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Stirring up a storm: Vinh Le, KOTO’s Negroni Master

One of our favourite southerner trainees, Vinh Le, has mastered the art of the Negroni and he says it’s all in the twist.

“Having the right ingredients--a nice tart gin, a smooth vermouth, and of course, some tasty Campari is important--but it’s the way you twist that orange peel that really gives it that little something extra.”

Unfortunately time is running out to test Vinh’s skill at KOTO Villa. Due to graduate in June of this year, Vinh is determined to head out into the world to refine his skills even further and one day maybe even go into business for himself.

“I’d like to own my own restaurant or maybe even a bar,” he says.

Arriving at KOTO’s Hanoi training center in 2018 Vinh has come a long way.

“I’ve had to learn so many new things,” he says. “I really had to step out of my comfort zone. Learning English so that I can communicate with customers and colleagues was really hard. I had a few lessons when I was younger but I didn’t get very far--I’ve improved a lot since I first got here.”.

Vinh is a member of Class 34 at KOTO who’ve had to deal with a lot of upheaval in the past twelve months. When COVID-19 struck, the decision was made to close KOTO’s flagship store on Van Mieu and relocate to Tay Ho.

That said, the great quality cocktails that were available at KOTO’s Van Mieu restaurant are just as good when served in Tay Ho. Our bar staff are also just as good because of our awesome business partners. The Campari Group, for example, has continued to support us both during and after the move.

“It hasn’t been easy,” says KOTO CEO and founder, Jimmy Pham. “But despite this period of uncertainty we’ve still managed to produce an amazing crop of trainees, with the amazing support of our business partners, and Vinh is testament to that.”

For Vinh, however, it’s not just about learning a new skill, but it’s also about finding fulfillment.

“The best thing about working behind a bar is that I’m really happy when I make a drink for a customer and it comes back empty,” he says. “It’s like a thank you. I really appreciate it.”

Indulging in a tasty KOTO cocktail isn’t the only way to help young people like Vinh learn the skills they need to go further than they ever thought possible. A donation equivalent to the cost of a drink at a Sydney cocktail bar can go a long way in Vietnam. It’s your shout, donate now:


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