THE ROTA ARCHIVE

LEON DALLOWAY - THE BARTENDER TURNED GIN GUIDE

"SCHOOLBOYED THE WORLD PLAYER OF THE YEAR DIDN'T I!"

Follow him on Twitter @shakerattlestir & Instagram shakerattlestir

1. What is your favourite cuisine to eat - preferably the opposite to what you work in?

Sharing style – sociable eating.

2. Which dish do you most associate with childhood?

A picnic dish – children’s Ploughman’s, and cheese and tomato sauce sandwiches.  There is this story (laughs) when I was younger I said - ‘I think I like cheese and tomato sauce sandwiches more than I like Jesus’

3. What’s the soundtrack to your first love?

Steve Miller Band – The Joker

4. What do you crave after a long shift?

A strong beer, first one fly’s down so probably 2 strong beers and a party. Like Mojo in Manchester.

5. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – what do you have? 

Avocado on toast with spicy pesto scrambled eggs – green eggs basically.

6. What is your favourite word?

Gin

7. If you could go on a culinary extravaganza-eating holiday – where you choose to do so?

Roses in Spain, or just Catalonia in general. 

8. All at the same time or coursed out?

All at the same time.

9. What is the one area of working in a restaurant you wish you knew more of?

A saucier, I’d like to know more about how to make sauces.

10. What is the best cure for a hangover?

A red snapper with gin and playing a game of football.

11. You’re allowed one shift drink – what is it?

A Martinez.

12. What is the one thing which guests do that drives you mad?

Guests who underpay you – they say like ‘I’ve got £11’ but the bill is £11.90. I’m like no mate, I want the full cash.

13. Do you have any rituals during a shift?

2nd stop on the gin journey I always have a cup of Earl Grey.

14. What’s the last film you saw?

Half of Foxcatcher and a BBC iPlayer documentary on Afghanistan.

15. Best thing that has ever happened to you in a restaurant? 

One Sunday as a youth I was bartending at a cocktail bar/restaurant in Manchester, wicked night making lots of lovely tips.

Then I got told that Manchester United had won the title, being a Leicester fan I wasn't too bothered I just thought. 'Yes this is going to be a belter of a night'.

Next thing I know my manager calls me to go upstairs, I was pissed off at first as I was having a top time on the bar and rolling in it.

He takes me upstairs to the private 'Study' room when I realise what's happening, he has a big smile and tells me the players are coming down and to get ready for a big night. Not usually arsed about serving footy players unless they were tipping but I was thinking this is gonna be a once in a life time night.

So the players came down and brought the trophy with them. First thing they did was give it to me to put behind the bar. Giggs, Ronaldo, Rooney, Vidic, Scholes, Neville etc all going mental. Had the best party ever, completely wild. Even the barbacks were necking DP from the bottle.

Top part was when Ronaldo came behind the bar to help me make drinks and I tapped him on the other shoulder so he turned round the wrong way then I sprayed the soda gun on his crotch. Schoolboyed the world player of the year didn't I!

Bit of a bling bling high roller story but pretty special too.

16. What’s your tagline/motto?

Mega – yeah I probably say that a lot. Like 'it was MEGA!' or 'it's going to be MEGA!'

17. Photography while eating – yay or nay?

Yay - at the right time of course.

18. Rank the following in order of priority: wine, food, sex

Sex, food, wine.

19. What would be your last meal – drinks included.

Roast pork with an amazing crackling, crispy spuds, parsnips, carrots, homemade applesauce with a touch of cinnamon, banging gravy and a bottle of Barolo.

20. What makes you happy?

Everything. Anything good, and music.

21. How do you relax?

Always listening to music, cooking and sport

22. What is the background on your phone?

A picture of the Berlin wall.  When I was at the East Berlin art gallery I took this photo of what I believe also looks like a martini glass with a huge ass cherry

23. Favourite Instagram accounts to follow 

@thomas_k
@everydaymumbai
@clerkenwellboyec1

24. What is the best thing about working in hospitality? 

It’s fun and the people. It’s kind of no limits. Lots of opportunities. Travelling too! Like I got to go to Mauritius and to Tokyo, all expenses paid and was treated like a king for being able to mix a drink and throw some chat out there. Also, being taken around Benedictine Palace in France, then having a 9 course meal. There was also one to Amsterdam which was pretty decent.

25. Which restaurant are you ashamed to NOT have eaten at?

I don’t think I’ve got any I am ashamed of. I think it’s more of a leisure activity than something that’s got to be done.

26. Who is the person you most respect in the industry?

Tony Conigliaro, he’s nailed it, he’s just done something awesome. Also Joy Spence – master blender for Appleton rum. She's breaking the mold of being a female distiller. It’s really nice to see someone break the mold and not fall into the norm. Also Lorena Vasquer – Master blender for Zacapa.

27. What is your go to party trick?

Making bangin drinks and servin up some tasty stuff.

28. Finish this sentence: I eat everything except ...

Broccoli and cauliflower.