Giulia Cuccurullo Italian-born head bartender at Artesian in The Langham, London

What was your first job?
Waitress and bartender in a wine bar. 

Why did you want to work in bars?
At the time I felt it was a bit like going out, but easier. I was meeting different people, talking to them and making connections. It felt natural.

If you weren’t in the industry, what would you do?
I would be an architect. I studied architecture at university back home in Naples.

What industry figure do you most admire, and why?
There are many, and all for different reasons. I won’t say names, but I can say that they are the people who do define our industry for what it is now.

What’s your best tip for keeping calm under pressure during a busy service?
Thinking that we will get through that. You have two hands and one body, as soon as you do everything correctly and fast you will make it, you have to be concentrated.

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
Someone once asked me if I was Scottish, which is odd if you know my accent.

Most overrated cocktail?
Dry Manhattan, it’s too sharp, never really balanced. Sweet Manhattan I like, though.

What’s your favourite comfort food, post shift?
Fried chicken.

If you could serve anyone, who would it be and why?
My mum. To show her what I exactly do and surprise her.

Where do you go when you want to let your hair down?

Favourite food and drink pairing?
Espresso, no sugar, and smoked almonds.

What’s your favourite dish to cook at home?
Any kind of risotto.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
To always be prepared. It’s like in school, go prepared and it will be okay.

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