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Behind the Bar Series – Michele Venturini

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Michele Venturini

Bar Manager at Cahoots

Our second #BehindTheBar interview presents… Michele Venturini! With a career in hospitality spanning almost two decades, 2019 will mark Michele’s fifth year working for Inception Group. He has been a Bar Manager at Cahoots for the past three years!

FUN FACT: If he wasn’t a Bar Manager, Michele believes he would have been a comic actor!

Q. How did you become a Bar Manager?

After 18 years of experience in the hospitality industry, I learnt a lot from different perspectives, from my role as Head Bartender to the next level as Bar Manager. But, even though I started managing bars in Italy, London has a completely different style of business!

Q. What do you enjoy about bartending?

I enjoy interacting with customers, making them happy and providing them with the best experience. Although the drinks are very important, I always represent the drink as the cherry on top of the cake – the cake is the whole customer experience!

Q. What inspired you to become a Bar Manager?

It happened quite naturally. I love every single aspect of my job – especially serving customers, working with my team to create menus and working alongside important brands.

Q. What is your favourite cocktail to drink and create?

I love classics! I’m in love with Martini cocktail, stirred with olive and just a splash of dry vermouth. The Americano cocktail is also super refreshing! I love to make different styles of drinks. For example, sour cocktails topped with a nice foam, but also long or refreshing drinks using fresh ingredients.

Q. Which seasonal drinks do you recommend during the Christmas period?

Warm drinks and twist on classics like hot punch or Hot Toddies containing spices and whiskey, but also creamy drinks with egg or milk such as eggnog!

Q. What makes a great Bar Manager?

There are three important things behind a great Bar Manager:

  • Managing the business – This includes ensuring you maintain profits and control costs, while also growing the brand by organising events, pop-ups and masterclasses.
  • Managing the team – Always keeping staff motivated, helping them develop their skills with improvements and also offering them praise.
  • Focus on customer experience – Be attentive to guests in a professional but light and funny way!

Q. Do you have any advice for aspiring Bar Managers?

A Bar Manager’s role in a cocktail bar is one of the most important. The bar is the engine of the business, and if the car is going fast, you have to drive it!

Q. What ingredients do you feel are underused? Or overused? And what is the most versatile?

I believe that bitters (or amari in Italian) are underused here in London, and I think that vodka and sweet products such as juices and purées are overused.

Q. How do you develop new recipes or new cocktails?

Creating new cocktails is quite a complex process. It involves research into what customers look for in a cocktail, then making that connection through a combination of ingredients. London is home to a great range of products and liquors, which makes it easy to develop new recipes.

Q. Where’s the next place on your travel bucket list and why?

Over the past two years, I have been on many work trips including visits to Athens, Rome and Cyprus. I will be going to Berlin for the Berlin Bar Show where I will be representing Cahoots in a branded bar stand, followed by Dubai and Greece.

Behind the Bar Series – Pietro Rizzo

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We have launched our #BehindTheBar series! Keep your eyes peeled for regular interviews with members of our bar staff across our Inception Group venues, including Mr Fogg’s, Cahoots and more. Our very first #BehindTheBar interview presents…

Pietro Rizzo

Bar Manager at Mr Fogg’s Society Of Exploration

Having worked in hospitality since the age of 18, Pietro’s first job was at The Cuban, Camden. He has been a Bar Manager for seven years and has been part of Inception Group since 2014 (with a two year gap). Pietro loves travelling! The next place on his travel bucket list is Berlin in October, where he will be attending the BCB Bar Show, and Athens in November for the Athens Bar Show. He will also be finalising in the special guest bar takeover and giving a talk on the main stage for the Aperitivo Category in Athens.

Q. What is your favourite part about working for Inception Group?

The huge potential the company has when working alongside such a great team.

Q. What inspired you to become a Bar Manager and what do you enjoy about bartending?

The pleasure it brings to share my passion for and knowledge of bartending. I enjoy creating and exploring new flavours, and using exotic ingredients, spices and botanicals.

Q. What is your favourite cocktail to drink and what is your favourite cocktail to create?

My favourite cocktail to drink is the Adonis (sweet vermouth, sherry wine and orange bitters). I love creating twists on the classics, for example Mezcal Negroni.

Q. Which ingredients do you feel are underused and overused in cocktails?

I believe that gentian roots are underused, while elderflower is overused.

