We have professional bartenders all over the globe who are taking WFA Gradings to all sorts of new levels, encouraging and guiding a plethora of students through the different grades. No one more so than one of our favourite South Americans Roman Zapata. Roman has been teaching flair bartending for the last 6 years and currently delivers WFA Gradings amongst other bartender training courses at the Flair Academy bar school in Milan, Italy. We caught up with him about how WFA Gradings have been going in Milan, how he thinks WFA Gradings can help in life as a bartender, online flair training and more:
How can WFA Gradings be useful?
“It all starts with the Yellow grade, this is the basic level. I think it represents a really good starting point for beginners, especially if the beginner has some bartending experience as well – although this isn’t necessary. Particularly if they have never flaired before, the Yellow grade breaks it all down making it really easy to understand and get a hold of. You learn all the basics of flair bartending and you will find as you progress through the grades you are building on these basic moves you have mastered with the Yellow grade. You use more or less every item behind the bar as part of the first grade, so it not only gives you a great basic understanding of how to flair but also of the tools you will most likely be flairing with.
Being able to flair as a bartender is definitely an advantage. As many bartenders will know it is not necessary to be a bartender, however it certainly gives you an edge. You are not only able to provide the service of a bartender, but also entertain the guests and grab their attention. Flair bartending has been proven to be a great way of upselling in a bar, so bars will always be on the lookout for a decent flair bartender when recruiting a new bartender. The majority of my students have gone on to get jobs in bars very soon after completing their WFA Grading, others are even doing show and performances in private events. We have had over 200 bartenders who have passed Yellow level at Flair Academy.”
Have you seen any great successes from the students who have passed their WFA Grading?
“Yes definitely, it has been quite amazing really. Going through the WFA Grading process seems to have given a lot of confidence and a real transferable skill set to a number of my students. I had a guy who owns a bar and after completing his course now does flair shows every week. I had a few others who have carried on their training and are now doing shows in Italy and Germany. Others went and entered their first competitions and started to get involved in the professional competitive scene. I had a few guys who are now working in Spain as flair bartenders, so one thing is for sure going through the WFA Gradings opens a lot of doors when it comes to bartending and entertainment!”
Would you encourage people to give WFA Gradings a go?
“As you can see on my last answer on the doors it opens, yes for sure. Although I don’t think words of encouragement are necessary. It is clear to see the many possibilities flair can give you by looking at people like me and many others who choose this as a profession. I push everyone to follow their dreams, many of them feel to get to a good level will take many years, but I always stress it is different for everyone. It depends on how much you and train as well as how you train. Some people are just naturals when it comes to flair and if that is the case, it should definitely be something you think about taking further.”
What is online flair training and how does it work?
“Skype flair lessons is a project I’ve been working on for the last year. I had many requests from bartenders all over the world asking how can they improve their flair level, as many of them cannot get to our bar school for a variety of reasons, the only thing I thought could work is taking the flair training to them. I wasn’t sure if it could work in this way, but it has been working well and has become quite popular. By doing these online Skype lessons I am giving bartenders anywhere and everywhere the opportunity to learn flair bartending from the comfort of their own home”.