Bartenders

 

Bartenders 

Alex Black

Alex has spent much of his time as a hospitality professional accumulating accolades, awards and certifications from multiple bodies including the International Sommelier's Guild and the Beverage Alcohol Resource Group. He is a Certified Specialist in Spirits as appointed by the Society of Wine Educators and recent graduate of Pernod Ricard and Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne's Maison Program. 

Twitter: @blacktending
IG: @blacktending

Amber Bruce

Senior Bartender at Keefer Bar. Former Bar Manager at Cuchillo Restaurant. Winner Absolut Big White Bartending Competition 2015. Regional finalist Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year Competition 2015.

Instagram: @amberbruce
Twitter: @thatamberbruce

 Cam Brown

Chris Enns 

Chris started bartending nine years ago, like most, as a way to help pay for school. His favorite subjects were biology and chemistry. He believes that the knowledge that everything is connected at a common biological level helps bartending not only with flavour pairings but most importantly with serving his guests. It didn't take long before the passion for bartending took over and it became more than a side gig. Originally from Saskatoon, Chris made the move out west two and a half years ago, and worked hard to land a position at Gastown's The Diamond. After a second place finish at 2016's Diagio World Class & Grey Goose Pour Masters, Chris looks forward to this year's Bacardi Legacy where his 'El Patrimonio' will be representing Vancouver on the national stage.

Chris Chuy

Since first getting behind the bar over 14 years ago, Chris’ passion for beer, wine and spirits as grown beyond even his own expectations. Using his spirits training, Chris has mastered creating custom cocktails for any event, whether it be for an intimate get together, or the perfect “his and hers” wedding cocktails. He is the Director of Operations at Lavish Liquid Event Bar Service.

Christos Kalaitzis

Born and raised in Greece, Christos Kalaitzis honed his passion for the beverage world through coffee by learning the intricate techniques of milling, roasting, use of equipment and speed tending.

After attending both the European Bartending School and Illinois Bartending School, Kalaitzis shifted from his previous role as a barista to becoming a full-fledged bartender. He began focusing on the creation and expansion of cocktail and coffee menus at various cocktail bars in Greece, including many restaurants in Athens and other European cities. His devotion to mixology grew rapidly, which eventually led him to start his own cocktail bar in Athens, called The Hug.

Throughout his career, Kalaitzis explored the world of mixology by participating in many competitions. His dedication to the craft earned him many titles, including 2012 European Cocktail Grand Prix winner and finalist at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans.Kalaitzis’ also taught at the Leading Bartenders Society UK, where he shared his passion for mixology with emerging new bartending talent. While he was in the UK, London Drink Up awarded Kalaitzis for his molecular techniques and innovative cocktail presentation.

After working as the Bar Manager at the Pentelikon 5 Stars Luxury Hotel in Kifisia, Kalaitzis has since become a Spirits Brand Ambassador and Mixologist at Central City Brewers & Distillers in Surrey, British Columbia. In this role, he continues to craft new cocktails, while consulting on spirits development. Recently, he travelled to the United States to judge at the 2016 San Diego International Spirits Competition.

Dave Simpson

Dave Simpson is the founder and president of The Bartenders’ Guild, Canada. Dave has over 18 years experience judging, competing and training bartenders abroad in the fine art of flair and cocktail bartending. His vocation with The Bartenders’ Guild has been responsible for Flairfest, Canada’s longest running flair bartending competition. During his years in the industry Dave has been featured in several publications, television productions, and signature events, most notably with the MTV music network, The Masters in Augusta, and the nationally syndicated Rachael Ray Show in NYC.

 Donnie Wheeler
 Frank Gosser

Gez McApline

Cutting his teeth in the influential bar scene of Melbourne, Gez Mcalpine has worked in some of the top cocktail establishments from all over the map alongside world leaders in cocktail culture. After finding home in Vancouver, Gez led the team at the iconic Keefer bar, Vancouver’s premier destination for craft cocktails. During this time, competition success took him to all corners of the globe, representing Canada in global competitions like Beefeater MIXLDN, Diplomatico World tournament and Giffard West Cup. As of 2016, Gez has traded the barspoon and shaker for an Ambassador hat and now travels the country as western brand ambassador for Bruichladdich single malt and the Botanist gin, spreading the story of this progressive Hebridean distillery and bringing years of industry experience and spirits expertise to bartenders and consumers alike. 

Grant Sceney

Head bartender at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel. Winner of Diageo World Class Canada Bartending Competition 2014. Finished in the top six at the 2014 Diageo World Class Global Bartender of the Year Competition in London, England.

 

Harry Dosanj

Jacob Sweetapple

Absolut Vodka Brand Ambassador

Jason Laidlaw

With well over 20 years in the nightlife industry, and 15 years and counting behind the bar, Jason brings a wide range of bartending, nightlife, promotional, and marketing experience to his bartending adventures.
 
Getting behind the wood as a way to put himself through a degree at the University of British Columbia, Jason fell in love with the hospitality industry, with service culture and with cocktail craft and history and has never looked back.  
 
Having worked in nightclubs, fine dining establishments, and private clubs, Jason now spends his time behind the wood at The Shameful Tiki Room, serving rum, stories and enjoyment to the citizens of Vancouver and the world, accompanied by gongs and smoke.  He furthers his own and other’s education and passion through his work with the CPBA and with his monthly book club for bartenders.

Jenner Cormier

Halifax native. 10 years of experience in hospitality industry. In his 4th year with World Class Canada as a judge and ambassador. Winner of Diageo World Class Canada 2013, BOL’s Around the World competition 2013. 