Q. What type of seasonal drink(s) do you recommend during the Christmas period?

Hot Toddy!

Q. What is a common misconception that people have about being a bartender?

People are unaware of what goes on in the back of house. For example, paperwork is an important part of my job. A common misconception is that Bar Managers sit in the office watching the cameras. However, this is not the case; we are always working hard behind the bar to give customers the best experience.

Q. How do you develop new recipes or new cocktails?

I think of creating a new cocktail like writing a story. Every ingredient is inspired by its concept and must be relevant to the story surrounding the drink.

Q. If you weren’t a Bar Manager, what job would you choose to do?

I have worked in the bar industry all my working life. Before becoming a Bar Manager at Mr Fogg’s Society Of Exploration, I worked as a consultant for drinks development, assisting drink brands with sales and marketing programmes. I also consulted bars with new openings, bar programmes, recruitment and more.

Q. Do you have any advice for aspiring Bar Managers?

Listening to your team is essential. Staff meetings and staff parties will help build your relationship with the team. A happy team means a hardworking team!

A sanctuary for those more curious than most…

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Our newly opened Society of Exploration is located just a stone’s throw away from Charing Cross station, where Phileas J. Fogg embarked upon his journey around the world! Our fifth addition to the Mr Fogg’s collection boasts wood-panelled walls, warm leather seating and shelves laden with eccentric artefacts. A place of exploration and adventure, guests can travel the world via the portals of their taste buds by sampling elixirs from the farthest corners of the globe.

Explorers may plan their next quests with the assistance of our in-house expert in the Map Room, where one will find an impressive collection of antique maps, travel books, souvenirs and more. Alongside the bar lies the Orient Express – the life-size model of a Victorian train carriage is perfect for small gatherings, complete with banquette seating, brass lamps and windows overlooking the bar area. Housing an extensive selection of worldly libations, the Society of Exploration is also home to Mr Fogg’s Mechanical Mixologist, an automated cocktail-making machine that sits proudly in the centre of the back-bar. Beautifully crafted and meticulously designed, the custom-made machine is designed to celebrate the spirit of experimentation and industrial innovation that took place in the Victorian period.

Come and encounter all means of exploration, as you bear witness to the fruits of British industrial revolution in the form of new-fangled machinery and the bold experimentations of mixology; all taking place within Mr Fogg’s Society of Exploration!

To make a reservation click here.

 

Mrs Fogg’s Maritime Club & Distillery is docking soon…

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Our biggest Fogg’s venue yet, Mrs Fogg’s Maritime Club & Distillery will be opening in the heart of the City. Pulling inspiration from Mr Fogg’s Indian wife, Aouda, the venue pays homage to the beauty of her Indian culture. Upstairs will feature The Maritime Club – a sophisticated, elegant area featuring both nautical and Indian decorative touches. Guests can also enjoy exotic flavours and ingredients aboard a life-size version of the Rangoon Steamer, complete with beautiful curtained compartments. Downstairs is where the crew play havoc, as precious cargo is unearthed and the floor is transformed into a speakeasy-style bar.

Hidden away downstairs will be The Engine Room. Here, below deck, is where the crew will play havoc, as precious cargo and stowaways are unearthed and the floor is transformed into a raucous speakeasy-style bar with live entertainment. Next to this, will feature The Distillery – an industrial beauty and a vision of Victorian innovation. This fully-functioning machine will create Mrs Fogg’s very own gin elixir.

Docking soon at Broadgate Circle, be one of the first to experience Mrs Fogg’s Maritime Club & Distillery…

Apply for the World’s Most Desirable Job…

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Ever dreamed of travelling around the globe and being paid to do so? Apply for the ultimate dream job, for the chance to travel around the world for free…

We are delighted to announce the expansion of the Mr Fogg’s Collection! Opening on 14th of September on The Strand, will be Mr Fogg’s Society of Exploration. Our fifth addition to the Mr Fogg’s brand will feature the Orient Express, Map Room, Library and more, where adventurers and like-minded folk can enjoy an impressive selection of worldly libations. To celebrate the opening of our new venue, we will be sending two lucky people around the world!

