Becoming the Bartender of the Year: Eduardo Conde's story

Eduardo Conde

Eduardo Conde, a Torrens University Australia's Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School alumni, won the Diageo World Class Australian Bartender of the Year for 2023.

Eduardo Conde showcased his bartender skills in the global finals, leaving a lasting impression. Now, as Venue Manager at El Primo Sanchez in Sydney, he continues to excel in the industry.

Originally, hailing from the vibrant streets of Mexico City and now a resident of Australia for over a decade, he recently made a big splash in the world of bartending. Crowned the Diageo World Class Australian Bartender of the Year for 2023, Eduardo was one of just 54 finalists selected from over 10,000 global entrants to go on to the global finals in Brazil in September last year. This week, we’re celebrating his achievements.

A former student of the Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School (BMIHMS) at Torrens University Australia, Eduardo graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor of Business (International Hotel & Resort Management).

Although he could have chosen any one of the many different Hotel Management careers open to a highly trained graduate, Eduardo was instinctively drawn towards the creativity and vibrant global culture of bars.

“I like the creative freedom that you can get from working behind the bar,” Eduardo explained. “The community on a global scale is incredible; there is a lot of opportunity to get to know people from around the world and the diversity of each country through their bars. Every single bar will have something different and I think that's amazing and unique.”

Competing against other world-class Australian bartenders

During the final national round of the Diageo World-Class Award held back in June 2023, Conde faced a formidable one-day competition against four other outstanding Australian finalists—Alex Gondzioulis (Liquid & Larder in Sydney), Lachlan Gunner (Sourtrap in Adelaide), Andie Bulley (Savile Row in Brisbane), and Rohan Massie (Rude Boy in Hobart). The event unfolded through three challenging rounds, including crafting classic and innovative cocktails, as well as a mystery box challenge.

Conde's inventive twists, such as an Old Fashioned with papaya and lemon geranium and a Paloma infused with cumquat and mandarin, paid homage to his Mexican heritage and the nightclubs of his hometown. In a thrilling final speed round, Conde dazzled the judges by concocting five cocktails in five minutes, securing his spot as the Australian representative in the global finals.

Diageo National Trade Advocacy Manager Kate McGraw expressed in an interview at the time, “All five of the finalists gave it their all, but there could be only one Australian World Class Bartender of the Year. I’m so excited to see Eduardo Conde represent Australia in the global finals and show the world what we are made of!”


Australian Bartender of the Year

The final global showdown took place in Brazil in September last year, where Eduardo showcased his skills. Although he didn't claim the title of Global Champion— an honour bestowed upon Canadian Jacob Martin—Eduardo's exceptional representation of Australia on the global stage left a big impression on industry observers globally and here back at home.

The team at BMIHMS and Torrens University couldn't be more proud of his achievements, and Eduardo is really grateful for the experience and everything he learned along the way.

“Competing in a national and a global competition is intense but it's awesome,” he said. “The journey is different for every competitor, but I learnt a lot about pushing myself, thinking out of the box, and working under pressure.

Competitions are a great way to push yourself in a different way and the best part is that it does not matter if you don't win, you can always make the most of it or learn something from doing it.”

Venue Manager at award-winning cocktail bar

Although Eduardo has an undeniable talent for mixing delicious creations, that’s not the only skill set he possesses. At the moment, he’s also working as the Venue Manager at El Primo Sanchez: an award-winning Mexican cocktail bar and restaurant in Paddington, Sydney. If you want to try a cocktail mixed by a national champion, that’s where you’ll find him. And what are the favourite cocktails of a champion bartender?

“It really depends on the occasion, but I usually love gin martinis. I always try to not stick to one type of drink and explore and try different styles of beverages,” said Eduardo.

Eduardo’s story goes to show the diversity and broad scope of opportunities out there for Hospitality graduates today if they stick to their path and believe in themselves.

“Do not let anyone tell you that you cannot do it,” Eduardo offers this advice to any ambitious Hospitality course students who are looking at their futures. “It will happen a lot along the journey, but always believe in yourself and work hard to not give up. There is no easy path to success.”

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