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.”