Jovanovic Bartender of the YearDespite only having been in the country for six months, talented Serbian Predrag Jovanovic was named NZ Bartender of the Year. Top bartenders from around the country competed during the NZChefs National Salon, held at the ASB Showgrounds. The event tested skills in Wine and Beverage Service, Classic Cocktails and Innovative Cocktails, with Jovanovic coming out on top in all three categories.

“This is the first time I’ve ever entered a bartending competition,” said Jovanovic, who is a hospitality management student at NZMA, one of the ACG Tertiary and Careers Group training providers. “Winning this title means a lot to me as it will improve my chances of landing a managerial role in NZ and help build my reputation in the hospitality industry.”

His award-winning innovative cocktail, ‘Homage’ was inspired by speakeasies and the end of prohibition in America featuring a mouth-watering mix of dark chocolate, marsala wine and chip-infused rum. This, teamed with his classic Sidecar and Margarita, and his top-notch wine and beverage service skills proved to judges he had what it takes.