“Margaritas are a classic cocktail,” says Hang Quang of KOTO’s class 35. “That everyone can enjoy, but I really like it because it has a story behind it.”
Hang is holding a bottle of Jose Cuervo in her right hand and a jigger in her left and is standing on a blue crate that once held Pepsi bottles but now raises Hang up above the bar.
“It’s about a man who invented the margarita for his lover,” she says although when pressed for more details she scratches her head.
“Isn’t that enough?”
The story Hang can’t remember is about a man named Danny Herra who, in Mexico, invented the cocktail to woo a showgirl named Marjorie King all the way back in the 1940s. It’s a long way from KOTO’s Tay Ho restaurant, both in geography and time, but a story that KOTO trainees are still told - knowing the giants on whose shoulders they stand is a big part of one day becoming giants themselves.
Hang tips the tequila into a shaker. She adds Triple Sec, lime juice, sugar syrup, and ice and then she caps it. Raising it high above her shoulder, Hang starts to shake.
Her face is taut. She is deep in concentration determined to make sure that she makes the perfect margarita... and she will. After one last assessment in April, Hang will graduate and join the workforce with a Certificate III in hospitality from Australia’s Box Hill TAFE.