【人物專訪】調酒界金像獎大師-Masahiko Endo

【CA人物專訪#5 :調酒界金像獎大師-Masahiko Endo】 Catch-up with World Champion Bartender - Masahiko Endo


先說說Endo-san的成就 | Endo's Achievement: -世界冠軍調酒師 World Champion Bartender -三界日本總冠軍調酒師 3 times National Champion Bartender -TEDx Hong Kong 講者 Speaker -Mizunara: The Library 總調酒師 Bartender-in-Chief ------------------------------------------------------ 問:你幾歲開始學會調製人生中的第一杯雞尾酒?


大概22歲左右,那時我剛從大學畢業,並在日本福岡,即是我的家鄉,找到第一份調酒師的工作。那不算是一個大城市,人口約一百五十萬左右。當時我在一家名為Blue Note的美國爵士餐廳,開展我人生第一份全職的酒保工作,並學習沖調雞尾酒。自此便愛上這個行業,一做便做了二十多年。


儘管已從事酒業廿多年,但我仍然覺得有好多地方需要學習改進。浸淫越久,越會發現自己很多事情都不懂。例如新的雞尾酒調酒方法,總是會有意想不到的材料配搭出現。


Q: When and where did you learn to make the first cocktail in life?


Right. After I was graduated from the university, I found my first job as a bartender in restaurant at my hometown while I was 22 years old. It's in Fukuora, the southern part of Japan. Not a big city though. In terms of population, there is around one and half million people or a bit more now. For the restaurant, it is a jazz restaurant bar called Blue Note with headquarters in New York but now it is already closed down. So I have been working as a bartender since then so it has been around twenty three years.


Despite the long time, there's still so many things I have to learn right now. The more I work the deeper I realise I have so much that I did not know. For example, there are new cocktail mixology methods with brand-new ingredients evolving from time to time in the industry.




問:你是如何攀上「總調酒師」這個職位呢?


說實話,我仍然不覺得自己有過甚麼偉大的成就。相反,我一直還處於學習的路途上。但當有朋友問我如何從第一天開始裝備自己成為總調酒師,我認為關鍵在於 (1) 努力學習、(2) 保持好奇心和 (3) 永不滿足於現狀。


「專業」這兩個字是重點,我的意思是享受你的工作,並從各種成功與失敗的經歷學習,無論是調酒師或是其他職位,也應該堅守著發掘和追求真理的態度。也許在某些事件上你永遠找不到真理,但​​重要的是即使遇到失敗,仍然繼續努力並向前邁進。這是其中一個鍛鍊自己成為一位專業調酒師的方法。


在成為總調酒師以後,除了要保持步伐繼續學習之外,還要從旁教導員工,與他們一同成長。我發現香港的調酒師們在他們很年輕的時候便對品酒和調酒有著極大的熱情,但他們遇到的問題是不清楚如何在最有效方式並系統化地學習相關的技術及知識。正因為這個原因,我更加想承擔導師的責任,使他們在自己的崗位上發揮所長,並實現自己的潛力。因此,我認為一個出色及專業的調酒師不應只顧及個人成長,更要指導及培養新一代。這亦正正成為我工作上其中一個最大的動力來源。


Q: How did you managed to reach the position of a Bartender-in-chief?


To be honest, after years, I still do not think I have achieved something great. Instead, I'm still on the way to learn. Still, there are some friends asking how I made it to this position since day one. I would say the keypoints are: Study Hard. Keep the curiosity. Never get satisfied with the status quo.

And it is always important to be a professional bartender. By professional I mean it is to enjoy the adventure of your work life, either as a bartender or any other position, and keep digging in and discovering the truth. Perhaps you cannot find the truth out forever but keep trying and moving forward despite running into failure sometimes.


Plus, I'm working with closely with other staff both in Japan and Hong Kong. I always believe it is one of my duties not only to improve myself but let the staff around grow up together. I discovered that the young bartenders in Hong Kong have a huge passion for alcohol and mixology for so long but don't know how to learn and grow in an effective way. And I found myself excited to take up the responsibility to let them do well in their positions and actualise their potentials. So it's not just about the individual but nurture the new generations. This is certainly my motivation of work.




問:有好多本地的調酒師渴望在世界賽拿到冠軍寶座。作為一名世界冠軍調酒師,您有甚麼建議?


