It all started with a fascination with food, to working in restaurants and then bars like Employees Only and the Black Pearl; An innate desire to avoid the mundane, and to chase something a bit more creative. At some point, I somehow found myself in the company of Four Pillars co-founder, and my current boss, Stuart Gregor. Rub the lamp, say hi to the genie, and nod of the head and hey presto: Four Pillars Gin Brand Ambassador Sam.
Here’s some things I did on both sides of the bar to get to where I am now:
As a chef and a bartender, I started from ground up. This is very important. The lessons I learned here continue to be a guiding force in my career, and are also constantly restated by those whom I respect and trust from all over the globe. Washing dishes made me treat those who did this for me with much more respect. Being a bus boy taught me speed and respect for my bartenders, and as a bartender respect for those helping me do my job as best as was possible.
Humility is key.
Starting again from the bottom at both Employees Only and the Black Pearl reinforced that the bar/company is not fuel for my ego machine, but rather a place to serve and a vehicle to let my imagination go. I was very lucky to have excellent mentors. Search them out. Listen. Learn. And above all, follow the golden rule:
DON’T. BE. A. DICK.
When you represent a company, you are the one person people immediately associate with when they think of that company. The way you behave directly impacts how someone views that brand.
Be personable. Meet everyone, and give every person the same warm smile and genuine attention as you would one of your mentors. You never know who you’re talking to.
A hunger for knowledge is extremely important. When you talk to people as a bartender, your whole world is what you’ve learned, whether its cocktails, or spirits knowledge or wine or something else. As you transition from that position to one of an ambassador, people can very quickly tell when you speak from a place of knowledge. It gives them confidence to believe and to listen when you speak about a topic close to your heart.
My personal belief is that if the “best of the best” in the world, guys like Alex Kratena and Simone Caporale, Dave Arnold, Joaquin Simo, Tony Conigliaro, david wondrich, dave broom, etc etc. continue to seek out knowledge and new techniques and are curious to learn, those of us who are mere mortals should be at the very least doing the same.
Lastly, always be genuine. People can smell bullshit a mile away. That said, if you can’t then learn how to fake it really, really well.
Samuel Ng is Gin Ambassador & Trade Relations Manager, Asia for Four Pillars Gin.
To profile your skills and experience, and put yourself up for all the industry may have to offer, register your profile at https://poach.com.au