Marson Strydom, age 31, from Buena Vista in Somerset West was announced as the top bartender at MBA (Master Bartending Academy) event held at the Hilton Double Tree Hotel in Cape Town on the 3rd of March. Marson says” I would like to train and inspire people in the same industry as I never had anyone to teach me.” The top five finalists from the event were: Marson Strydom (Beuna Vista), Shakeel Louw (Mitchell and Ferrymans), Jean Pierre Basson (Bossa Social), Eric Viljoen (Buena Vista) and Charles Chayala (Abantu).
Thirty bartenders were chosen to compete for the title of Cape Town’s next Master Bartender after completing the MBA training. MBA is Africa’s largest bartending programme run by Diageo, the world's leading premium drinks business and Brandhouse. “MBA has transformed the lives of bartenders across Africa; in 2013 three winners were from South Africa, Each winner won prize money, one of whom was able to put his child through school thanks to MBA,” said Lindsay-Rae Hitzeroth (Category Development manager on Trade Spirits of Brandhouse). Mark Barrett (Head of MBA) went on to say “I am excited about the calibre of bartenders in the finals and I am looking forward to nominating the Master Bartenders in Ghana and Namibia in March. The training programme to date, has taken place in more than 30 cities within Africa, and has trained over 14 000 bartenders.
To be a Top Master Bartender takes dedicated work, all trainees must complete three modules. The first module, titled MBA 101 is a one-day workshop which among others, covers key topics on bartending like customer service, bartender secrets and responsible drinking. Each of the bartender trainees leaves the workshop with a manual and a link to a mobi-site, to complete the second module - MBA 202. Once completed only the highest scoring twenty five bartenders are selected to go through to MBA 303, which is the last module. The 303 module consists of a full day of training where after several tests the final five are chosen. The final five complete a live showdown in front of an audience where one bartender is given the title as the Master Bartender. All the MBA 303 finalists receive an MBA certificate together with exclusive MBA merchandise that includes a special cocktail kit. The Master Bartender also gets to take home an iPad loaded with exclusive cocktail apps, R10 000 and the title of his/ her city as The Master Bartender.
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