Internationally acclaimed bartender and barista David Ong is best known as one of the eminent faces behind Oto and The Curator, two of the country’s most decorated bars—and with legions of concepts unfolding under his wing, he emboldens the industry to flourish alongside them.
How would you describe your title/profession?
How did you first get into F&B industry?
My first foray into Food and Beverage was when I worked as a barista in 2007 at My Cup, a quaint coffee shop in Vancouver, British Columbia.
What was the beverage that made you fall in love with drinks?
My first proper cocktail bar experience was in 2010 when I remotely celebrated my university graduation at a place called El Coctel in Shanghai, China. Come to think of it, they were just classics done well. I gravitated towards refreshing drinks like Moscow mule and mojito. Harada Munenori was at the helm of the programme and it was awesome.
How would you describe your philosophy as a bartender and barista?
It’s nice to geek out on coffee and cocktails, but hospitality is always paramount! Treat a normal person like a king or queen, and a king or queen like a normal person.
What do you consider to be your first big project in the F&B industry?
EDSA Beverage Design Group as that’s a bigger investment, and it casts a wider net than The Curator.
What do you consider to be your proudest project in the F&B industry?
The Curator Coffee & Cocktails.
Describe The Curator in three words.
Comfortable, warm, hospitable.
Describe Oto in three words.
Casual, spontaneous, fun.