Words by: Ingmar Voerman
A few days after Ben's win in the Dutch World Class finals, we interviewed the fresh new champ on his experience and the road to victory.
How do you feel as the fresh new Dutch World Class winner?
"I feel very overwhelmed by it all, incredibly proud of this achievement."
When did you believe there was a good chance to win?
"I really believed in my drink for the Signature Serve Challenge:
The Musk and Amber. I also felt that I could deliver a good presentation. As soon as we prepared for the Wanderlust challenge, I felt confident that I could go further.
For the Wanderlust mystery box challenge I had prepared a few things in advance, like possible names, drink bases and background stories. Overall, the competition and level of bartenders was incredibly high this year, and to share a stage with them was an honour in itself."
The winner of 2017 was Alberto, your colleague at Dr. in Rotterdam. How important has being part of this team been in your journey to winning world class?
"It was a massively important thing for me. To be part of, what I believe, is the greatest hospitality team in Holland, is always going to have an influence. Alberto was definitely an inspiration, what he achieved pushed me, and also with his experience within the competition allowed me to be a little more informed.
The team is full of amazing bartenders, and being able to borrow their palates and get their views really focused me and my drink, I tweaked the recipe numerous times to allow for various flavors to come out at different times within the drink. Their support was vital."
How are you going to prepare for the global finals in Berlin?
"I’m going to ask as many questions to the previous winners of World Class. Learning from their experiences on the global stage will be integral for me to develop and represent The Netherlands in the best way possible.
I will also be getting in touch with a few chef friends for different techniques in which to manipulate flavors, and of course, studying and practicing everything there is to know."
Pictures by Ming Chao