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Christian Delpech: Essential notes on Flair by a 19-time World Champion.
Christian Delpech, 19-time world champion of Flair Bartending. It is easy to say, but the sacrifice, effort, dedication, hours of training, travel, struggle and giving up other parts of your life is what lies behind the great success of an icon like him in the world of Flair. So, don´t miss out on today´s piece about Christian Delpech: Essential notes on Flair by a 19-time World Champion.
Through these 20 questions we wanted to find out, from a professional perspective, the most important moments from his life within the world of Flair, curiosities, information of great importance for other Flair Bartenders who are starting out or continuing to develop, places they should visit at least once in their lives to enjoy the art that drives them, as well as the human side of Christian.
In this interview, we discover emotions and values that are deeply-rooted in Christian´s character, which reminds us that we should never forget about our own human quality on the path to achieving any goal or objective.
We hope that you enjoy his answers as much as we did.
◽️How do you manage to stay at the Top in a discipline that requires so much dedication and effort?:
Actually, there are no secrets, simply sacrifice and the determination to train
hard, to focus on goals and to adapt to changes.
◽️What characteristics would your ideal Flair bottle need to have?:
It would need a neck to grip, to fit well in the cocktail shaker and to have a good balance of weight!
◽️What is the most difficult bottle you have worked with?:
In reality, there are lots, but it is always possible to do something, even if it isn´t much. There are lots of bottles that almost don´t have a neck and that are square, but the challenge is finding something to do with them.
◽️Who is the Flair Bartender you most admire in the world?:
It is a very big question and I couldn´t pick just one, there are many Flair Bartenders who I admire for different qualities, for example: Alan Mays, Ken Hall, Leigh Miller for putting Flair on the map at an extreme level, Rodrigo (my brother) for his endless passion to continue to train and still surprise, Nicolas St Jean for continuing to maintain his passion for Flair and giving so much to it, Tomek Malek and Dario Doimo for their adaptation of flair to cocktail making after being at the peak of global flair, Luca Valentin and Marek Posluzny for their showmanship, Tom Dyer for his contribution to the industry and adapting to changes, Vladymyr Buryanov for taking social media platforms to the next level, Alexander Shtifanov and Dennis Trifanov for taking Flair to the next level and the list goes on! Those are just a few names…
◽️The most prestigious competition you have won:
- Legends 3 (as my first pro competition)
- Road House 2003
- UFBC 1 at Carnaval Court (as they do my favourite routines)
◽️The competition you are fondest of or that gave you the greatest high:
Legends of Bartending 3
◽️What is the most difficult Flair movement for you?:
There are so many, for me and among those that I can do, the one that comes to mind is a movement with the bottle and cocktail shaker that I never did in a tournament because the execution wasn´t ready for tournaments and there was a big risk of a drop.
◽️What bar worldwide would you recommend to visit to enjoy good Flair?:
At present, it is very difficult, I would say Fuel Bar and Carnaval Court, but it depends who is working and their enthusiasm to perform, that really depends on the bartender. During the top era of Flair, there was undoubtedly nowhere for Flair like Carnaval Court in Harrah Vegas, in Las Vegas. I must also mention Malooneys in Southport, UK, Road House in London, Voodoo Lounge and Shadow Bar in Las Vegas which have been iconic Flair Bars.
◽️The most difficult moment you have experienced in relation to Flair:
Retiring from competitions.
◽️What do you think you contribute to the world of hospitality?:
Preaching the art of Flair done well, using it as a bonus to service, preparing good quality cocktails without sacrificing quality and using the correct technique and above all, with good customer service, which is the most important thing for me.
And I always try to convey my passion for cocktail making and for Flair in every seminar I do.
◽️What is it about Argentina that means it produces people who are so good at Flair?:
People with time on their hands… haha!
. The equation is simple, if, in addition to passion, you have a lot of time to train (or you make time) and above all, a hunger to succeed, things will go well. Argentina had a crop of young Flair Bartenders with lots of dreams to fulfil, including competing around the world and working in other countries. Now, there are other countries that have lots more Flair Bartenders than Argentina. For example, Italy has and has always had lots and lots of Flair Bartenders and competitions.
◽️Speaking of cocktails…, at what point does a cocktail stop being a classic?:
At the point when the recipe is changed, for example, if we make a Negroni with Mezcal, in theory then it is no longer a Negroni, however in terms of understanding it is easier, if it as if there is a basic formula and the core spirit is changed. For example, the Caipirinha, Caipirísima (with rum) and Caipiroska (with Vodka), where the names were changed.
In other words, it is a very open concept, but I believe that when a cocktail is changed then it is already a version of a classic. That is my opinion, and it is a very open debate with lots of viewpoints. It is a very good question.
◽️The best competition to compete in if you are a Flair bartender:
At present, it is very difficult, Flair Mania in Riga, Latvia is very good, if they are still doing it. Things have changed with COVID, for example, the Road House has closed and along with it one of the most prestigious Flair competitions of all time.
◽️A piece of advice for anyone starting out in the world of Flair:
Train a lot, beginning with the basics of Flair which is the most important thing. With a strong base you can develop faster. And don´t forget that Flair while you are working (that is to say Working Flair), is an addition to service and not the other way round.
◽️What should someone who wants to work full-time in Flair be aware of?:
That there is a lot of sacrifice along the way, hours and hours of training, knocks, bruises, cuts and broken bottles. But, like everything in life, there are no rewards without sacrifice.
◽️An essential Flair tip:
Flair is like music, there are many styles and not every combination of notes is written down, so sing in the style you like and that makes you feel good, and by doing so you will convey beautiful sensations to those listening to you!
◽️And those who want to learn from you, where can they find you to get classes?:
When I organise seminars and masterclasses, I announce it via my IG @christiandelpech_official
There, people can find flair tricks and classic cocktails. There is a new project to come, so keep an eye out.
◽️If we talk about cocktail bars… where can we see you and enjoy your work?
Right now I am working in a Cocktail Bar called Bar Spanglish in Miami, but I also do a lot of Guest Bartending in different places around the world.
◽️The question you would like to be asked relating to the Flair or Bartender world that you are yet to be asked:
What did I sacrifice in order to become 19-time World Champion?
Time with my family, friends, trips, parties, having free time as I was always training or working.
◽️Tell us something about you that nobody knows:
I was raised by a single mum during a very tough time in Argentina, therefore we were poor and didn´t even have enough to eat, and as I was the oldest sibling I stopped studying in order to work and help my mother, that happened when I was 15, then I returned to my studies. And that was a unique life lesson, as I never was and never will be afraid of starting from scratch and no matter how hard life hits you if you have health you can get through it.
#TBT Madrid Flair Open 2020
*All images come from the social network accounts of Christian Delpech Official
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