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Bartender from TGI Friday's in Sheffield wins UK Bartender Championship

26 September 2012 by
Bartender from TGI Friday's in Sheffield wins UK Bartender Championship

Russ Ward, 30, who works at TGI Friday's in Sheffield, has won the company's UK Bartender Championship.

Ward won the title after competing against six of the restaurant firm's best bartenders at the UK final, which took place at the Palace hotel in Manchester.

Ward impressed the judges with his mixing, shaking, flairing and entertaining skills, standing out from the other finalists with a number of signature moves, including the difficult "classic double bottle flip" and his "cherry catch" - which involves throwing a cherry high into the air and catching it on a toothpick held between his teeth.

He will now represent the UK and take on the world's best bartenders in the TGI Friday's World Bartender Championships, taking place in the USA next year - an event entered by 8,000 bartenders from 60 countries across the globe. The competition showcases Friday's 45-year bar heritage and the skill, talent and professionalism of the best bartenders in the business.

Ward said: "I can't believe I've just been crowned the TGI Friday's UK Best Bartender 2012 - it's all I have been thinking about for months. I'm so grateful for the support of my friends, family and the Friday's team members.

"I'm used to performing in front of a crowd every day when I work at Friday's, but when hundreds of people have their eyes locked on you it certainly makes you a bit more nervous than usual. The crowd were brilliant, though - they really got behind me, which definitely helped me relax and perform my signature moves perfectly.

"Going to the world final is the ultimate goal and I'm so pleased that I'll be there in 2013. But I've got to step it up even further now and perfect my routine in time for the world championship as the standard will be even higher - I will really be up against the best of the best.

"The championship is great fun to be part of, but it's also our chance to show that the best bartenders in the business work at Friday's."

For videos and pictures from the UK final of the TGI Friday's World Bartender Championship 2012, go to www.facebook.com/tgifridaysUK.

By Neil Gerrard

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