Ted Dako is a great friend of Bag om Baren and we have previously done an interview when he won World Class Denmark 2015. Now about a year and a Danish National Championship title later we have talked with the young ambitious bartender about what he has gotten out of the competitions regarding his career. These a just some of the outcomes that you can have if you like to compete.
How has it evolved you as a bartender?
It has pushed me to a level that I never thought I would reach. The competition it self has forced me to go out of my comfort zone and perform under pressure. This has pushed me to read books and do home work on spirits, ingredients and history of the trade. It has inspired me by letting me meet and work with so many talented people all over the world.
After the competition I have experienced a different kind of pressure that I did not expect. By winning these competitions you get a status and a pressure from your peers to continue to do well. So I have ordered even more cocktail books and I continue to look at videos and other bartenders to get inspired and always stay on top of my game.
Winning these comps has also allowed me to travel the world as a bartender and see what people are doing in other countries; how their cocktail culture is, how they work with different seasons, how they work with different spirits and what approach they have to service. It has given me a bigger arsenal of ideas and inspiration to how I can improve my game.
What has it ment i terms of you network in the industry?
Before I started competing I was a good speed bartender in Bar7 but no one knew who I was. Now, only a year later, I have 3000+ friends and followers on facebook, I have been in every magazine worth mentioning in both Denmark and Sweden, I get invited to events to talk about cocktails and I have a sofa to stay on and a bar to work in, in over 60 countries. It is insane, I can’t believe it!
What about business and jobopportunities?
I have gotten job offers from many bars and spirit companies in Copenhagen as well as internationally but I’ve always felt like I wanted to do my own thing. I saw a big demand for my services when it came to helping with making cocktails for venues and making cocktails at people’s parties. So I started a consulting company (Dako Consulting) and a cocktail catering company (We got Spirit with Aurimas). Since then I have made menus for a restaurant in Sweden that is part of the same concern as Hard Rock Café and O’learys, I made the cocktails and managed the bar for Remee’s 40+ birthday, I have created the cocktail menu for Sticks ‘n’ sushi’s restaurants in Denmark, I am part of opening a cocktail bar from scratch in Holbæk and I just signed a contract with a new restaurant in Manama, Bahrain to make a non-alcoholic menu for them. That was Dako Consulting.
For We got Spirit we have gotten a lot of bookings this summer for caterings, courses and tastings. One of the coolest one being an intimate private dinner for Stine Goya’s release of her new collection with people like Princes Mary and The New York Times on the guest list.
There is no chance in hell that this would have happened if I did not compete.
What is the advice you would give to any other bartender wanting to optimize their game and comfortzone?
First of all, push yourself in any way you can to become better. Weather that means to read more books, work in a better bar, know more classics or to just become the best bartender where you work, DO IT! I think the best way to get your name out there and to become a better bartender is to start competing; there is nothing to lose. Don’t be afraid of competing, it is not about laughing at the guys who do not win, it is about having fun and celebrating the guy that wins. If you do it enough times, you might be the one being celebrated.