Veronica Palacios

A Dublin-based barista has been crowned the Sodexo UK and Ireland Barista of the Year.

Veronica Palacios, a barista in the An Post staff restaurant at the GPO in Dublin, came to Ireland from Venezuela four years ago and joined Sodexo last year with no formal training in coffee.

Encouraged by David Byrne, the group site manager at An Post, she undertook an intensive barista training course organised by the company in June 2017.

Veronica went on to win the Irish heat of the Barista of the Year competition in August and then travelled to the Salon Culinaire at Ascot to take part in the UK and Ireland final against nine other competitors from England, Scotland and Wales.

It was a three-part live competition in front of a crowd of hundreds attending the Salon, and under the watchful eyes of the two judges, each finalist had first to serve drinks to the Salon attendees for 30 minutes.

Veronica won both the espresso and signature drink categories, wowing judges with her signature coffee creation inspired by a Venezuelan drink that included fresh coconut, coconut water, sugar and ice.

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