Kate Osmillo, a Remy Cointreau Ambassador | All Mixed Up MNL

All Mixed Up MNL: Kate Osmillo, a Remy Cointreau Brand Ambassador

Hi Kate, can you introduce yourself to those who don't know you yet?

My full name is Kathrin May Osmillo. I'm currently the brand ambassador of Remy Cointreau Philippines.  

Tell us a bit of your history in bartending.

Actually, the decision to go bartending was not my first choice. I worked as a chef for a year. Then, I found out that I can't keep working in hot environments because I kept passing out. We were so busy in the kitchen that I’d get dizzy out of nowhere. My doctor advised me that I'm not fit to work in a hot environment.

I rested for three months, and then I started working as a barista for three years in a Vietnamese coffee shop in Lucena City. The Manila team noticed my performance and sent me to the capital to open another branch of the café, Highlands Coffee. I was 21 and the company decided to open 10 branches immediately. Then, I got hospitalized. Maybe it was fatigue, but then I discovered I had Lupus. 

I rested for nine months, and once I was well enough, I applied as a bartender for Hooch but they hired me as a server because there was no opening for a bartender [at] the time. But I really wanted to try being a bartender. After three months, I got promoted to team captain, but they also offered me the supervisor post.

Kate Osmillo Manila
Photo from Instagram/Kate Osmillo

[I] told them that it was not the job I wanted to do because I wanted to be a bartender, so they gave me the position. That's where my bartending career started. I was a prep girl for a year, juicing, restocking the beer […] The set-up, garnishes, syrups. This way, I learned how to prep…they taught me the fundamentals, the stuff that you need to excel somehow in the industry.

I applied to this posh bar in Arya Residences in BGC. The bartending staff was all female, and the head bartender was Lithuanian. But the place was new and most people who go there usually only eat. I said to myself I needed something else because I was so hungry for knowledge at the time, so I resigned. I applied to the City of Dreams. But, in hotel bars, money is often a motivation for bartenders and your creativity is limited. They have standards, and you can only use ingredients that they allow. So, even as I got hired, on my way home, I thought this was not where I should be.

At the time, the bartenders I was talking to told me that OTO is hiring. I passed my resume to David Ong, who decided to interview me and had me do a drink test. I had to make four cocktails, and I was able to pull it off. He then said, "Can you start tomorrow?"

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