Meet Anna Kulak, representing Norway!
1- Tell us about yourselves and where you work
My name is Anna and I’m a 26-years old Polish bartender. I have lived in Oslo for over one year and a half. I currently work at Bettola in Oslo, which is an Italian-style cocktail bar with Norwegian vintage interior from the 60's.
2- Who do you look up to in the drink industry?
Definitely my current and past teams at Bettola. I spend most of my time with them; they are very inspirational and supporting. Day by day they push me to be better and work even harder. I also look up to all women behind the bar all over the world for their strength and passion in this still male dominated industry.
3- What are you doing when you are not behind the bar?
I love to cook! I share most of my free time between my friends and kitchen where I explore new cuisines and flavors, which I can use later behind the bar. When I have some days off, I’m up to travelling and finding out new inspirations.
4- Tell us briefly about the idea behind your Linie cocktail
The idea for my Linie cocktail has roots in one of my travels when I met lots of wonderful Australians who told me a lot about their culture. When I found out that Australia is one of the destinations to pick in this competition I chose it without hesitation. I decided to combine it with my interest in food and create a cocktail which can be easily recreated in every bar or kitchen.
5- When was your first meeting with Linie aquavit? Tell us about it.
It was when I moved to Norway. I tasted Linie for the first time in the bar where I used to work in. I didn’t have much experience with aquavits before but it became my favorite quite quickly. Now I use aquavit in my cocktails so often that my industry colleagues started to call me Aniavit :)
6- What do you like about mixing cocktails with Linie aquavit?
I like this delicate smoothness of Linie. It goes very well in both stiff and light refreshing drinks, and mixes perfectly with many ingredients, which I often use in my cocktails.
7- Why did you join Linie – The Journey competition?
It was mainly because of Bettola’s ex-bar manager James Greig, thanks to whom I had an opportunity to stay in Norway. I got to know about the competition from Niclaes Norstad from Arcus. Both of them have pushed me to do something outside my comfort zone as I never felt like a competition bartender. But after all I'm super grateful to them because it turned out to be an amazing experience!
8- What is your next project after the competition?
I still feel that I have something to do at Bettola as I love this place but I’m also open to new adventures. I’m slowly growing up to changes but we will see what life brings.
9- Without giving anything away, what is going to impress to judges during the final?
I’m a perfectionist so I like to make sure my presentation is flawless and all details well thought out. But I’m not gonna tell anything more so let’s keep it as a secret.
Thanks for answering our questions, and good luck !