Traveling bartender Trinh Quan Huy-Philip has traveled all around the world during his 20 years in the industry; hailing from Saigon, Vietnam, he currently calls San Antonio, Texas home.
We caught up with the multi-award winning bartender to learn more about his career and see what he’s looking forward to.
Huy-Philip spent the first ten years of his hospitality career traveling around bars in Vietnam and then around Asia. In 2011 he won Vietnam’s biggest bartending competition at the time, Vietnam Mixxit Master. Shortly after he traveled to Amsterdam and spent seven years working his way across Europe through The Netherlands, France, Belgium, and Germany before heading to the United States in 2018. After settling in the US he has worked at the St Anthony Hotel as Lead Bartender, the Jet-Setter, Fairmount Hotel, and Bovinos as Bar Manager. He currently works at the Westin Riverwalk.
After working in so many different places and countries, Huy-Philip shares that the experience has given him a broad view of the bartending category. Being adaptable no matter the place or culture has allowed him to become a true global citizen and bring his own roots and background to all the drinks he makes.
Tell us a little about the start of your career – you began bartending early, what drew you to the career?
I started out as server at Chu Bar in Saigon-Vietnam, and it was there the mixology bug first bit. Captivated by the creativity and customer interaction involved in the role, I moved to the local hotel, Sedona Suites, at the age of 20 and enrolled in a bartending school. After qualifying, I stirred and shook my way through a number of the country’s notable cocktail bars, including luxury hotel Park Hyatt Saigon, where I gained the confidence to begin entering competitions across the globe. And wherever I go, I always show my appreciation to those who are my mentors like Mr. Philip T.S. Low, Mr. Le Minh Nghia and Mr. Vuong Gia Thien to shadow my career.
What are some of your favorite ingredients to work with right now and why?
I have a very strong background with speakeasies from the time I lived in Amsterdam, so I would love to have a selection of vermouth, sherry, & port with different types of amaro. At the same time, my roots are from Asia so I do love sweet drinks as well. A few ingredients whose notes my drinks swing around are passionfruit, pineapple, fresh ginger, and tea or kombucha.
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go and what would be the first food and drink you’d order upon arrival?
I want to travel back to my country in Vietnam, go straight to district 3 where most restaurants and bars are found. Sit down on a patio, and call for a quick beer with a grilled dried squid and some peanuts in shells while waiting for all my friends. And that’s all about me!
In the meantime, this year is the anniversary of 10 years since I left my country of Vietnam and travelled to Europe and then the United Stated just for bartending (Vietnam Travelling Mixologist 2011-2021). And it’s also exactly 20 years of my career in Hospitality since I started out as a waiter in 2001 and build up himself in the field. The future looks very bright on him and his plan to visit Sydney and South Africa. And that’s the journey of a travelling mixologist from Vietnam!