This is Shuntaro Ahsan, from Halifax.
Shuntaro is 28 years old and is from Japan. He left Japan for the first time when he was 19 years old. At that time, he realized that he had been stuck in Japan his whole life and felt the urge experience something different. He flew to Bangladesh and then moved to Halifax. The reason why he chose Canada was to study English. When he arrived here, he was amazed at how different Halifax was from Tokyo and he loved it. He has been living there for 8 years now. Shortly after he learned English, he went to university to study management. He is now only a few classes away from obtaining his degree.
Shuntaro started in the hospitality industry when he moved to Halifax. He was selling tickets to hundreds of people for big parties, and at some point, he realized that it was actually really hard work and that he wanted to get involved at another level. He could not apply for a serving position because of his English that wasn’t good enough yet, so he started as a dishwasher. Then one day, someone noticed how fast he was working at the dish pit and told him he had to work in the kitchen, so he did. Then one other day, the wife of the owner saw him working in the kitchen and told him he was too handsome to be hiding in the back, so he started as a server. Two years later, he found himself a job at The Exchange on Hollis, one of the most luxurious bars in the city, and that’s where he started bartending. He was working with Marika Bouchard, who took him under her wing and taught him all of his foundations as a bartender.
Shortly after he started to bartend, he was offered to take part in a cocktail competition. If he was definitely too green to win, he surely loved the experience and decided to try again the year after. This led him to create a 30 ingredients Caesar and win the second place in Canada with it. Shuntaro loves to incorporate his kitchen experience into his work. He loves being a bar chef and is skilled with knives, intricate garnishes and creating eye-catching drinks.
When we met with him, he showed up looking damper and made us a very beautiful and well-presented cocktail. He was prepared, greeted us with care and made sure we had everything we needed. He even had a little surprise gift that he had created for us. We must admit that we were charmed. Shuntaro has the attitude of someone that is confident, but that also keeps an open mind to make sure he can learn everything he can from the people that crosses his path. He just launched his fist company, a graphic design business, and sure has a lot of other ambitions, like opening his own distillery and bar. Whatever path he chooses for himself, we are confident that he has the potential to achieve his goals and are looking forward to actually sit at his bar one day.
For his cocktail creation, click here.
A little bit more about Shuntaro...
The three words that describe him best: optimistic – enthusiastic – determined
Life Motto: Be playful and embrace the chase.
Biggest strength as a bartender: His speed.
His favourite meal: Seafood pesto pappardelle. Scallop, shrimp, salmon & halibut cooked in a cream sauce with pesto and then mixed with pappardelle. Parmesan, black pepper and cayenne pepper on top.
The biggest lesson his job taught him: “When I started I was a little cocky, and then I realized that being cocky does not lead you anywhere. You have to be good at something, you have to have knowledge to support you being cocky. You cannot just be a skilled worker, you have to be you. My “me” was weak when I first came into the industry, so I spent my time trying to feed “me” with techniques, lessons and knowledge. And I think that’s the biggest lesson that I learned, that I cannot just be the weak “me”. I have to be the better “me” to survive in this industry.”