If you could send a letter back through time to your younger self, what would the letter say? This International Women’s Day 2022, we will be featuring remarkable women of our craft, writing letters to the women they once were, filled with advice and inspiration. Their letters provide unique glimpses into the personal lives of incredible women in the F&B industry as well as great wisdom that we will all cherish.
Yinying Leow first started out in the industry as a Junior Bartender in 2012 and quickly made her way to Singapore working with Jigger & Pony in 2017. With her quiet confidence and thoughtful approach to convivial hospitality, she is currently the Principal Bartender of Live Twice in Singapore.
Here she wrote to her younger self when she first started out in Omakase + Appreciate (now closed) in Kuala Lumpur:
You have been in the bartending industry for nine years now! And you will come to enjoy curating memorable experiences for your guests through drinks and hospitality. I promise.
Bartending (or the industry) has taught you a lot of patience, and there is always something new to learn every day.
Very soon, you will come to a time in your career when you will decide to work abroad. You are always seeking to grow your career and personal experience and feel that you need something more. Boldly follow that passion of yours. Your bosses at Omakase+Appreciation at that time, Shawn Chong and Karl Too, will be very supportive, and you will continue to flourish in Singapore.
In 2019, you will be embarking on an incredible milestone, and that would be opening Live Twice in Singapore! As part of the opening team, you got the first-hand opportunity to participate in designing the bar, menus, spirits list and many others. The journey had quite a rocky start, though, as there weren’t a lot of SOPs in place, and you were still figuring out how to be a manager then. Thankfully, you had a very supportive team and patient leaders that helped to guide you through. You will always be very grateful for that – it would not have happened without them
The biggest challenge for you would be 2020. The world will be ravaged by a deadly virus called Covid-19. At one point in time, almost every country would have lockdowns. Singapore had its first circuit breaker lockdown, and your team had to pivot to takeaways/deliveries amid the pandemic. We went from being servers and bartenders to doing something completely different. We had to answer a high volume of enquiries, our bartenders turned into a production team, and we also did a lot of packing and data entry. It was challenging for us as we had to pick up new skills and adapt very quickly. Above it all, you survived the pandemic!
Always remember to be very patient in every step you take. Seek every shift as a lesson to learn something new — be it learning from a colleague, senior or chatting up with a guest. You got this!
Love and cheering you on always,
Yinying of 9 years later
We raise a glass to great talents, a tribute to their achievements this International Women’s Day. Yinying is also part of Malaysian Bartenders Abroad (MBA) series that features promising Malaysian bartenders of our time. The women that grace this MBA Series are an exciting mix of stellar profiles of the craft. As it turns out, the woman bartender is a persevering breed, and her successes are prolific. If you live in Malaysia, why not buy a drink for the women in your life?