PIFF Cocktail Competition – Judge

Dario Knox

Dario first developed a passion for bartending at the young age of 17, while working in numerous bars to cover his school fees.  After pursuing his degree in translation at the University of Pisa, he moved to Barcelona where he held two jobs – one as an interpreter/translator and another as a bartender.  Dario made a decision to focus solely on bartending and joined W Hotel Barcelona in 2010.

His passion in cocktails has brought him to win several renowned competition.  He first made it to the Spanish National Finals in the World Class Cocktail Competition in Madrid, Spain,  then the Bacardi Legacy Global Cocktail Competition in Spain in 2011. He represented Spain in the World Finals in Puerto Rico in February 2012 and The Bulldog Shake Attack Cocktail Competition.

On top of that, he also scored the highest score in other acclaimed competitions, such as the Sidecar by Merlet Cognac Cocktail Competition, where he represented Spain at the World Finals in Cognac.

Dario was then invited to Singapore to open one of the first craft cocktail programs in 2012, as Beverage Director and Mixologist.  In 2014, Dario joined FOC on Hong Kong Street as Mixologist and General Manager. Today, as the Master Bartender of The Other Room, he continues to contribute creatively throughout the group, crafting award winning concoctions of very different styles and profiles.

Fringe Food Festival

Ben Ng

Having been in the industry for slightly more than a decade, Ben’s journey into the world of drinks started when he took up a bartending job in an Irish pub in Penang. Two weeks into this job, he decided that he’ll like to take up bartending professionally and make it into a career. This career of his has since brought him to cities such as Hong Kong, London, Singapore, Moscow, Amsterdam, Jakarta, Beijing, Manila and Bangkok, where the experiences he gained have enriched his bartending skills and the diversity of cultures have influenced the flavours in his cocktails.

In mid 2014, he ventured into running his own bar named Mish Mash with his business partner Simon. It’s a modern bistro situated in the heart of George Town, Penang. Mish Mash’s warm and relaxing interior is matched with a list of delicious cocktails, whiskies and a collaboration of Asian-European inspired food.

Callan C. Green

Callan C. Green is an award winning bartender (most recently ‘Asia’s Ultimate Bartender Champion’) who has worked in Australia, The UK, Europe and Asia. He’s also represented a multitude of brands as an ambassador or consultant.

Originally hailing from Melbourne, Australia, he cut his teeth at acclaimed venues ‘Lily Blacks’ and ‘Eau De Vie Melbourne’, later moving to London to apply his trade working at top bars ‘Quo Vadis’ and ‘Experimental Cocktail Club’ meanwhile working as the European brand ambassador for The West Winds Gin.

Upon returning to Australia, he spearheaded the award winning bar ‘New Gold Mountain’ whilst working with various brands as a consultant across Asia.

In 2015, together with his partners, he started ‘Wholly Spirits’, a boutique distribution outfit based in Kuala Lumpur. This year, teaming up with his former colleague and friend James Estes, Callan is launching a new modern cocktail bar called ‘Jack Rose’ in the Damansara Heights area of Kuala Lumpur.

James Estes

James Estes began working in the London bar scene under the tutelage of industry legends Zdenek Kastanek, Dre Masso and Esther Medina Cuesta.  James spent 4 years managing bars in Dubai, where he was placed as a top finalist and crowd favourite in both Bacardi Legacy (2014) and World Class (2015) cocktail competitions. He worked as the Belvedere Brand Ambassador for the UAE following his victory in the Best of Belvedere Cocktail Competition (2014) with his signature cocktail, the Onyx Martini.  Another signature cocktail of his, Mother Superior, reached global recognition after being listed as one of the “25 Cocktails to Drink Before You Die” by the Huffington Post.  James is now based in Kuala Lumpur and works as the South East Asia ambassador for Ocho Tequila, a freelance bar consultant and will be opening “Jack Rose”, a cocktail bar based in Kuala Lumpur opening in May 2017.