Ronnaporn Kanivichaporn And His Guest Shift At Park Hyatt Saigon, 2 Lam Son Bar: "One Ingredient. One Cocktail" | Vietcetera
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Ronnaporn Kanivichaporn And His Guest Shift At Park Hyatt Saigon, 2 Lam Son Bar: "One Ingredient. One Cocktail"

Ronnaporn Kanivichaporn was the World Class Thailand Champion in 2014 & 2017. In the land of smiles, he has been well-known for his breakthrough in cocktail creation.
Ronnaporn Kanivichaporn And His Guest Shift At Park Hyatt Saigon, 2 Lam Son Bar: "One Ingredient. One Cocktail"

Source: World Class Vietnam.

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Ronnaporn Kanivichaporn's mixological philosophy involves the use of every part of one ingredient—flower, leaf, fruit, flesh, root, juice—to create a single concoction.

His participation in the Guest shift at Park Hyatt Saigon, 2 Lam Son Bar was expected. And for his interview with Vietcetera, expect the unexpected.

What is your turning point from being an actor/TV host to becoming a professional mixologist?

My passion for cocktails began when I was working in the entertainment business. I was a host for a World Class Bartender event for three years. Throughout this time, I was fascinated by people sharing their creativity with cocktails. This inspired me to participate in the competition during the fourth year, in 2014. Surprisingly, I won the Thailand final and ended up at number eleven in the world.

In the global scene, they didn't know me as an actor, only as a competitor. This experience affirmed my passion for cocktails.

You championed the World Class Thailand Final twice, in 2014 and 2017. What does each of these achievements mean to you?

I've won the competition twice, each victory carrying its own significance. The first year, my primary aim wasn't winning, but to share my passion and creativity with others. This experience was successful for me, marking a turning point where I realized that I could make a career as a bartender.

The second victory was very different. Some may think that once you've won, you should step back and let others take the spotlight. However, I believe that I can provide opportunities for others without stepping away unless someone performs better than me. This was evident in 2016, when I didn't win, but I returned in 2017 to claim victory again.

As for staying inspired and finding the influences for crafting cocktails, I believe the most important thing is to never stop being curious. Always strive to learn about the things that interest you, as it can be beneficial.

Source: World Class Vietnam.

What is your process for developing your taste in mixology?

The concept is simple yet innovative: one ingredient, one cocktail. After having opened Mahaniyom, I’ve spent most of my time perfecting the execution of this concept. We strive to extract different flavors from a single ingredient, whether it be from different parts, using it at different times, or employing different techniques. In short, we reconstruct a cocktail from all parts of one ingredient.

The research and development for this menu took time, but it was a challenge I thoroughly enjoyed.

Are there any cultural or local influences that have shaped the cocktails on your menu on Guest shift?

Being Thai myself, I grew up with Thai food, so my palate is inherently inclined towards Thai flavors such as sweet, sour, savory, salty, and bitter. The balance of all flavors is often reflected in my cocktails.

Are there any Vietnamese ingredients you are familiar with or particularly fond of?

We have a drink called "Pineapple," in which we use Vietnamese coriander. This ingredient is a local leaf often used in Thai food, especially in the northern region. I'm particularly fond of, and obsessed with, this ingredient, which is why I decided to incorporate it into our drink.

When you’re off-duty and enjoying time at the bar with friends, what’s your approach to savoring a drink?

When I'm off duty and enjoying time at a bar with friends, I prefer to appreciate the craft behind each cocktail. My approach is to opt for drinks that are extreme, interesting, or adventurous. I tend to avoid drinks with ingredients that I can easily imagine the flavors of.

Instead, I gravitate towards drinks with ingredients that I can't immediately comprehend or imagine the flavor of, as these provide me with a more adventurous experience. Sometimes, I might like these drinks, and other times, I might not.

However, taste is very subjective. I understand that not everyone will like my drinks because everyone has their own perception and preference.

What are some common mistakes you see aspiring mixologists make, and how can they avoid them?

A common mistake I see many bartenders make is overlooking the fundamentals, especially when it comes to classic cocktails. Today, bars are often understaffed, leading us to hire new people, some of whom may not have the proper background. In the rush to be unique or outstanding, fundamental skills and knowledge can sometimes be neglected.

It's essential to remember that being a good bartender is not just about showcasing exotic ingredients or techniques. The ability to make a well-balanced margarita or mojito is equally, if not more, important.

Source: World Class Vietnam.

How do you envision the global mixology landscape evolving over the next five years?

I believe the drinking scene is on the rise, but there's still a lot of room for improvement in the global hospitality scene. I'm uncertain about the future trends, but I speculate that there will be a greater fusion of food and drink, similar to the blending of gastronomy and mixology. Techniques from both fields will likely be used in conjunction.

Additionally, as we are currently observing, there is an increasing trend for savory flavors in cocktails. That's my prediction for the future.

What advice would you give to aspiring bartenders who want to excel in competitions like World Class—something you wish you had known?

It is crucial to ensure that when you share your inspiration or the story behind your creation, the ingredients you use and the story are interconnected.

Sometimes, you might mention a concept and use an ingredient that does not correlate. This can be quite confusing. For instance, if you mention the sea and ocean but then use raspberry, it’s hard to find the link.

Practicing extensively can increase your confidence. Many people make mistakes in their combinations or presentations because they lack confidence, which often stems from insufficient practice. When you feel underprepared, you might panic if something goes wrong.

Do your best and don't be disheartened if you don't win. It could be that others prepared even more than you did. But if you have prepared to your fullest and achieved what you set out to do, then you have already won.

Lastly, enjoy the competition. Treat the judge as if they were a guest at your bar. They are not just judges, they are your guests. Treat them the way you would treat your guests at the bar.

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Flavors Vietnam 2024, a partnership between Vietcetera and Mastercard, is a five-month long celebration of Vietnam's F&B scene. An annual occurrence since 2018, this year's theme is focused on “Crafting shared culinary experiences.”

Flavors Vietnam 2024 kicks off with Flavors Bar Week, in collaboration with the World Class Cocktail Festival by Diageo. It will feature a series of events at nearly 50 bars in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City from July 1st to July 14th.

With the spirit of “Celebrating a vibrant drinking culture bursting with flavor,” Flavors Bar Week 2024 will offer unique Bar Walk journeys with special drink menus and discounts for Mastercard Cardholders, promising attendees unforgettable and sparkling moments.

Special thanks to all sponsors of Flavors Vietnam 2024: Mastercard, Diageo (Owner of Johnnie Walker, Don Julio, The Singleton, Tanqueray, Ron Zacapa Centenario, Bulleit and Ketel One), Kamereo and InSpace Creative..

Join us and learn more about Flavors Bar Week 2024 here.