Ten years ago, Shelley worked as a part-time bartender because she didn't like the thought of working in a regular office. So she continued and bartending became her profession. She has since worked in some of Hong Kong’s bars and restaurants including Drop and FINDS, and now shakes it up at Antonio Lai’s Quinary. In 2019, Shelley won the prestigious 2019 Diageo Reserve World Class bartending competition and represented Hong Kong and Macao in the global round held in Glasgow, Scotland.
"What I love being a bartender is that every day is fresh and always a surprise!" she states. "I’m able to create my own craft, meet new people, and hear different stories." Her career has allowed her to travel, visit most of Asia, and her recent win in World Class sent her to Scotland. She says that the world of bartending has significantly changed, "Back then, I used to get comments like 'smile more', and everyone expects you to be fun and bubbly because I am female. Now there is more gender equality, and people are drinking better, and we female bartenders gain genuine respect for our crafts," she adds.
She cites industry leader and Altos Bartender’s Bartender of The Year 2019, Monica Berg, as someone she looks up to for inspiration. "She was one of the judges at the World Class 2019 global finals, and she gave me lots of useful advice." For crafting behind the bar, she takes influences from master mixologist Dave Arnold, the author of the book Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail. "It was one of the first few books I read as a bartender. Instead of being a conventional collection of recipes, the book is all about scientific approaches to cocktail-making."
Find her behind the stick at Quinary, chat with her over glasses of old fashioned, whisky highball, or ask for her signature Yuk Bing Siu.