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Prashant Rawalia Beverage Innovation Manager, Monin-North India

Lots of bartenders are travelling overseas and continually bringing in new technologies, new ingredients and new embellishments. He feels that cold brew, Kombucha and Tepache will be the next big things in the Indian cocktail scene.

Prashant Rawalia has had a roller coaster ride and is at presently working as Beverage Innovation Manager and Studio Manager, North India, at Monin. He did his graduation from IHM Chandigarh in B.Sc Hospitality Administration and did WSET level 2 from Tulleeho. As for his family background both his mother and sister are doctors while his father is a supervisor at a construction site.

He comes from a science background and initially wanted to become an architect. But somehow, he was unable to take admission in a reputed college. At that point in time, one of his friends was doing hotel management. “He suggested that I should go for it because there are lots of jobs available in this sector. And that is how the journey in the hospitality industry began. But during campus placements, I was rejected because I use to stammer a lot. I lost 17 jobs back to back,” he recollects without any trace of bitterness.

He then began working on his problem and within a few weeks was infused with confidence. He thinks what encouraged him the most to land a job was his family condition because they were never financially sound. Although his mother was a doctor, she was working in a charitable clinic and money was hard to come by. But the wheels of fortune turned, when he got five back to back jobs offers in established brands like Accor group, The Oberoi, Marriot and The Leela.

Turning point

But one of his teachers suggested to him to start with The Oberoi Group and he did exactly that. “But I never started as a bartender; I began as a server in Cilantro which is a multi-cuisine restaurant in Trident Gurgaon. One day Sanchayan who was the supervisor in the bar, took me to a bartending competition and I saw the exciting world in which all the great mixologists could be seen making their names by winning competitions. I too began taking part incompetitions. At the competitions I failed initially but every time I walked out I learnt something new and because of that I eventually started winning,” he observes.

He was the 1st runner up in Bangalore and Mumbai Cocktail Week but was not satisfied with that since he wanted to win and represent his country. Then, he finally saw an opportunity in Monin Cup 2016 in which the winner was to be sent to Paris to represent India. “I decided that this time I have to win this.” And win the cup he did, in 2016.

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