Ted Dako, 23 years from Malmø, Bar 25, parttime along with studies in Service Management and Business Administration at CBS.
Favourit drink: Maitai (Trader Vic´s)– I love fresh tiki drinks…and Wrey Nephew, sometimes.
Favourit drink to make: I like to make drinks that has a story. I love to serve our 12 Mile Limit from our menu. It´s a prohibition classic with an amazing story.
Favourit bar: Strøm – somehow I always end up here. Also the Artesian is fantastic. It´s the full experience and even the waiters probably now more about cocktails than me.
”I have been working as a bartender for 3 years. 2 of them here in Copenhagen. I started at Bar 7 and now I work at Bar 25. Before I came here, I worked in Val Thorens. Actually, I was trying to become a professional snowboarder. Two times, I have competed in the Swedish nationals. However, I realized that I was not good enough compared to the other guys.
Anyway, I needed money while I was still snowboarding in Val Thorens, and there was this bar. Therefore, I started out as a barback and became bartender. At first I couldn´t believe that I was paid for having fun behind the bar, flirting with girls and all that stuff. So back in Malmø I quit my job as a removal man and started working in a nightclub.
I had met a Danish girl in Val Thorens so I moved to Copenhagen after a year; you know the classic story of the travelling bartender. So I started working at Bar 7 because I met the barmanager there and now I´m at Bar 25.
I still love to snowboard though. At least once a year I have to go otherwise, I go crazy. When I´m not working or studying I spend a lot of time with my girlfriend. We like to go out and eat, I mean we are both students, but we try to go when we can. Last experience was Kiin Kiin which was really really good even though we just had what they call ”The theater menu” which is 5 courses instead of 10.
What I love about being a bartender? Huuh, I would say that it’s what it gives me serving guests. I call it emotional tips which means that fx when I make a drink for someone in the bar they haven´t tried before and when they get it they just love it. Giving people a great experience is what makes me happy about it. I like talking to a guest, taking the order, making it or sometimes customizing it, serving it and getting the immediately reaction.
Kasja who was the manager a Bar 7 and took me in has meant a lot to me. She taught me about bartending, balancing drinks, competition and all that. She sort of got me started. She was my role model at Bar 7. She´s in Australia now though.
Now I try to challenge myself and see where I can take it and what I can do. Going to nice bars, seeing great bartenders and getting inspired by them is important. I actually remember my first competition, which was the Jim Beam at Zefside. Here I came 3rd after Kasper Riewe and Nicolaj Brønsted and I remember thinking,”ok if this is what it takes to win I will never get there.” Both guys where way ahead of me in every way, technic, knowledge, presentation etc. There was no way I could beat those guys. So they inspired me to work hard and keep improving.
When World Class came up I was hooked. My collegues and friends told me that I should compete in it. It is a lot about the presentation, which is my strong side. I didn´t know what to expect, all I knew was that the expectations was a lot higher than for any of the other competitions I had done before. I went to the workshop where they told about the competition. And they said”If you´re here to win and it’s your first time in the World Class, forget about it. Take it as an experience and a chance to learn and come back again next year.”
So that’s what I did this time, I went to learn. I thought now I have the chance to present my best work for some of the best in the industry and get feedback. But it also made me really nervous to be infront of Eric and Miriam.
When I prepare for a challenges first, I try to really understand the challenge and get ideas from that, then I make my drink, so the drink will be inspired from my story. In world class they don´t just look for a nice drink, they want the whole package.
I practiced every day for 2 weeks up until the competition getting feedback from colleagues and friends. So it has been hard and expensive. Also worth it.
They first challenge was the ”Written word” where we had to find a link between a cocktail book and a book of choice. So, I chose Jerry Thomas the reprinted version with the Silver Fizz and twisted that. The second book was ´”Hemmingway on writing”. They were famous for being innovative in their field. This was for burst 1.
For the final, we had the sensory challenge where we had to do a drink with smoky whisky that challenged all 5 senses. The other challenge was”timetraveller” where we had to make a Dry Martini and serve it as we think it would be in the future.
I was really happy about how the challenges went, I mean even if I hadn´t won I would still have been satisfied. Of course, I made few mistakes but I pushed myself and gave it the best that I could. So no mather the outcome I would have been happy with my performance.
It was only after day one at Baltazhar I dared to start thinking you I might have a chance because I got so much great feedback after that first day. People told me they liked what I did and so I thought maybe it is actually 50/50 between Nicolaj and me. Also I had done my best and day 2 at Hotel DÀngletere was a mystery box challenge, so I couldn´t really prepare for that. I just had to go and do my best. And it worked.
For Cape town I will focus on what I´m good at. Learning new techniques and so is very hard to do before leaving. So focus on my strong sides and work on improving and developing before I go. Talk to people, get feedback and inspiration is important now.
My expectations for Cape town..!? Hmm I go to get the most of it. I believe that if I don’t believe that I can win, I will never win. So, I want to win. I know I´m not the favorite to win, but I will go to Cape town with the attitude that I can win. I have to believe in it.
A year ago, I would never have thought this possible, but now I see there is a lot of possibilities. I´m taking it as it comes. I love Bar 25 and will stay there; I have something special with my colleagues. I have got offers but….even if they money was better I mean it´s just money, I belong with Bar 25 right now. Maybe one day I will open my own bar or I will do something with my education, I don’t know. Everything is open right now….and I like that” ☺