A TGI Friday's bartender from Orpington, Kent, has claimed one of the top places in the restaurant chain's World Bartender Championship 2012 in Dallas, Texas.
Chuck Bailey, 21, performed to a crowd of more than 1,000 spectators, demonstrating his mixology and cocktail flairing skills and was awarded the runner-up title in the annual competition and a prize of $5,000.
Bailey has been working as a barman for only three years and, having only recently turned 21, he was only just old enough to get behind the bar in USA by a couple of days.
More than 8,000 bartenders from 60 countries entered the competition and Bailey qualified for the world finals after being crowned the youngest-ever TGI Friday's UK Bartender Champion.
Commenting on the result, he said: "I gave up university to pursue my dream of becoming a world-class bartender and two years later, competing against my peers from all around the world, I did it and I have the award to prove it! Next year I'll have another year of practice under my belt, so I'll definitely be aiming to bring home the No 1 title."
Karen Forrester, TGI Friday's UK managing director, said: "Last year our UK bartenders set a new Guinness World Record for cocktail flairing. Just when we thought it couldn't get any better, one of our youngest team members has been crowned one of the best in the world. I felt so proud to see him flying the British flag at the annual competition, and it goes to show that we really do produce some of the best bar talent in the world right here in the UK."
Videos and pictures from the UK final of the TGI Friday's World Bartender Championship 2011 and the Guinness World Record can be viewed at www.youtube.com/tgifridaysuk.
By Neil Gerrard
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