The word Bartender as defined by The Oxford Dictionary is “an individual who serves drinks in a bar” and that has been Kenny's occupation for the past 18 years. Cocktail-making is a form of art in itself, involving the creation and blending of one or more spirits to craft unique drinks and has been practiced since the 17th century.
Kenny first started his journey in the beverage world in 2005 at a high-end pub with a focus on Beer and Wine, where he remained for about 8 years. Seeking a new direction, he found inspiration in a Japanese Drama called 'The Bartender' in 2011. Witnessing the diverse styles of cocktail-making and the appreciation bestowed upon the bartenders in the series, he felt compelled to pursue the craft.
Motivated by his newfound passion, Kenny participated in no less than 60 cocktail competitions — losing all of them — but nevertheless gaining recognition on the Hot List. Eventually, he left his bistro job and transitioned to a high-volume cocktail bar, where he skillfully made upwards of about 300 espresso martinis every night. After honing his skills for two years, he sought a change and moved to another cocktail bar with a different style. His journey eventually led him back to Jakarta, leaving Australia after winning the Australian National Suntory Cocktail Connoisseur in 2014.
Being a bartender provided Kenny with the opportunity to interact with a diverse range of people. Every day brought new faces, drinks, and experiences. Over the years, he has built relationships with patrons through bartending, and nothing brings him greater joy than when someone would entrust him with the freedom to create a cocktail they would enjoy and love.
In the demanding world of the food and beverage industry, Kenny acknowledges the pressure of continuous service and the importance of taking occasional breaks to reset. He believes that half-hearted efforts are not enough when choosing a career in bartending (or any F&B field), and that this type of career requires complete dedication.
Currently, Kenny co-owns "The Golden Tooth," a speakeasy concept bar in South Jakarta, with four others who started as his regulars at a previous bar. The Golden Tooth focuses on providing a relaxing atmosphere for people to enjoy cocktails and conversations. The menu is designed to be simple, allowing the bartenders the freedom to focus on creating new flavor combinations. “You mix whatever you can mix to make the flavor combination new and people all interested,” Kenny shares, “You know it could be interesting bad or it could be interesting good, but you always create some new flavors, you know.”
With years of experience, Kenny has learned that the key lies not only in the quality of the product but also in the connections one makes with people. By genuinely accepting and humbly serving others, Kenny makes sure that his patrons return to The Golden Tooth. While mistakes are part of the learning process, it is crucial to promptly acknowledge and rectify them. Kenny's message is to slow down and appreciate the small moments amidst the fast-paced nature of the industry. Taking a step back to enjoy everything you’ve achieved and embrace it with a relaxed attitude is essential.
The Golden Tooth | @thegoldentoothbar
Tuesday to Sunday
5 PM to 12 AM
Jl. Adityawarman No.71
Melawai, South Jakarta 12160
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