Mr Lyan on why sustainability doesn’t mean sacrifice (Foodism)

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Profiles & Interviews

Cocktail alchemist Ryan Chetiyawardana, aka Mr Lyan, tells us how he’s planning on showing a new side to sustainability at his latest venture, Cub. by Victoria Stewart (Pic: Xavier D. Buendia / XDB Photography)

LONDON, WE HAVE a problem. There’s stuff we need to sort out together. It’s exciting! But first can we sit down and have a great cocktail and some food and a chat? We’ll get to that problem later.

This is how I think Ryan Chetiyawardana goes about his business. As one of London’s most-loved bartenders and co-founder of Dandelyan, Super Lyan and White Lyan (now closed, more on which later) bars, he’s always busy, and has a feast of ideas on what to do about the industry’s most pressing issues. But first he’d like to ask how you are, and what you’re excited about this week (he says ‘exciting’ a lot, which is infectious).

In her new book about whisky, author Rachel McCormack sums him up as ‘the Ferran Adria [the founder of El Bulli restaurant in Spain] and David Lynch of the spirit world. No one is as thoughtful or as innovative as him in the drinks arena.

When he launched his brand, Mr Lyan, he had a cocktail of Talisker and oak leaf maturing in a salt-baked cask that he poured straight from the barrel into a glass. He has won every prize and every accolade that the drinks world can give him; mention his name to people in the drinks business and all they have are kind words and admiration.’

So we could end there, except there’s news to share, and insect dim sum to discuss.

To read the article, which appeared in full in Foodism Magazine’s Sustainability Issue 2017, click here