'Mr. Big Fish' Vitaly Alekseyev
Words by Ingmar Voerman
Vitaly Alekseyev (27) is the head bartender at The Duchess in Amsterdam (voted Entree best new cocktail bar in 2015). A Russian guy raised in Latvia in the best tradition of Eastern European Hospitality, that found his way to Amsterdam after transforming from a London chef to a London cocktail bartender.
He eventually relocated to London to study and work as a chef but ended up finishing a full hospitality and management course. According to Vitaly who did start his career as a chef in London. Wanting to connect more with his
guests he decided to start working as a bartender in Galvin@Windows
situated in Hilton on Park Lane.
A few years later Vitaly took a part in opening a brand new cocktail bar in Crystal Palace called Cocktail Embassy, which went from being just a fun project with friends into becoming the best cocktail bar in South/East London.
Vitaly was asked by friend and bar mentor Sergey Platonov to come to help out with a new project in Amsterdam. Now 3 years later Vitaly is head bartender at the Michelin-starred restaurant and bar The Duchess.
In 2017 Vitaly ended top 16 at the global finals of the Bacardi Legacy cocktail competition in Berlin with his Big Fish cocktail. His presentation, storytelling and recipe for his ‘Big Fish’ cocktail inspired a lot of people on took his bartending career to the next level. The bartender’s Russian heritage and experience in the biggest European markets allows him to travel around Eastern Europe, sharing his thoughts and ideas about hospitality. According to Vitaly, a good drink is like a good story: it’s meant to be enjoyed over and over again.