Indiana Bartender Wins Acclaim in His Field
Indian-American parents are notorious for pushing their children into fields such as medicine, law and computer science. But some are able to recognize opportunities in a variety of fields. “Whatever you do, do it well,” they advise.
Raj Shukla has certainly lived up to that principle. The Indiana man recently competed in the USBG World Class bartender’s competition, where he placed in the top five in the United States.
Shukla has honed his skills as a bartender at Copper Spoon, a restaurant in the city of Fort Wayne, for the last six years.
“I love the hospitality industry,” Shukla told the local TV station, WPTA21. “I love being creative, coming up with new, fun, exciting cocktails to try.”
Selected through regional competitions, the top 50 bartenders in the country competed in five-day, four-challenge national competition, organized virtually this year by the United States Bartenders’ Guild (USBG).
Among the challenges: making five classic cocktails within five minutes.
“It’s more or less the World Series or Olympics of bartending,” Shukla said. “Out of the competitors that made it into the top five, I was really the underdog out of everyone, everyone else was from much larger markets.”
He sees his job as a bartender as more than just making drinks for customers. “It’s much more than what comes in the glass that makes the job fun,” he said. “We’re here to take care of people and make them feel welcome and good.”
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Compiled and partly written by Indian humorist MELVIN DURAI, author of the novel Bala Takes the Plunge.
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