“In 2003, at 4 years of age, my father took my sister and I to the first watercress festival in the pouring rain; since then I have not missed single year”. 


Little did she know, in 2003, that 15 years later Carmen would be demonstrating on the live stage!


For many years Carmen has worked to raise funds for the Alresford and District Community Association providing refreshments to the stall holders and members of the public at the watercress festival.


Having trained at Eastleigh College’s Hospitality and Catering department for the last 3 years she has been able to work with guest chefs including Andrew Mackenzie, James Golding and Will Torrent to name but a few! At Eastleigh College Carmen was privileged to be mentored by the award-winning Hospitality Team of the Year 2017. By being encouraged to take part in local and national competitions she has been awarded a total of 6 medals.


Carmen was also awarded The Institute of Hospitality Front of House Student of the Year Award 2017 (Southern Branch). At the end of the 3 years she was also awarded the College Student of the Year Award 2017.

Carmen’s interest in mixology came from these early competitions and the encouragement and opportunities she received at College, which included a tour and experience at Winchester Distillery. Subsequently she entered a cocktail competition organised by Paul Bowler, founder of the distillery, and from this she became Brand Ambassador for the company.


From working with Winchester Distillery Carmen has learnt more about gin from the basics to the science behind it. She has embraced the opportunity to demonstrate her passion, skills and new-found knowledge and looks forward to the opportunity of demonstrating live at the watercress festival representing Alresford’s own Distillery.


Carmen Darmanin, Brand Ambassador and Mixologist at Winchester Distillery.