Papa Jules - Mixologist of the Month
- Date of Birth: 6th February 1978
- Birth place: Belgrade
- Height: 1.83m
- Eye colour: Brown
- Nationality: French
Papa Jules (Julien Gualdoni) born and grew up in France. He moved to London just after graduating with a masters degree in mechanical engineering and business at the age of 23.
He started to work in the hospitality industry straight away and fell in love with it. As a non-English speaking employee, he started to work for Starbucks Coffee, at the same time as he was working, he was also studiing English.
6 months later, he moved to the bar and restaurant 'The Avenue' where he learned his first cocktails. Julien decided that the bar industry would be his career. Soon after, he opened the Eagle Bar Diner with the company 'Gorgeous Group'.
He moved to Match Bars for the next 4 years where he learned the art of mixing drink and running a bar, and started at Sosho as a bartender, the player, as head bartender and Genaral manager at the multi award bar Trailer Happiness.
In September 2006, Julien set up Mahiki from scratch, and has run until now.
Julien has two passions and specialities and that is Rum and Tiki.
In 2007, Papa Jules worked tirelessly over a six month period, to create the perfect blend for each of the three premium Mahiki Rums. His offering is unique, in that these are rums created for both trade and retail customers, by a renowned bartender and rum specialist, and not the marketing team of a global spirits company!
Julien spends his time between London and the Caribbean where he works with rum distilleries.
Awards & Accolades
Best Spirit Range, Harpers International 2008
Best Drink Experience, Harpers International 2008
Best Bar, London Bar and Club Awards 2008
Best New Bar, London Bar and Club Awards 2007
Best New Bar, CLASS National Bar Awards 2007
Best Bar Design, CLASS National Bar Awards2007
Trailer Happiness, Best Cocktail Bar 2005 - Flavour Magazine Awards.
Trailer Happiness, Best New Bar - Class Magazine Awards 2004.
Trailer Happiness, Best Drinks Selection & Presentation - Theme Magazine Awards 2004.
Trailer Happiness, "One of the world's top 30 new nightspots" - Conde Nast Traveller 2004.
Q & A
What do you as a mixologist think about beer? Any brews of note for you?
I love beer in the Caribbean, I always drink beers while on holiday the local island beer. The problem is that it gives you some round stomach. I love Banks in Barbados, Piton in st lucia, Red Stripe in Jamaica, Biere Loraine in Martinique.
If you could offer a couple of short pieces of advice to the average bartender, what would they be?
Make people and the guest feel special when you are behind the bar. Know your spec's. Understand the process of balancing a drink. Be clean and tidy behind a bar. Be knowledgeable. Smile and make me a good daiquiri.
Surely you have some pet peeves about bartenders -- care to share?
Untidy, no character, not funny, big ego,
As a mixologist/consultant, you work directly with many restaurants on their drink menus -- describe the parts of this process.
My menu in mahiki get changed every 4 months. My main focus is the theatre of the drink and the 'keep in brand' of my tiki drinks. My drinks should be tropical using rum and fresh fruits. The recipe are more or less done by my bartender as they are all very good mixologist. When I do menu I always think of celebration, theatre, sharing drinks and color.
How did you get started?
I started my job in Avenue as a bartender with Charles Vexenat (world-wide cocktail club) and Beck.
How were you trained in bartending?
I did not learn specially from anyone, when I started we didn t have training in bartending as we do now in the industry. The only ones doing it where Match group at that period. Now you can do a tasting or a training every week. Dale de Grof was our director of the drink at the time. I learned a lot from books but you become good if you are passionate about what you are doing and if you have a bit of common sense.
Did you take any courses?
Not really, I am lucky as I am well look after by distillers when I go to the Caribbean, I spend lot of time with them and when they come back to London I always look after them. I have learned a lot with Richard Seale from foursquare, when we worked on the Mahiki rum on the way to produce rum. I have also learned a lot about chemistry of rum with Patrick Patel in Trinidad.
What are some trends you're seeing in the market?
Rum and tequila is for me the spirits that are going forward. Tiki culture and tiki bar are going mad now. I just hope that people doing it will keep it cool. Hawaiian shirt will be trendy next year.
What is your favourite cocktail to drink? To make?
It depends when, where, and who makes them. I drink a lot of rum based cocktails. I like them made by Danny Smith or Jo Wood at Mahiki. At the moment I like to drink my rums neat or throught a daiquiri.
What are some of your favourite tools?
I love at the moment cocktail kit boxes. All my bartenders have one at the moment and come with their own tools. I love to take their bar tools and never give them back!
What does success mean for you?
You are successful when you are good in what you are doing, passion helps, money the result.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I would see myself on a Caribbean island, drinking rum and making drink for people loving rums in my Papa Jules rum Shack.
If you weren't in the drinks industry, what do you think you would be doing now?
I have been study mechanical engineering, and I was designing mechanism for torpedoes for the French government. If no bars I should have been a designer for maybe a car company or airbus.
Your hangover cure?
First drink you ever tried?
We've all had a bad experience with at least one drink. What drink do you most avoid?
I never avoid any drink. But I don t drink enough of sotol or mescal, I try to not drink some rum that are made in Africa.
£10m comes to you. What do you do next?
Holiday and set up a lot of bars
Bar or cellar at home?
None as I don t have enough space , I do have a lot of different type of barbecues and oven.
The one in my hand.
I liked 7 pounds not long time ago
Spirits / cocktail / tiki books. Siping safari.