They say that drinking alcohol makes other people seem more interesting, but Jon needs none of that. It’s easy to be drawn into a conversation with him, as this founder of Penrose KL exudes a certain charisma that puts others at ease.
Besides being well-travelled and well-versed in his craft, Jon is also someone who’s been there and done that, having opened a cafe when he was just 22. He would burn out from this venture, but this obstacle would soon prove to be a silver lining, as that led him to the world of mixology, which in turn led him to where he is today.
What has your time in F&B taught you?
I believe that it’s not just about having passion or working hard, it’s also about who you want to help along the way. Helping others can make your life more meaningful and fulfilling.
In the F&B industry, providing good service is an act of service to others, and it’s about making people feel good and ensuring they have a positive experience. For me, this is the most important thing that I have learned. F&B is not just about the drinks or the food, it’s about how you can be a positive influence in someone else’s life.
How do you stay updated in your field of bartending?
One strategy is to focus on a specific niche that you’re interested in and follow the craftsmen who share the same values and style as you. By doing this, you can learn from their techniques and methods, and use them to shape your own style. It’s okay if there are other styles or techniques that don’t align with your vision, simply filter those out and stay true to your niche.
Like for me, I prefer intimate settings and building relationships rather than doing flair bartending. Ultimately, the goal is to create a unique experience that reflects your personality and values.
Bartending has brought you to many interesting places. What are some of the highlights?
If I had to choose, I would say Hong Kong holds a special place in my heart. It was where I had my first international guest shift with BACARDÍ Legacy, and everything felt new and exciting. Even though I was nervous about making drinks for people in a different country after only three months of bartending, I had a lot of fun.
Jon wears a blazer and trousers by Dior Men