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3 weeks ago

The Tahona Society Editorial Team

Jul 09, 2021

Meet the Henry Besant Scholarship winners 2021


The three winners of the 2021 Henry Besant Scholarship tell us who they are, how they entered the world of hospitality and about their plans for the future.

I am the youngest of seven siblings. Since I was little, I have been curious, independent, bold, brave, resilient, perseverant, and daring when it comes to trying new things. 

As an adolescent, I understood that not everything in life is free, much less simple. Food was always on the table, and I thank my family for this; they are my inspiration and motivation to keep studying. I have also learned that if I want something, I must go after it and not just wait for it to come. 

After graduating from high school, I worked in a restaurant, where everything was new to me.

“Winning the Henry Besant award is my pride. I would love to specialize in something related to tequila. I can feel the category growing the more I familiarize myself with it. I also want to learn the numbers and all the workings behind the product, from the raw materials all the way to the cocktail.”

María frías

At one point I decided to take a trip to Playa del Carmen, where I fell in love with the world of cocktail bars, and I realized that it is where I wanted to be. Sadly, I had to return to the city and my plans were ruined. But I understood that everything happens for a reason.

I worked in several bars until I found work in a club, which allowed me the time I needed to study.

I now work at La Tequila restaurant, a place where I have been able to grow as a bartender, continue working at the club, and carry on with my studies. 







I´m an amphibious young professional, with nearly a decade of experience in hospitality and am passionate about improving the industry through more sustainable practices. 

With a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and a love for nature, I have all the tools to continue to drive positive change from within and outside of my workplace.

My love for all things creative has led me to Beneath Driver Lane, where I co-manage the cocktail program and am always striving to find new and exciting flavor combinations. 

Outside of the bar, I enjoy singing, hiking, painting, and travelling. 

I continue to be fueled by my love for the industry and the lifelong friendships that come along with it.

“With goals like running my own sustainability consulting company and opening a low-waste tapas bar, I intend to further develop my skills with the Henry Besant Scholarship.”

Melanie Hack






Besides working behind the bar creating exciting new cocktails, I love movies, books and exploring my surroundings through the camera. 

I´m also more of a winter type of person. I love downhill skiing and winter is when Sweden looks the most beautiful!  Also cocktails taste much better in a warm booth with snowflakes falling outside.  

As a bartender, my favorite part of the work is seeing a woman or elder man light up because I served them a really brilliant cocktail.

“I´m so happy for the chance to get better and learn more thanks to the Henry Besant Scholarship.”

Erika Jonsson

Henry Besant legacy will live on through a noble cause—a scholarship for a young, talented and creative bartender. Read the full article here.