Himanshu Desai is born and brought up in Pune and belongs to a conservative Gujarati clan.
Currently, he is the talk of the world as he is the only Indian to represent & win the second prize at the Remy Martin Bartending Academy.
But do we know what all he went through & sacrificed to be who he is right now?
His story of being a bartender is quite twisted, complex yet an interesting one. There is a definite Bollywood plot, drama, emotions and series of serious events but the only thing missing is a woman but I guess in this his case, the love of his life has been his profession and shall always be!
Let’s begin with his story. Do no miss out on Himanshu’s transformation even in the pictures.
Right from his childhood, he knew he couldn’t study, he was terrible at academics. “I had convinced my mind that I was a useless child any parent could ever had.”
At the age of 18, he realised he wanted to become a bartender and ended up becoming one at the age of 24. For 6 long years, he was confused, alone and pestered by the thoughts of achieving his goal. Those 6 years were the toughest phase of his life.
His family, especially his father was totally against his choice of choosing bartending as a career option. He kept trying to convince him but all in vain. He even took an admission in B.COM to proceed with his studies. But despite how hard he tried, he struggled between terrible grades & the desire to be a bartender.
During the last year of graduation, just 2 months before to his final exams, he quit his graduation in what he calls “anger & ego towards my father”. He did not complete BCOM because his father didn’t let him pursue bartending. Entangled in his failed dream and no support from family, he joined a WNS BPO. But still kept cribbing about his dream to become a bartender.
He needed an intervention and thats when his best friend, Darshan came into the picture. On one random night, Darshan confronted Himanshu & straight up asked him how much money he requires to pursue a Bartending Diploma. He took out his cheque book and asked Himanshu to fill an amount. He offered Himanshu an opportunity to live his dream and he grabbed it.
This was the first turning point in his life.
In 2011, despite his parents disapproval, he left to pursue a bartending course from Bar Trendz Goa. He had a lot of young, dumb and broke moments – Low on cash, living alone and working so hard to learn bartending, especially flaring. He did odd jobs to earn his survival, bartending in Sunburn music festival, a part time bartender at “Britos Goa” which amounted to just Rs 150 a day for 10-12 hours of working. After he finished his course, he soon returned to Pune in search of better opportunities. Due to a weak CV & no graduation, it was a difficult task for him to find a decent job. It was due to some friends & particularly, Ameya Sharma who was an Ex Marriott Pune employee who got him connected to the Beverage Manage of the hotel, Sushant Rege who gave me him much awaited break in his life. Though he has never confessed it to him, but he credits Sushant Rege to be his role model till date.
This was the second turning point in his life.
Though it was quite a challenging journey in JW Marriott but he did it with all the zeal and heart to achieve his supreme goal. He worked as a bar back in MiaMi in order to understand the club operation and get the recipes correct before being behind the bar. Within 2 months, he got behind the bar & never looked back again.
In 2013, he finally got an opportunity to work overseas, in Dubai at Fairmont the Palm. Dubai introduced him to the international market and gave him an opportunity to meet some of the world’s top beverage professionals through masterclasses and other beverage events. Exploring and learning more about the world of bartending, Himanshu stayed in Dubai for 4 years. After Fairmont the Palm, he joined Junoon Dubai (Indian Michelin starred restaurant from NYC). He was also a part of the Speakeasy bar called Rogue Trader where he met an amazingly talented bar manager “Peter Good”. He mentions Peter to be the most amazing human he has ever worked with.
After achieving so much in such less time, he finally came back to India in 2017, to conquer India’s bartending world. Soon, he was appointed as the Western Region Beverage Manager for Massive Restaurants Pvt Ltd.
Recently, he has won worldwide acclamation & appreciation as he is the first Indian participant & a second prize winner at Remy Martin Bartending Talent Academy. Currently, he is on a break from work and just enjoying this peaceful time in his life after a roller coaster journey. He is proud to have finally achieved his goal of being a renowned bartender not just in India but across the globe.
Himanshu’s mantra for fellow bartenders & everyone!
“It’s never too late to re write your life’s story. Never stop believing in yourself no matter what. Be selfish in a good way, start taking care of yourself. If you cannot keep yourself happy, you cannot keep anybody else in this world happy.”