Tête-à-Tête with Florent Parfait
India played host to one of the well-known bartenders of France – Florent Parfait. He shared his thoughts with Hipcask on flair bartending and also spoke of how working at different venues has helped him develop an eye for detail.
“My work is fun,” French bartender Florent Parfait told Hipcask. Parfait was at Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach recently, juggling bottles, entertaining guests and leaving them enraptured with what he termed as a “show”. This, and the fact that his job is not at all stressful, is what got him hooked on to bartending. However, he believes his profession can not be defined just as amusing or fascinating; discipline is inevitable.
Parfait always had an inclination towards bartending, which led him to pursue a diploma in bartending from the Lycée Hotelier de Dinard. He then went on to work at reputed establishments such as Palace Hermitage Lucien Barrière (La Baule), Disney Resort Hotels and Lido, in Paris. In a bid to learn more and experience the technical know-how of flair bartending, the young mixologist participated in a number of competitions, out of which he won the French flair bartending league in February 2012.
Today he owns his own event services company Cocktail Pro, Parfait stated that apart from offering cocktail services at events, his company also provides consultancy. The agency, that was started in 2012, has provided services at various prominent events like La soirée Blanche de Rolland Garros 2012 and recently, Le carré VIP du Concert des Rolling Stones au Stade de France 2014.
Surrounded by a group of people during our chit chat — one of them aiding him with his awry English — Parfait laughed when asked if flair bartending has a bright future in France. He thought this career was well-paid, with great opportunities, even though many mixologists do not take flair seriously. Parfait rubbished this and affirmed that many organisations promoting flair bartending are blooming. As for India, he observed that the concept is still evolving.
Parfait may not have one decided person he looks up to or is inspired by but he said, “I used to experiment a lot. I also met a lot of people from whom I learned. Additionally, we were allowed to work all night if we wished to, in college. It is a way of life.” One question that he always gets asked – his favorite drink. “This is a tough one,” he expressed. “It changes all the time. Today it is Tommy’s Margarita.”
Reminiscing his days spent in London, after Paris, Parfait said it is a big city for cocktails, just like “Vatican is for Christians”. Interacting with guests has always been his prized possession and the most special part of his job is his interaction with guests and he wishes for it to remain unchanged. In the end, his effortless self only advised bartenders to have fun, because that is what differentiates it from any other run-of-the-mill profession.