[Photo: NZ Phang]
French bartender Remy Savage likes to think outside of the box. Currently Head Bartender at the famed Artesian in London, the Frenchman previously worked in Little Red Door, a street bar in Paris where he and his team turned the cocktail experience on its head. With his academic background in philosophy and art, Savage has been able to approach menus and drinks in a totally different way – “start with a question and answer it through a year of service,” Savage says.
Recently in KL for a guest shift at Omakase + Appreciate for their sixth anniversary, Savage shared some words of wisdom on his philosophies.
Be true to yourself
We just try and do something different. It’s always the same, you find yourself in very repetitive patterns if you start looking at what other people want to do. Whereas I think you should follow your own evolution, learn from your mistakes, and see what the guests actually want.
Less is more
I think we’ve gone through a big phase of…I don’t want to say maximalism, but we’re trying to do a lot because you’re trying to justify yourself, and you don’t feel necessarily credible if you compare yourself to chefs, or sommeliers, or any other work that has to do with flavour. I do believe that 10, 20 years later perhaps we [bartenders] will get a bit more confident. I do believe that simple in execution and complex in flavour is definitely the future.
Break away from biographical justification
It isn’t [about] me, like just because I’m a French bartender then I need to make you drink chartreuse and wine and all of this stuff. I do believe now we tend to justify with ‘my grandmother used to make this’, or ‘my mum used to make me that tea so I’m going to serve it in a cocktail’. It’s a bit cliché, and I think it’s also playing with something called empathy, which I don’t believe necessarily has its place in the world of flavour. I think it’s going to make you have a better experience, but is it going to make your drink effectively better, I’m not sure.
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