根據我的經驗,第一個關鍵因素是找一位好老師。如果你已經有明確目標成為哪一個比賽的冠軍,我建議你請教曾經在該比賽贏得冠軍的前輩,更好的是跟他們一同工作。但值得注意的是,有時老師很難準確地以文字或語言解釋所有技巧和知識。有鑑於此,我總是鼓勵我的同事及後輩要積極主動,認識自己有任何不足,勇於提問,並從我身上「偷走」一切。我是非常願意將我知道的完完全全傳受給他們的。在知識的層面上,我堅持與我的同事間沒有任何秘密。


個關鍵因素是不繼練習,不要讓自己因任何藉口去停下來。即使你成功創造了一隻賣相和味度都很出色並且非常大賣的雞尾酒,我仍然會建議你繼續走下去,永遠不要在原地停留。相反,你要堅持改良現有的酒款並同時創作更多全新的款式,這對準備比賽來說是非常重要的。


終極而言,比賽就是要比任何一位參賽的調酒師優秀。顯然比賽是相對的,有人輸亦有人贏。在我看來,是否能夠贏得比賽取決於你付出多少努力。如果你比其他人準備得更多,你將會獲得更大的獲勝機會。儘管獲取冠軍是從來沒有保證的,但至少你可以透過適當的練習建立信心,特別是當你站在舞台上,在某些時刻會變得非常緊張。如果你有充足的信心,你可以讓自己在冷靜的狀態下表現自己。


Q: What do you think are the key elements to progress as a World Champion award bartender?


In my perspective, the first important thing is to find a good teacher. Otherwise it will be difficult to get to somewhere you want to be in the career. If you are looking for winning a champion award, I’d suggest you looking for seniors who used to be a champion or while nearly-champion bartender to work with. But do notice that sometimes it's difficult for the teacher to explain exactly the skills and techniques. So I always tell my colleagues to be proactive and steal everything from me. I don't have any secret. If you ask me any question then I will answer everything.


Another hint is to keep practice and practice. It is necessary not to stop. Just continue doing.


Even if you have successfully created a famous cocktail that is looking and tasting good, I’d say you shall never think about stopping there. Try to think about the improvement and find out the better solutions. For example, looking for a better combination of ingredients and flavour. This is very important for winning a competition.


Ultimately speaking, competition is about being outcompeted with some other bartenders. Obviously someone win and somebody lose. In my opinion, to win a competition hinges on how much you make an effort. If you do it much harder than the others do, you will have a higher chance to win though there is no guarantee as always. But at least you have the confidence because you did try it hard and work way more than others. So this is also the key point for winning a competition, especially when you are on the stage. You know, it is very nervous at some point of time. But if you have a confidence. You’d be able to calm yourself and perform well.




問:你如何獲得創造新雞尾酒的靈感?


很多時這些靈感是從體驗生活和聯想所發展出來的。就好像之前在逛商店或在餐廳用膳時,我會整理出我吃到的食物的香氣和味道,例如看到一款辛辣的食物,便立即想像這種材料可否作為新成份與威士忌或氈酒混合,從而製作出帶出辣椒或生薑的味道的新式雞尾酒。


一旦得出某個想法,我會回到Mizunara酒吧嘗試把想像到的材料一併調配起來。當然有時候是非常棒,有時不盡如意。即使如此,我依然會把這些想法記在腦內或筆記裡。


當一些顧客走進Mizunara酒吧,告訴我他們想得到甚麼樣的口味,我也會把那些口味全部存進我的腦海裡,然後為顧客製作度身訂做的雞尾酒。有些人可能會直接要求我使用特定的材料來製作雞尾酒。我會按此材料再加點想像及計算,然後將它們混合在一起,看看它最終的味道。有時候甚至會創造出比我想象中更好的調酒。坦白說,這不僅僅是我的創作,而是彼此的結合,客人與我一起創造的新調酒。


Q: How do you get the inspiration to create a new cocktail?


To be honest, the spark does come up suddenly sometimes when I was just working or walking around during my leisure time. Like I might see something spicy on the shop or restaurant then immediately think this kind of spicy material can be mixed as a new ingredient onto the existing ones to create the right spicy flavor, either it be the chilli or ginger.


I would say this is like a hobby of experiencing and brainstorming, even after work. When I'm just off-work for the day, I would still think and imagine what kind of things is a new to me for making new cocktails. Like when I go to the restaurant or a coffee shop I would sort out what kind of taste for the food I am having would be a perfect match with whisky or gin as a brand-new cocktail.


And once I get an idea I would come back and try to mix it. Then sometimes of course. Oh it's no good but sometimes. Wow it's really good then. After all I would keep those ideas in my mind or in a notebook.


