Friday, June 21, 2024

Belize National Bartender Cup held in Caye Caulker; San Pedro’s Joe Pate among the top three


The fifth edition of the Belize National Bartender Cup was held in Caye Caulker on Saturday, August 5th, with the winner emerging from the Cayo District. After mastering the competition, Imer Mai from San Antonio, Cayo, was recognized as the top bartender in the country. He will represent Belize at an international competition in the Dominican Republic scheduled from September 4th through the 9th. San Pedro Town was also well represented, with Joseph ‘Joe’ Pate bringing home third place.
The Belize Bartenders Association (BBA) hosted and held the competition at the Caye Caulker’s basketball court. It welcomed 12 bartenders from across the country, including Joe Pate, Erica Henriquez, Lester Castro, Cruz Lobos, Nancy Aguilar, Jason Williams, Nino Moreno, Shawn Cuellar, Imer Mai, Marvin Shal, Jaime Franco, and Briceño Cal. The competition started shortly after 2PM, with host Ricael Moran welcoming spectators and participants.
The rules of the competitions required opponents to make six identical garnishes in 15 minutes. Then five minutes to create any juice of their choice (fruit juices). According to Moran, presentation and keeping the area tidy (free of spills) was crucial for bartenders to accumulate winning points. Creating original recipes, preparation of ingredients, technicality on stage, and drink quality were all considered when selecting a winner. Moran and Gado Torres tasted the cocktails.
The contest tested the bartenders’ skills as they did their best to captivate the judges. The winners were announced when the last drinks were graded, and points tallied. San Pedro’s Joe Pate received a Best Taste and Balance drink prize. Imer Mai won the Best Technicality prize, while Shawn Cuellar took home a medal for the Best Garnish.
The top three winners were then named. In third place was Joe Pate. Followed in second place by Nancy Aguilar. The first place and top bartender of the year was Imer Mai. The top-winning bartender hailing from western Belize humbly accepted his grand prize. “It has been a hard road for me, but I always give all my heart to what I love doing, bartending,” said Mai.
Mai is now preparing to travel to the Dominican Republic, where from September 4th to the 9th, he will compete against the best in the region. The BBA congratulated all participants for being part of this demanding competition. They wish Mai all the best in the upcoming international competition. The BBA thanked all those spectators attending the event and all the sponsors who made the event possible with their assistance.

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