the years but I don’t feel like I’ve finished what I started at The Churchill Bar & Terrace. Maybe one day I’ll feel like I’ve achieved all I can here, like I did with cycling, but until then I’m focused on pushing the bar forwards.”

Paige Aubort: Coming back stronger

The past seven months have forced change upon every member of the hospitality industry and, as one of Australia’s brightest talents, Paige Aubort has seen almost every aspect of her life move in different directions.

“I’m not upset with the people of the industry, I’m just upset that I put over a decade of hard work towards it and there was no support. I didn’t realise we were so fallible,” says Aubort. “It’s like dating someone for 10 years and then they just leave. I have resentment towards the industry’s lack of security.”

Prior to lockdown, Aubort was working at Bulletin Place in Sydney while running Coleman’s Academy, a not-for-profit organisation she founded in 2015 to support women in the industry.

“I was really burnt out and tired of living on no money and high rent in Sydney,” says Aubort, sitting outside her home in Scotts Head, New South Wales. “I thought I’d be ready to go again after two weeks but actually it’s taken a few months to reset.”

Aubort was ranked 38 in this year’s Drinks International Bar World 100, making her one of the most prominent members of Australia’s bar scene. She had planned to open a venue in London in 2020 and possibly take Coleman’s with her to Europe, but the travel restrictions and financial demands of London prevented her move. Instead, Aubort stayed local and was set to open a cafe/bar in Scotts Head with the managing director of Bulletin Place. The pair had worked hard on the concept from start to finish and even done the photography for the new space, but for various reasons it fell through at the start of September.

“I was totally heartbroken, I’d fallen in love with the place and I cried for days. But instead I’ve decided to study a diploma in commercial interior design in Melbourne.” This may seem a drastic change in direction, but having worked with Lobo Group’s Dre Walters to help open Parisian-style bar Kittyhawk in Sydney, Aubort is obsessed with the process of conceptualising.

“When I was going through the process of designing a business front to back, I realised I wanted complete control over the interior design. I joined Lobo Plantation to become the best possible bartender I could in order to make me a better manager, and now, by studying interior design I hope to become the most complete operator I can.”

It may feel like the industry is losing a valuable member in the aftermath of Covid, but it won’t be for long. “I’m going to work in hospitality while I study. I’m a sucker for it,” she adds. “It’ll be nice to go back into the industry but not have it as a full-time job so I can relax more. I quite often get asked what my signature cocktail is but I don’t have one, I just really like people. I’m people smart, not book-smart.”

While Aubort’s studies take priority on the south coast, it brings an end to Coleman’s Academy.

“It’s not that I don’t think there’s a time and a place for Coleman’s, I think there always will be, I just fell out of love with it. I was having to convince girls to show up and it went from a labour of love to just labour. It’s tough to quantify its success but it definitely changed a lot of women’s lives, so I’m happy with what I achieved with it.”

Aubort’s success in the bar world isn’t just testament to her engaging persona, but a drive to improve herself and genuine desire to help others. And although these traits have made her popular behind the bar, her future may be on the other side. “I love coming up with concepts. Scheming and finding improvements in things is what I’m best at. My dream job would be to pitch myself to brands, take their ideas and improve them.”

Aubort has a habit of throwing all her energy into life, which is what makes her good at everything she tries, but having time away during lockdown has allowed her to recharge and rethink in order to come back stronger. “Yeah, I feel like it’s in my blood, I fucking love it but I think I needed a break.”