It’s almost 2018, people. Girls should take their well-deserved spotlight in whichever industry they are passionate about, regardless of how male-dominated it may be. Just take it from Jolan “The Supernova” Penafiel, the champion of TGI Fridays’ Shake, Rattle, and Pour 2017 Bartender Competition and the representative to the Regional Bartender Championship in Indonesia this October.
The 24-year-old bested 18 other bartenders from all over the country in a series of challenges that showcased their knowledge and skills in mixing concoctions. But it was during the freestyle round held last Aug. 30 at the TGIFridays Venice Grand Canal Mall in McKinley, Taguig where Jolan really proved she is worthy of a shot at the world championship. Set in a simulation of a typical Friday night at a bar, the top eight competitors had eight minutes to showcase their showmanship skills while preparing five different drinks, all while under the pressure of having the judges as their customers and having a live audience. But not only did they make the drinks, they also had to entertain — as they always do in any TGIFridays restaurant. There were a lot of flairs, magic tricks, small gifts and even math problems to be solved. But ultimately, it was the vibrant attitude, attention to detail and engaging conversations by Jolan from the Greenbelt branch that won over the judges and the bar crowd.
Now in its 22nd year, TGI Fridays Shake, Rattle, and Pour Bartending Championship has redefined the art of drinking by shaping some of the best bar magicians in the country. More than just serving up our fave draaanks, they make sure you’re having a great time because, well, you deserve it. It was back in 2015 when the Philippines was last represented in the World Bartending Championship in Dallas, Texas. It also happened to be the same year our girl Rizza Umlas charted an historic win, being the first female and the youngest to bag the grand prize in the 26-year history of the international competition. Though Jolan believes that “winning is just a bonus; experience is the ultimate prize,” there’s no doubt that she’s been through enough to stand a damn fighting chance in the Asia-Pacific regional round, and hopefully, the world finals. Cheers to that.