Paris bar Café Moderne’s Head Bartender Jennifer Le Nechet is kicking some serious goals. Currently holding the title of World’s Best Bartender, Le Nechet is the first woman to be awarded the title in spirit conglomerate Diageo’s World Class Competition, thanks to her extraordinary steam punk pop-up bar at the 2016 event, held in Miami.
Following her huge success in the competition, Le Nechet has been travelling the world as ambassador for the top brands in Diageo’s Reserve spirit portfolio, as well as judging national finales for the competition in every corner of the globe. Le Nechet took five minutes out of her busy schedule to have a chat with Gram about all things booze.
How did it feel to be awarded Best Bartender in the World?
It makes me happy and proud. I worked so hard for this competition.
What has it meant for your career?
Now I’m World Class Ambassador, and I travel to different countries to share my experience with the future candidates, and to judge the national finales.
Why and how did you become a bartender?
I never studied bartending at school. I have a [degree in] Spanish and Latin American Literature and Civilisation.
During my studies, I had the chance to live in Spain for a year, where I discovered a new culture and lifestyle. When I got back to Paris, I decided to work in the hospitality business.
What is unique about the French bar scene that you haven’t seen anywhere else in the world?
We have the chance to [grow] a huge [culture] in spirits and gastronomy. We use a lot of the techniques from the [French] kitchen.
But now, we live in a very connected world, so we can [be inspired by] anything in any place or country.
We’ve hit winter here in Australia. What are your top picks for spirits, and cocktails, to drink in the colder months?
For winter, I prefer the dark spirits. I like to use them with spices and sherry.
What is your favourite cocktail? How do you make it?
A negroni!!! I make it with half sherry, half red vermouth.
Do you think it’s difficult for women in the bartending business to get ahead?
If we are talking about numbers, yes we have more men than women in this industry.
Nevertheless, it’s not a man’s world. I’ve never had any difficulties working as a woman in this industry.
What’s next for you?
Right now I’m still working in Cafe Moderne in Paris, but I’ll be opening my own bar in few months.