Evan Stroeve of the world's first no-waste bar, Re- in South Eveleigh, has claimed one of the top spots in the world’s biggest and most respected bartending competition, the World Class Bartender of the Year for 2021. The competition launched its finals on Sunday at the first ever virtual global final, where Evan and 49 of the best bartenders from across the globe competed throughout a series of challenges showcasing their extraordinary skill. Time Out took some time to talk to Stroeve about his accomplishments, sustainability, and where he sees the world of bartending going.
You’ve achieved something amazing by scoring in the top 10, regardless of the outcome. So, where do we go from here?
Placing third at World Class was an incredible ride. I’m looking forward to continuing that momentum. I’ve got heaps of ideas! We’re looking forward to taking our venue, Re-, to the next level. We’ve always had a goal to become zero-waste. I think that’s entirely possible by the end of the year.
Once the lockdown is lifted, we’re all brimming with ideas. One initiative is called “Never Wasted”, which will see a collection of Sydney venues come together to add value to standardly considered waste products, and hopefully set a template for how venues can address waste management and upcycling in the future. I’m also looking to evolve the Martini Syndicate. I was fortunate to win the Ketel One Challenge at World Class, which will hopefully see a global level of support shown to this initiative. In its current form, the Martini Syndicate is a simple mechanism which allows bars and restaurants to make small individual contributions to climate change, which have a large collective impact. I have plans to turn its focus more towards engendering a level playing field in the Indigenous produce market.
What do you love about the Sydney bar scene?
We instinctively turn to New York, London, etcetera, as the meccas of hospitality. But there’s a strong case to be made for that status also existing here. Sydney’s hospitality scene is diverse, loving, and communal. We’re all connected, and we all push each other to be better. We’re home to some of the oldest, most diverse, beautiful produce in the world, and that is showcased in the calibre of cocktail culture we have. I’ve always said, “If you’re drinking a bad drink in Sydney, go somewhere else”. There are just so many good bars to choose from.
Sustainability is obviously something you have quite a bit of experience with. What are some initiatives you would like to see in the mainstream going forward?
As above, Re- will be launching an initiative called Never Wasted, in an effort to create a community of venues all upcycling one another’s waste produce. This will essentially act as a closed loop initiative. We’re seeing a hospitality composting scheme currently grow, called Compost Connect. More and more people are jumping on board.
The Martini Syndicate will continue to operate in a way that is inclusive, conscientious and real. Its impact went global inside a month. Imagine what we can do with more time! There’s an amazing initiative called RePlated, founded by my friend Naomi Tarszisz. She’s looking to shake up the single-use plastics market. Her takeaway boxes are incredible. She builds flexible systems that aim to make single-use history.
What’s your favourite eco-tip that anyone can do at home?
Recycle, compost, and purchase sustainably (buying only what you need, items that come in sustainable packaging, use a keep-cup).