Over the past six years, Tran Van Minh, a former food & beverage student in batch 5th at REACH Haiduong has “satisfied creativity with the Bartender”.
How Minh becomes a bartender
Minh’s childhood was experiences of the extreme heat of the sun and strong winds. It was also punctuated with obsessive tropical storms bouncing off the ocean, swallowing wobbly tiny houses nestled by the coast.
Minh was born in a coastal village in Thanh Hoa province.
Generations of fishing people live in his village and fishing remains one of the few sources of income. Minh couldn’t explain why they were so attached to fishing with it being a very tough and unstable occupation. He could never forget the anxious eyes of adults and the empty stomachs of children in his village during the stormy season when they could not put their boats out to sea.
Children in the village grow up like wild plants. Few ever complete a basic level of education. It is very hard to attract them to schooling because they expected to become fishermen like their fathers, or housewives like their mothers. Minh’s younger brother was keen to follow this pathway. After a few trips out into the ocean, he became a fisherman like his father and his grandfather before him.
However, that was not the case for Minh. He soon realized that he needed to follow a different pathway.
“I wanted to break the life cycle of instability and poverty,” explains Minh. “It was a life with days of hunger, months of my dad being offshore, endless long nights of my mom staying awake, and being nervous about coming storms.”
After completing high school, Minh left his village for Hanoi to find an opportunity. In this big city, Minh engaged in a number of different jobs before finding himself bartending at a small coffee shop.
However, the small shop only served simple drinks and offered no real career pathway. This didn’t satisfy the big ambitions of a young man who was always looking for new challenges.
“I realized that without official training, I will get nowhere in this area,” says Minh. “I loved that coffee shop, but I need professional development for my future.”
From a server in the small coffee shop to become the head of the bar in a five-star hotel in Danang
The need to be better trained urged Minh to find an opportunity in REACH’s food & beverage program.
“At REACH, I learned important skills in customer service, handling various difficult situations, as well as preparing complex drinks like cocktails”, recounts Minh. “These were all skills that I really needed.”
Minh first secured employment on a cruise ship in Halong Bay. He was promoted from a bartender to the head of the bar within a year. This role allowed him to work on his passion, consistently creating new, complicated drinks on his own.
After three years, Mr. Minh stopped working on a cruise ship to get a huge promotion. He becomes the captain of a five-star bar, at an international hotel in Danang. He receives an income that he only ever dreamed about.
Minh’s journey, however, does not stop there; he is now learning to become a hotel manager.
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