Where are you from?
I am from the Buckingham, in Quebec. I’ve lived in Ottawa since 1980 when I came for University.
Where do you currently work?
Currently, I work at Riviera, where I am the bar manager in charge of the cocktail program.
How long have you been in the industry?
I have worked in the industry for 22 1/2 years, the first 21 as manager of The Black Tomato in the Byward Market.
If you could work with any other Bartender in the world for one night who would it be?
I was lucky enough to both sit of front of and be briefly behind the bar with Remy Savage when he was in charge at The Little Red Door in Paris. That very brief taste made me want to work more with him, to especially observe his magic in incorporating very complex herbal spirits into cocktails where you might least expect them to work. I would also very much like to spend time with Naren Young of Dante in New York City, to talk about our common love of the Negroni.
If you could visit any restaurant/bar in the world where would it be?
I’ve been to a lot of the cocktail bars I hold in high regard, but have never been to Chicago. I would love to visit Billy Sunday, and dive into their catalogue of vintage and obscure by our standards amari.
Who is your mentor, if you have one?
I don’t really have a mentor. What I do have is an obsessive personality. So when I get interested in something I dive in deep.
Why do you feel MADE WITH LOVE, as a cocktail competition, is important for the Industry in
Made With Love, above all, seems to ignite the public’s interest in, and appreciation of what the bartenders are passionate about. It seems like the most perfect, exciting forum for both sides to engage in the cocktail conversation.
What is the skill you look for in a competitor when you are judging?
In competition, like in regular bartending, the important thing is not to just create something you think is delicious, but to have the passion and excitement for sharing it.
What’s the most frequent error competitors do in a competition?
I think not making your excitement contagious is, to me a drawback. That and there must be a sound reasoning behind your drink, a ready explanation for why you think the elements work together.
What’s the biggest challenge a judge has?
The biggest challenge I would say is being ask to sift through all the numerous flavour profiles that will be channelled through the taste buds. Especially in this event as there is a food pairing component as well. That said, i’m very much looking forward to the challenge.
What is the most precious advice you could give to a competitor?
Advice? Be very prepared and have fun. Be as passionate and as engaging as you can possibly be.