- He competed against mixologists from across the U.S. at the USBG World Class Bartender's Competition.
Here’s more proof that Indian Americans can excel at almost anything. Raj Shukla of Fort Wayne, Indiana, is among the top five bartenders in the U.S. Shukla, who currently works at Copper Spoon, recently competed in the USBG World Class bartender’s competition where he was chosen among the top five.
“I love the hospitality industry, I’ve been drawn to it for many years,” Shukla told Fort Wayne NBC. “I love being creative coming up with new fun exciting cocktails to try.” Shukla has been working at Copper Spoon for about six years, and this is his second year competing. He describes the competition as “more or less the World Series or Olympics of bartending.” Bartenders from all across the country competed
As per the competition website, the virtual event had four challenges. In the Underground Agriculture: Back to My Roots Challenge, contestants had to share a personal story through cocktail artistry. Next came the Batched and Ready To-Go Challenge, where competitors created and demonstrated a recipe that can be produced consistently, batched, and safely transported for at-home enjoyment. For the Menu Challenge, the top 10 finalists created a menu of seven cocktails for a specific bar or restaurant concept; and in the Speed Round, the Top 5 finalists competed in one final challenge as they raced the clock while preparing classic cocktails.
Shukla told the news network that “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.” After many weeks of virtual bartending challenges, Shukla told NBC that he slowly worked his way to the U.S. finals. One of the challenges was making five cocktails within five minutes. He said the work of a bartender is a lot more than making drinks – “it’s about forming relationships and being genuine. It has to do with your presence, how genuine you are, the hospitality, and the drinks of course too.”