Raising the Bar with Karine Tillard, UK Brand Ambassador for Patrón Tequila
Karine Tillard, UK Brand Ambassador for Patrón Tequila chats about her career to date, her inspirations and plans…
The Patron Paloma cocktail
HOW DID YOU START OUT IN THE BAR TRADE?
I started a few years ago in Australia as a bar back/waitress. I ended up running bars in Melbourne but when I moved back a couple of years ago to the UK, I didn’t mention that I was a GM and started straight back as a waitress and bar back: best way to learn how a venue works and get yourself familiar with your new surroundings.
I worked in plenty of fields (from teaching to being a tourist guide) but I always come back to hospitality, my first love.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
I’m very lucky to work for a spirit and a brand I absolutely adore. I could not work for a brand I do not respect.
What inspires me the most is holding training events and watching people become fascinated by the complexities of tequila and how hand-made an ultra premium spirit like Patrón can be.
Tequila is still quite new in a few cities and most of the time, people have no idea what it is.
The tequila category is growing and I could not be happier to see the agave love being spread by myself and other brands.
WHO DO YOU ADMIRE IN THE BAR TRADE?
In all fairness (and not because she’s my boss!), I do admire Shervene Shahbazkhani. I’ve never seen anyone working so hard and being so dedicated to her job. She really is an inspiration. She’s a lady of steel and if I can be anything like her, well, I will happily say I made it.
WHAT CHALLENGES HAVE YOU FACED IN YOUR CAREER?
Going from 60mls serves in Australia to 50mls in the UK!
But seriously, I believe you are your own challenge, no matter how difficult it is, if you work hard and aim for the best, it will show and you’ll be rewarded.
I went from bar back to GM within few months, nothing is impossible.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE A BAR PERSON WITH ASPIRATIONS?
Travel, see what other cultures have to offer, gain inspiration. And never give up. It does get hard sometimes, but this is an amazing industry. There’s so many work opportunities from bartender to brand representative. I’m lucky to have my dream job but I did work to get it.
WHERE DO YOU HOPE TO GO FROM HERE?
I’m quite happy right now and I still have plenty of work to do in the UK, so not going anywhere anytime soon.
We are launching, for the third year running, the Patrón Perfectionist competition (which is now a global competition in 17 countries) and I can’t tell you how excited I am to travel all around the UK to see what the bartenders have got for me.
Last year was fantastic, this year is really showing some strong potentials.
I hope to see all of you entering in Northern Ireland, we have decided to hold one heat here in Belfast.