Partnering up with Bombay Sapphire to offer the job position of a lifetime, one successful candidate and their travelling companion will follow in the adventurous footsteps of Phileas J. Fogg himself. Inspired by Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days, the explorers will travel across the globe from Bombay to Hong Kong, Paris to New York, Japan to San Francisco, and many more… Responsible for collecting botanicals and necessary items along the way, the adventurers are required to return to London within 80 days, ready to be the first to create their very own ‘Around the World Cocktail’ at Mr Fogg’s Society of Exploration!

If you believe you are up to the task, please apply here: www.mr-foggs.com/around-the-world/

Cocktails in the City Summer 2018

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We are excited to announce that Cahoots and Mr Fogg’s will be participating in ‘Cocktails In the City Summer 2018’!

The nation’s leading cocktail event brings together cocktail lovers and the country’s best bars all under one roof, taking place on 3rd – 4th August in the picturesque Bedford Square Gardens. Representing the Mr Fogg’s brand will be a stand in the form of Mr Fogg’s Potting Shed, whilst the Cahoots stand will be styled as a 1940s summer picnic. Guests will be able to choose from three delectable cocktails from each bar.

Using Oxley Gin, the wonderful Mr Fogg’s concoctions will include: ‘Britain in a Bottle’ and ‘A Rare Rose’. The delicious Cahoots cocktail selection will be made using Ketel One and will consist of the ‘Picnic Plonk’ and ‘Summer Swigger’. Non-alcoholic cocktails will also be available – ‘Fogg’s Sobering Sojourn’ at the Mr Fogg’s stand and ‘The Blighty Buzz’ at Cahoots!

Maggie’s Pop-Up at The Mini Masters

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On Friday 20th July, Maggie’s popped up at golf’s biggest summer party – The Mini Masters! Held at Dukes Meadow Golf Club in Chiswick, the much-anticipated charity event transforms the par-3 course into a golfing fun park filled with cocktails, celebrities, music and more. Maggie’s partnered with Grey Goose to serve deliciously refreshing summer cocktails, including Grey Goose Le Grand Fizz. The cocktails were served from our bright pink pop-up tent, complete with a live DJ, deck chairs, Rubik’s Cube tables and (of course) 80s music! Better still, all proceeds from The Mini Masters go to charity Leuka, which supports life-saving research into the causes and treatment of leukaemia.

 

 

Mr Fogg’s House of Botanicals has bloomed!

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Imagine a place filled entirely with flora and fauna collected from all over the world. A place created solely with the adventurous in mind…

We are very excited to announce that the doors to Mr Fogg’s House of Botanicals have officially opened! Located in the heart of Fitzrovia, guests are invited to cast their eyes upon the vast collection of flora and fauna that Mr Fogg acquired on his many trips around the globe. The bright and spacious bar is spread across two floors, serving cocktails and light bites inspired by strange and exotic botanicals and plant life. Featuring ‘The Language of Flowers’ menu, guests can sit back and enjoy botanical-inspired cocktails upstairs by reservation. Or, for those after a more casual tipple, the downstairs welcomes one and all to walk-in and requires no reservations.

Be one of the first to experience Mr Fogg’s House of Botanicals at 48 Newman Street, Fitzrovia!

Bunga Bunga at Queens!

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This summer it was game, set, match for Bunga Bunga, as we popped up at the internationally renowned Queens Club. The Bunga Enclosure became the perfect player’s lounge, with an Italian courtyard, miniature tennis tables and of course a good dose of tongue-in-cheek decor. Guests could sit back and relax, in between watching the pros. Partnering with Grey Goose we had a selection of refreshing signature serves, such as the Grey Goose Le Grandissimo Fizz.

Take a look yourself below…

Casa Bonita Pop-Up!

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We are very excited to announce that we have launched a Latin-inspired pop-up in the heart of Carnaby Soho until the end of 2018 – Casa Bonita!

Open every day until 1am, we will be serving delicious tequila, rum and cachaça cocktails, Mexican-style street food and Latin American vibes. Offering indoor seating and outdoor spaces, soak up the sun or cosy up inside while listening to a Latin mix of Reggaeton, Cuban Hip Hop and Brazilian beats. And what’s more, The Casa will be showing live screenings of all The World Cup and Wimbledon games throughout the summer!

Perfect for private parties or corporate meetings with a twist, Casa Bonita will also be available for private hire accommodating up to 140 guests.