by BEVERAGE TRADE NETWORK

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The Judges

Marco Stella

Head Bartender, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park

I started my career quite early, I was 13 when I had my first job in hospitality and since the very beginning I was excited about this fast-paced and underpressure environment. After that, I continued the journey starting the Hotel School in Margherita di Savoia very close to my home town back in Italy. After 5 years of studying and summer seasonal jobs, I finally got my Diploma. I decided straight after to move abroad to learn a new language and of course improve my skills. So the UK was my first step, I worked for an Italian restaurant in Wakefield to start with for about 8 months and then I move to Malta another 3 months, I went back home for some family problems and here is where I did my first opening where I was the Head Bartender, after few months spent in my uncle's bar I needed more. 

So I finally decided to come to London to shape my English and finally learn a bit more about cocktails. I decided to stay 6 months and then go back in Italy but, then this 6 months became 4 years and a half where I definitely improved my knowledge and my skills and I just realized that what I need to do at this point was start with a new language and a new culture. I decided to move to Spain, in Barcelona. I stayed there for 2 years I had the pleasure to work with a lot of very good professionals in the industry and on top of that, I experienced 2 new openings which teach me a lot. I worked with some chefs of Cellar de Can Roca. I worked for Javier de la Muelas and Old fashion cocktail bar top rated the best bar in Barcelona, where I learned more about products, consistency, and quality of the raw materials. I then got the opportunity to lead the team as a Head Bartender at the Mandarin Bar, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park London where I considered now my second family and where I'm currently working!