In the 25th year of the TGI Fridays World’s Greatest Bartender competition, Rizza Umlas walked away a champion.
The Manila, Philippines bartender was declared winner of the annual event, held March 3rd at the House of Blues in Dallas. Umlas showed off her flair at the bar, demonstrated mixing expertise and completing a test of recipe knowledge, the company said.
She competed against nine other finalists. All finalists were selected over the course of the past 10 months to compete from among 8,000 bartenders from more than 900 TGI Fridays restaurants in 60 countries.
The finalists in this year’s World Bartender Championship hailed from five different countries:
• Alexander Barrenechea (Lima, Peru)
• Mikey Frye (Orlando, Fla.)
• Stefan Jansson (Oslo, Norway)
• Jessica Myers (Vestal, N.Y.)
• Alisa Nicely (Fort Meyers, Fla.)
• Ben Schaefer (Orange, Conn.)
• Alejandro Silva (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.)
• Fernando Soto (Lombard, Ill.)
• Rizza Umlas (Manila, Philippines)
• Russell Ward (Sheffield, U.K.)
“We are incredibly proud of Rizza as the first female World Bartender Champion,” said Matt Durbin, Vice President of Concept Development, in a press release. “It’s a historic day for Fridays and bartenders around the globe.”
Finalists first competed in local, regional and division bartender competitions. They were tested on product, ingredient and recipe expertise in the days leading up to the finals. Ahead of the final event, the scores were tallied and the final flair competition determined the winner.
“I’m so proud to be able to represent Fridays, my country and female bartenders everywhere as the 25th World Bartender Champion,” said Umlas. “It’s both an honor and a thrill.”
Leading up to the World Bartender Championship, Fridays restaurants raised $150,000 for Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity, through local events and raffles. Finalists volunteered at the North Dallas Food Bank, a member of Feeding America, ahead of the championship and sorted through 2,250 lbs. of food and prepared over 1,800 meals for hungry children, seniors and families.