Lancaster University venue assistant Elle Gilligan showed off her cocktail making skills to be crowned winner of a national competition.
Elle won the Bar Skills Challenge at the 2017 TUCO Competitions. Held at the University of Warwick, the prestigious national skills competition attracted more than 400 people to celebrate the exceptional talent within the higher education catering sector. Elle went head-to-head with experienced competitors from across the country as they battled to win the top title. She stood out from the crowd after demonstrating her expertise in a live final and impressing a panel of expert judges with her accuracy, creative flair and presentation on the day.
Entrants for the annual event had just 15 minutes to prepare a signature cocktail, a sharing drink for four and a beer or cider cocktail.
Competitors were also put to the test as they had to produce as many 25ml Beefeater and tonics as they could make in a tense one minute speed round.
Elle said: “It’s an honour to have been awarded this coveted title, especially as the competition was so tough this year.
“I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the TUCO Competitions and it’s been fantastic to meet and learn from all the other competitors – there really is an incredible wealth of talent within the HE sector and competitions like this are a wonderful opportunity for everyone to get together and showcase their skills.”
Matt White, chairman of The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO), said: “The expertise and innovation displayed across the higher education sector never fails to impress me and this year was no exception.
“Huge congratulations to all our competitors who demonstrated some truly outstanding skills over the past two days.
“The TUCO Bar Skills Challenge proved to be yet another show-stopping event, with competitors highlighting the abundance of talent within the sector.
“Elle’s performance was truly exceptional and she thoroughly deserved to win. What really shone through was her passion, which is what makes the difference between a good bar tender and a great one.”
The Bar Skills Challenge was one of 18 categories at the TUCO Competitions, which also included Barista Skills, Campus Speed Cook, Chef’s Challenge, Cook & Serve and Salon Culinaire.
A total of 150 experts from the higher education sector took part to showcase their knowledge and creativity.
The University Caterers Organisation is the leading membership organisation for in-house caterers operating in the Higher and Further education sectors. Now in its 24th year, the TUCO competitions attract more than 400 leading hospitality professionals and guests to come together to celebrate the high skills level within the industry.