Following his electric performance on stage at the first WFA Grand Slam of the year, we tracked down bartender Giorgio Chiarello in his home country of Italy to talk about what was different for him this time around, how he prepared and how it felt to break into the top 6 performers at Flairmania – one of the worlds hardest and most revered flair bartending competitions:
How did you prepare for Flairmania this year? Did you do anything different?
“My preparation for Flairmania 2018 was definitely a bit different from previous years. I really felt into it and motivated this year. It is one of the most famous flair competitions in the world and the lineup was looking great, it was a great chance for me to test my new routine and moves out against some of the best flair bartenders in the world – this acted as great motivation.
I noticed that the rules for this year’s Flairmania had changed a little but for me I was happy to see this change, particularly the fact that drops would no longer be deducted from your score. I trained hard and changed my routine to fit with the new rules, I made sure it was more spectacular, a great overall show and a lot more original. I brought a lot of my new, original moves that I had been giving people a sneak peak of on Instagram. I was a lot more confident with this years routine due to the rule changes and I think it paid off in the end! In previous years I had been quite dissapointed with my performances but this year I went in with more energy and less fear.”
How did you feel after your performance on stage?
“Straight after my performance on stage in the finals I was very excited. I was excited during the performance even! I felt very confident as I could see how the audience reacted to what I did – there was lots of screaming and shouting and that is usually a good thing! I could also see the judges faces reacting very positvely throughout and after the performance so all in all I got great feedback from both the judge and the audience that led to me feeling very positive after I came off stage. I was very happy with how I performed, for me it was almost perfect. I felt, maybe I could have done a tiny bit better to reach that perfect performance but then that is what I am always chasing. I trained a lot throughout the year and had a few extra, new moves that I could have tried but I didn’t feel confident enough at the time to put them into my performance. Perhaps soon, or next year, you will have to wait and see!”
And when you found out your score and where you placed overall?
“Of course I was very happy to come fourth, it is my highest position in Flairmania and a real step up for me. Although I felt it could have been an even higher position but maybe my cocktail could have been a little bit more sophisticated and this is a big part of your score at Flairmania. Overall for me the position is not too important, for me what is the most important is how I feel after the performance and whether I was satisfied with what I did on stage. As you can see from my last question, I was very happy with what I did and the other flair bartenders were all telling me I did really well so in the end I felt great. Watching the video from Flairmania back afterwards was very emotional and powerful for me. I was very thankful to hear the comments from Tomek Marek and Andy Collinson as well as to hear what Tom Dyer said in his interview, it has given me strong motivation for the year ahead to face this year in a positive and confident way”.
What is to come from Giorgio in 2018?
“As I said, I feel very confident going into this year after Flairmania and hearing how people reacted to my flair bartending. I will continue working on the new moves you saw at Flairmania as well as some others that I have in the pipeline! The next competiton for me is the Japanese cocktail competition Love HITA in March – let’s see how that goes…”