And when some customer came into my bar and tell me they want this and that kinds of flavours. I would also put them all in my mind then make the new cocktail for that specific customer. Some may ask me directly to use a particular ingredients to make a special cocktail. After that I would start calculating the portion of this ingredient and come to mix them together and see how it finally tastes. Sometimes it really works and goes beyond my expectation. Frankly speaking, this is not just my creation but a combination of each other. Customer and I make the new cocktail together.




問:你的第一調酒理念是甚麼?為什麼該理念那麼重要?


每當我調配雞尾酒時,我總會先想想喝的對象是誰。同一份量同一材料的Martini酒未必同時適合兩位不同的客人,因為每個人也有不同的口味和偏好。因此,我必須清楚了解客人的喜好,並按他們的要求,選擇最好的基酒及材料比例。除此之外,時間點也是另一考慮因素:人的味覺是相當敏感的,即使同一個人在早午晚或者餐前餐後喝同一杯酒,亦可能有不同的感受。因此,如果我晚飯後的時間製作Gin Tonic時,我會著重杜松子的清爽口感。但如果是午夜時份,顧客有機會先喝過一些紅白啤酒,因此我側重在酒精濃度,加入更多氈酒,使味道更加強烈。


另外,我習慣使用手動測量而不是用任何量杯來沖調雞尾酒。我會先保持相同的厚度,再憑經驗數算一、二、三來計算基酒及其他配料的容量。這是我調配雞尾酒的風格。正如我剛剛所說,每個顧客都有不同的喜好和口味。因此,如果對任何一位顧客也使用相同的容量,那雞尾酒本身就失去了其度身訂造特點,而如何在調配的比重上作出適合微調是非常重要的。


Q: What's the most important bartending philosophy? Why do you think it is that important?


When I'm making cocktail I'm always thinking about who drinks it. If two of their customers are ordering and I make the same Martini for them, it may then not suit for two people, for every person has a different palate and different preference. So I'm always thinking about what is the best cocktail for that specific person. So even if it is martini or Gin Tonic, I have to control the ratio. And I'm always controlling the ratio across the time: whether it is in evening or midnight or almost in the morning. Or like the time during dinner or before dinner. Human palate is a quite sensitive but we can feel the differences. So if I'm making gin and tonic in the evening I will make it more refreshing. But, in the midnight, if the customers have already drunk some alcohols or wine before, then I will make the gin and tonic a bit stronger.


When I was making cocktails I didn't use any kinds of cup measurement. I'm using hand measure. It's a handy measure when I put the ingredient and spirits together. The way I do it is to pay attention to the thickness of the liquid. I'm always trying to keep the same thickness then I can count like number one two three and then this becomes like 30ml or 20ml. It is like I have my own measurement. This is my style.


Because as I said every customer has a different preference and different palate. So if the same measurement is used for every customer, then that cocktail itself will just always be the same for the different person or the same person across different days. But everybody is changing so how to adjust the pace is the most important.




問:您認為在香港管理酒吧所面臨的最大挑戰是什麼?


最大的挑戰是這是我第一次在日本以外的地方從事調酒師。 還記得當我初初來香港的時候,從一開始我就用在日本工作時的方式去服務客戶和管理團隊。 但很明顯,由於兩地的文化差異,這一套方法並不管用,以致當時所有員工都離開了。 然後我開始意識到自己過份自我了並開始深入去了解香港文化,以及本地客戶和同事對調酒師和酒吧的期望。 幸好,在香港的第二年,我遇到了一位友善的同事,很有耐性地與我分享本地的風土文化。 我從她身上學到了很多關於香港人和香港文化的知識,以致我今天能夠妥善營運及管理一家專業的酒吧。


Q: What do you think is the biggest challenge to manage a bar in Hong Kong?


The biggest challenge is it is the first experience being a bartender outside Japan. From the beginning I was almost doing the same thing as I was in Japan to serve the customers and manage the team. But it did not work because of the different cultures. I remember everybody was gone back then. My colleagues said it was too hard for them. Then I realised I was too selfish because I used the Japanese way in Hong Kong, which is a completely different place here. I then started learning the Hong Kong culture and what the customers and colleagues expect of a bartender as well as a bar. During my second year here, I encountered a very good colleague who told me about the local culture very softly. By then I learned from her about the culture quite a lot. And now I am able to manage well by also taken into account the difference. ------------------------------------------------------ 特別嗚謝:Mizunara: The Library Mizunara: The Shop Like & Share: Cheers Asia 瀏覽更多專訪:www.cheersasia.com

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