cocktail star with Jamie Oliver

It’s been a long journey for Dheeradon Dissara. As a lifelong Jamie fan, he’s been cooking and making cocktails for years, and has been a Food Tube subscriber since the very beginning.

He missed out on their competition, Search for a Food Tube star, but was determined not to miss his latest chance: the search for a cocktail star. Winning was the end of the journey he calls “living the Jamie fan dream” – once he won we flew him all the way from Bangkok to claim his prize.

He’s certainly not complaining. He landed in the morning, spent all day sightseeing, then came to meet us at Jamie’s office in London.

cocktail star

To us, it’s 5pm, and the end of a long working day, but to him it’s midnight, and he’s still visibly buzzing from all the excitement.

“When I found out I won I took out all my friends who helped me to eat and drink. I didn’t make them any cocktails because they had drunk so many when they were shooting.”

He may not have made any for them then, but it seems Dheeradon’s friends have been sampling his homemade concoctions for years. He gets his inspiration from YouTube videos like those on Drinks Tube, and from classic recipes to which he gives his own twist.

It was never his recipes he doubted when he entered Search for a cocktail star, but the videos themselves. Dheeradon feels his videos were by far the least-produced of the ones he saw, and is acutely aware of his lack of experience on camera.

“Actually I filmed another video for the final at my friend’s house,” he explains. “But when I edited it, it was kind of crappy. I was nervous I think; I messed up the recipe and the shots weren’t complete. I just made up my mind and told my colleagues ‘You need to help me!’. So we set up the whole office.”

Luckily, his recipe and humour shone through. There’s no denying that his “Lip licker”, a twist on the Espresso martini, shows off some talent. Using his own home-brewed cold coffee and infusing cream with cinnamon and brown sugar, it’s a simple cocktail with lots of delicious add-ons. And he intends to improve upon all his ideas and skills.

“After winning I went to do part-time bartending at a bar in Bangkok to learn more about the skill and the knowledge. I work three nights a week at a place called perfume and, like the name, their cocktails are all very aromatic.”

He hopes to take making cocktails even further now. His fanboy dreams may have been fulfilled when he shot a video with Jamie in the Drinks Tube studio, but his journey is only really beginning.