Kevin Patnode – Diageo World Class
World Class 2015 Türkiye birincisi, dünya yedincisi barmen Kevin Patnode’la World Class yarışmasını, viski tutkusunu ve bu ay Tünel’de açacağı kokteyl barı Külhanbeyi ni konuştuk.
World Class, dünyanın en iyi barmenlerini belirlemek, miksoloji dünyasının gelişimine katkıda bulunmak ve yeni kokteyllerin yaratılmasına olanak sağlamak için Diageo tarafından düzenlenen global bir yarışma.
Türkiye 2 yıldır World Class’a katılıyor olmasına rağmen büyük başarı sağladı ve adını duyurmayı başardı. 2014’te Türkiye birincisi olan Onurcan Gencer’den sonra 2015 yılında İstanbul’da yaşayan ve Nişantaşı NOPA’da çalışan Kevin Patnode Türkiye birincisi olmakla kalmadı ve dünya yedincisi olarak Türkiye’yi başarıyla temsil etti.
World Class 2016 Türkiye elemeleri bugünlerde yapılıyor. Yarışmacılar bir testin ardından başarılı olur ve ilk 35 e kalırlarsa Diageo’nun okulu olarak nitelendirebileceğimiz International Wine And Spirits Academy’de 5 ay süren bir kursa programına tabii tutuluyor. World Class’14 Dünya Birincisi Charles Joly, World Class’09 Dünya Birincisi Telis Papadoupulos, World Class’15 Türkiye Birincisi Kevin Patnode ile Oğul Türkkan ve Ertan Engin’in jüri üyeliğini yaptığı yarışmada yarı final elemesi sonrasında 7 bartender finale kalıyor ve 7 finalistten biri de Türkiye’yi temsil etme hakkını kazanıyor.
Yarışmanın bence en önemli özelliği sadece hazırlanan karışımın tadı değil, hazırlık aşaması, sunum, kullanılan malzemenin özgünlüğü ve yaratıcılığın da puana etki ederek yeni kokteyllerin doğmasına fırsat sağlaması.
Yarışmanın önemli aşamalarından biri yarışmacıların klasik kokteyllerden birini seçerek kendi dokunuşlarını eklemesi. Yarışmacılar bu aşamada Diageo Reserve Portföyü’nde yer alan Ketel One, Ciroc, Tanqueray ve Don Julio’nun yanısıra Bulleit Bourbon, Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve, Johnnie Walker Platinum Label, Johnnie Walker Blue Label ve Diageo portföyünde yer alan ve Classic Malts of Scotland olarak da tanıdığımız Lagavulin, Glenkinchie, Craggenmore, Talisker, Oban ve Dalwhinnie’den birini kullanabiliyorlar. Liste klasik kokteyllerden oluştuğu için klasik viski kokteylleri olarak tanıdığımız Sazerac, Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Whiskey Sour ve Mint Julep de listede bulunuyor.
Geçen senenin birincisi, dünya yedincisi Kevin Patnode’la World Class yarışmasını, viski tutkusunu ve bu ay içinde Tünel’de yeni açacağı kokteyl barı Külhanbeyi ni konuştuk:
Hi Kevin, could you please tell us about yourself, where are you from and how did you decide to live in Istanbul?
I’m originally from Rhode Island, USA and studied International Relations at a small liberal arts school in Massachusetts. One summer I was lucky enough to receive a scholarship to work in Istanbul for the Robert College Summer Program. It was one of the best summer’s of my life and that was really where my love for Istanbul began. After a few summers working there, I decided I wanted to make a life here and call Istanbul home.
You took part in World Class and was in the Top 10 best bartenders of the world, how did that happen, can you tell us a bit about Worldclass and this adventure?
World Class is the world’s largest and most prestigious bartending competition. When I first entered, I really had no idea how much it would change my life. Of course being able to have the honor of being named best bartender in Turkey was a huge honor, but it was even better being able to meet other bartenders, learn, exchange ideas, and be able to travel the world doing what I love. In the global finals in Cape Town this year, we competed in five challenges all with different themes, rules and judges, all testing every aspect needed to be a great bartender. Since then I have been named the World Class ambassador for Turkey and my role is to help find, support and develop the next generations of great Turkish bartenders.
What is your view on whisky? I know that you like rye whiskey, do you have other favorites?
I am a huge whisk(e)y fan and of course have a preference for ryes and bourbons. I love the diversity you can find amongst whiskies as well as the history that is attached to a lot of these historical distilleries. Its my spirit of choice in the colder months and when I’m feeling a bit down I always sip on a cask-strength bourbon such as Bookers. I love overproof spirits.
Can you tell us about whisky cocktails? Do you think whisky is suitable for experimenting?
Of course whisky can be tricky to work into cocktails because you don’t want to lose the unique characters they have, but using the right whisky in the right cocktail can really produce something amazing. A lot of classic cocktails calls for whisky and I think overall the rule of thumb when it comes to whisky cocktails is less is more. Blended scotches are great for drinks that use citrus like sours, and even Islay whisky can really shine in cocktails such as the Penicillin. Whisky is a great spirit to play around with, it really shines in hot cocktails like toddies, pairs well with coffee, and can really stand up to bold flavored liquors like amaros.
If you think about drinking culture, what are the best and worst parts of Istanbul?
I think one of the positives is that there is a lot of room to grow. You see a lot of people opening up bars and trying to create drink programs and I think that is a great thing. One of the negatives now is that you have a lot of places following the same, food, drink, dance model and I find that very limiting. As more people start to drink and become curious about cocktails, the bars will start to diversify and then it will be easier to cultivate a drinking culture. The other issue is that there are not enough properly trained bartenders to work in these bars and restaurants popping up around the city. For some reason drinking culture in Istanbul is considered a luxury, and therefore people are charging crazy amounts of money for drinks you can get anywhere in the world at half the price and double to quality. I love the neighborhood bars like Geyik who are making great classic cocktails without the frills or pretentiousness.
I know that you’re working on your cocktail bar Kulhanbeyi, can you tell us about it?
Kulhanbeyi has been a project I’ve been working on for almost a year now. I wanted to open a spot that was for everyone, but also broke away from the idea that drinking means partying or dancing. It’ll be a bar for about 25 people at a time to sort of sit down, escape the busy streets of Istanbul, and just enjoy a quality cocktail. Kulhanbeyi will also be a place to train bartenders, host International mixologists, and offer seminars for people to come and learn more about cocktails. Hopefully we’ll be launching next week and then open to the public after the New Year.
It’s been a great pleasure interviewing you Kevin, congrats on your work so far and wish you all the luck in your Kulhanbeyi adventure…