William Pravda – “The Bartender’s Travelling Book” Ambassador
William was born in 1982 in small town in South Moravie of Czech Republic. Since a young age he had a connection with hospitality, often as a guest with his parents and since an early age hospitality came to be part of his personality. Multilingual skills, especially English, also came to William in his early age. Around the year 2011 his beloved home country of Czech became to be a bit too small for him and he decided to move to Great Britain. After a number of years there it was time for him to move again, this time to dive into the amazing bar scene in Singapore.
William quickly became to be important opening team asset for Gordon Ramsay, with his unique approach to bartending as well as overall hospitality the bar in restaurant at Marina Bay Sands became to be one of Ramsay’s signatures. In 2018 he received an offer to join an exciting project in Bangkok with Capella Hotel group and once again William was on the road. Over 2 years of planning and developing the concept of Stella, finally bringing the bar to life. Now as an upcoming icon of the Bangkok bar scene it is catching interest and see what plans he has for iconic Bartenders Travelling Book.
What is your new role and objective with “The Bartender’s Travelling Book”, and what do you like about this idea?
First of all, I would like to share how surprised and honoured I am feeling about this opportunity. The Bartender’s Travelling Book is an initiative that I have been following since its initial days and the idea to bring together the icons of today’s Bartending Industry under the one cover, sharing their ideas or secrets is outstanding. My role is becoming more of a guardian of this project, to ensure the overall awareness of the book is shared with professionals as well as passionate consumers in the public.
You know all the icons who have made a mark in this book so far, how do you feel about reconnecting with them directly?
All participants of this project have my deepest respect, and I admire every one of them. To reconnect and share ideas, as well as plan on how to continue The Bartender’s Travelling Book project is one of my first tasks. As you know, this book is passed from one bar icon to another, and that is the fundamental premise that I wish to follow and respect. No brands should ever be connected to this initiative, and the last bartender holding the book is the one deciding who gets it next, but of course we have to keep evolving and will have structured plans for the future of this project.
There is a plan to redesign social media as well as web pages, what changes are coming our way?
We live in digital age and for sure we would like to increase information shared with professionals as well as our beloved public. Firstly, we start with the structure and content. Profiles of iconic bartenders who participated with their notes in this book will be the first step. Live interviews and updates about bartending topics as well as an educational part for all young barkeeps around the world to be able to gain the share knowledge for free.
The main idea about this book is quite conservative. How would you like to approach the changes on social medias and still follow the core rules?
I would call it “evolve with respect”. We must respect these great traditions. Even during modern electronic days, to have a physical book in hand is one of the most precious feelings. The principle of the last person holding the book to decide who gets it next still stays strong, and the new Social media approach is not connected with content of the book at all.
My main message is to hold on and stay true to what you love, once our mind is set right we will see that nothing is impossible ..
Content is kept as a secret only for the eyes of those who get the book physically into their hands. Social media is here now to share the message, to be able to let the world know this amazing project exists; and of course, to connect it with education about our industry and topics that impact every each of us. From interviews with industry icons, through to knowledge topics, to general discussions about the industry we love and live through our whole life. There is a lot of interesting topics to look forward to, just stay tuned.
The book made it around the world already, from Europe through America into Asia and back again. What do you think about this?
I honestly believe that this book has more intellectual power than we can imagine. Everyone who got a chance to touch this book and contribute with some words into it gave it a bit of their soul and wisdom. Bartenders are passing this book one to another and our industry doesn’t have borders, it doesn’t differentiate continents or origins: We are all bartenders of the world and I am sure that this book will go around the globe many more times thanks to our incredible global community.
Your task is to improve flow and communications about this book between participants. We know at time of writing the book is with Giancarlo Mancino these days, can you share some upcoming steps?
Giancarlo contributed to the industry so much through his life that I can’t be happier the book is in his safe hands. Needless to say, whoever has the book is becoming in some sense the ambassador for it, and I know Giancarlo has in mind to help this project to step more into the spotlight, but still keeping its own soul and secrecy. At the moment I would just say once again “Stay Tuned”!
Through your professional journey you had a chance to see bar scene in many countries and continents. How do they differentiate in your opinion?
The bar industry, bartenders and ambassadors of hospitality around the world have one thing in common: They love what they do. To be a bartender is not just a job, it is really the way we live our live. It might start as a fun in young age, but then it turns to passion, knowledge seeking, sharing this passion, and most importantly we all love to share great hospitality to all our guests.
Guests for us are absolutely everyone, friends at home or strangers who just entered your venue at the busiest moment. The world is much smaller for bartenders than you can think. As I said before, our scene is not separated by continents remember, every bartender has individuality however and some of them are more towards modern and innovative directions in our business and some of them follow more traditional techniques.
We are not in the best era due to the recent pandemic situation, what is your personal message to all the hospitality industry, especially bars and restaurants?
I know it is not easy for anyone these days. Some of us might reconsider our future, some of us might find more strength that we never knew we had. In every situation I always try to find the positive side. Through all struggles with material and financial loss we have learned something all around the world: We had been forced to stop. To have time for ourselves. To reconsider even our own being and to find the true meaning of what we do.
Some of the most iconic Bars or Restaurants saw their last day and we should always keep them in the best memory, however it is inevitable that new ones will come. Maybe a bit different than we were used to, but after every challenging time there is always a good one to come, and I believe our industry soon will come back much stronger and transformed to something even more spectacular. That is evolution.
My main message is to hold on and stay true to what you love, once our mind is set right we will see that nothing is impossible – sometimes it is just about having the right point of view.