At the end of September 2020 the Roman Head Bartender born in 1988 at the Four Seasons Hotel at the Surf Club in Miami Valentino Longo launched the Shōshin Art Club project, a platform digital content designed for professionals and enthusiasts, where you can enjoy content directly or indirectly linked to the world of mixing. Starting his career as a commis at the Hotel de Russie, with Massimo D'Addezio, Valentino worked for three years behind the counter in England, an experience which was followed by his return to Italy coinciding with the start, for his wife, of experience from Co.So to Pigneto. Valentino works at La Moderna, a place where he organizes events with other guest bartenders and also swing-based musical evenings.
After a short time, he responded positively to the possibility of going to Miami to take care of the opening of a second office and, after a year in which he dealt with both realities, he left to find stability, the Four Seasons where he still works today. This is exactly where in 2019 he entered the The Most Imaginative Bartender 2020 competition organized by Bombay Sapphire Gin. “The whole competition lasted nine months. I managed to get through all the intermediate stages, where I was asked to create themed cocktails, and reach the national final in Chicago. The prize up for grabs was €30,000 and I won it after explaining my project, Shōshin Art Club, to a jury”.
While before the advent of Covid-19 the idea was to create a place where the art of bartending could gather, where professionals in the sector could be trained and informed, exchange information and answer questions, over time the idea became virtual. “I decided to invest all the money obtained in the creation of the site and contents, involving a photographer from London. Shōshin Art Club is a compound noun. The first term can be translated as 'beginner's mind', a concept that I learned in Japan, according to which you should never feel like you have arrived and it is important to absorb even from people who on paper may not be suitable for you, because everyone can convey something to us. I therefore decided to choose this term for my project because it represents its essence; in addition to having important personalities in the sector of the caliber of Agostino Perrone and Daniele Dalla Pola, in fact, on the platform you can follow content generated by important figures from other sectors, such as Vittoria Collado who teaches how to manage body language in theater and cinema. Art Club, instead, indicates theambition to unite the world of bars and that of art; in the first it is not only important to create new cocktails, but also to construct the meaning behind them, the body language and the story that is told to the customer".
There are two types of content: free and for subscribers. The former concern only a small number of classes, such as contents generated by professionals not from the bar world, Extra Credits, the single-ingredient classes, Product Knowledge, and videos Shoshin@home, which illustrates the preparation of a cocktail. If you activate the Premium Pass you can access the remaining content Leadership, Mentorship, Technique And Brands Classes, where you can learn, among many others, some notions of international bartending, tiki mixing and the art of foraging. “The target 90% is made up of professionals, while the remaining 10% is made up of enthusiasts. The platform is also aimed at managers and restaurant managers, because the topics range beyond the classic creation of a cocktail. For example, Giuseppe Gallo released a piece of content for us where he explains how to launch your own brand." There is also a further formula, Business pass, which provides personalized access for a small group of people, such as the employees of a restaurant.
The developments of the project are multiple. “We plan to create content in America and Europe. We have already chosen the speakers, such as Anna Sebastian from Artesian in London and Martin Hudak from Maybe Sammy in Sydney, and we just need to be able to produce the videos, with our crew, together with them. I would also like Shōshin Art Club to have a physical response, as I had thought at the beginning. It could be a venue but also a schedule of events, in which arts such as photography, painting and music are incorporated. A final development is that of scholarships, which we will issue to people who are not working, Release Scholarship, and to people who intend to share their idea of Shōshin with us, Artistic Scholarship.