Joe Luckhurst

Joe Luckhurst worked for Road 13 from Vancouver for several years. In 2012 Joe left Vancouver to throw himself into the everyday operations of the family business and early in 2014 he took the helm as General Manager. With a work ethic that is oddly familiar to the rest of the team at Road 13, he seems to have fully embraced Mick's adage, "owners don't need days off."

With his wife and new daughter at his side, Road 13 Vineyards is the definition of a family winery.  

Jon Smolensky

In May of 2015, Jonathan turned his attention fully to Sovereign Wine and Spirits Canada, a by the bartender/sommelier for the bartender/sommelier liquor agency that he had created in 2011. Sovereign imports fine wines and spirits specifically catered to the on-premise and specialty retail sector in Canada. The impetus of this project was a community desire to create a free-flowing, unabated connection between the passionate industry professionals within Canada and the boutique brands made globally by their peers. Sovereign continues to invest in the entrepreneurs that manufacture such fine wines, spirits, and restaurant friendly wares, offering an avenue for them to seamlessly share their creations in the Canadian marketplace. 

Jonathan is also the Corporate Liaison for the Canadian Professional Bartenders Association; he is always finding new initiatives to help advance the Canadian hospitality sector alongside his contemporaries.

 Julia Comu
 

Keenan Hood

Bar Manager of The Keefer Bar. Past finalist of the CPBA cocktail challenge. Past finalist of Made with Love Vancouver mixology competition.

 

Keith Trusler

Brand Ambassador at Corby Spirit and Wine Limited. Former Bar Manager at Bluewater Café and Raw Bar.
A true Renaissance Man, Keith Trusler brings to his role as Brand Ambassador a well-developed taste for the finer things in life, from fashion, design and culture to food, drink and travel. An educator, influencer and avowed aficionado of the culture and lifestyle surrounding all things whisky, Keith travels far and wide extolling the virtues of single-malt in a position that is perfectly suited to his thirst for adventure, creativity and entertaining. Beyond simply showcasing whisky, Keith revels in elevated dining experiences where he can indulge in and explore a wide array of flavors, combinations and cuisines that challenge convention and make people think twice about the endless pairing possibilities. Prior to joining Corby Spirit and Wine, Keith worked behind the pine at a number of restaurants, including a five-year stint as Bar Manager at award-winning Blue Water Cafe in Vancouver, and was a frequent fixture at bar competitions and exhibitions both at home and abroad.

Kristi-Leigh Akister

After almost sixteen years in the hospitality industry, Kristi-Leigh Akister still finds bright-eyed wonderment in the ever evolving landscape of the craft cocktail culture. She draws inspiration from both the unique and vibrant neighbourhood of Chinatown along with the immense talent exhibited by her peers and colleagues. She is currently the bar manager at the Union.

Lauren Mote

Bar Manager at UVA Wine & Cocktail Bar. 2015 Bartender of the Year recipient at the 26th annual Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards.

Winner of Diageo World

Class Canada Bartending Competition 2015. Co-founder of Bittered Sling Cocktail Bitters and Culinary Extracts.

Matt Majid

Matt, from Elite Cocktails, is a career show bartender having achieved 21 first place competition finishes internationally as well as the owner and head trainer of the Vancouver based performance bartending team. He uses “Flair”, as it’s often called, for more than just flipping bottles but as a way of making cocktails more approachable by highlighting the entertainment aspect of drink service. Whether it be with a quick pun, funny cocktail name or seamless acrobatic pours, it’s clear that he strives to make a special experience for his every one of guests. He has also put Canadian flair bartending back on the world stage with the Elite Cocktails Instagram account having become one of the most followed of the genre. It features daily clips, beautiful cocktails and general insight into drink mixing culture. His words to ‘tend by: “There are only two things that matter about a cocktail. Will I order it? And will I order it again?” 

Max Borrowman

Max started bartending in 2006 at Earls in Kelowna. Working high volume patio bars and fine dining alike in Kelowna and Victoria set Max up for success from an early stage in his career.  He then moved to Vancouver in 2010, where he started learning about finely crafted cocktails from Jacob Sweetapple and Grant Sceney at the Fairmont Pacific Rim. The Lobby Lounge was his home for several years until last summer when he took on his first major Bar Manager role at the acclaimed Torafuku. Max has been competing at a high level since, going to Toronto for National cocktail competitions for both Beefeater Gin and Lot 40 Canadian Whisky.

Most recently, Max was a national finalist for Diageo World Class- the world's most prestigious cocktail competition. Now, Max is the Bar Manager at Juniper in Chinatown, where a neighbourhood of great restaurants and bars is exploding onto the scene.

 

Mike Shum

Bartender at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel. 2015 Canadian Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition Champion. Grey Goose Canada’s Pour Masters Competition 2015 Top 3 Finalist.Mike Shum - Bartender at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel. 2015 Canadian Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition Champion. Grey Goose Canada’s Pour Masters Competition 2015 Top 3 Finalist.

Philippe C. Grandbois

Phil is a passionate hospitality and service professional.

While attending the University of Waterloo, Phil found his niche in the service industry as a bartender.

Phil worked his way from bartending assistant and pot washer to General Manager,Sommelier and Owner. Finding his true calling behind the bar.
A career that has now spanned 14 years, 4 continents and more than 50 venues. Phil takes a true global outlook on the "industry". Honed throughout Europe, UAE, India, Australasia and North America, Phil found what was important. Incredible hospitality delivered by the happiest people.

As a Bartender and Sommelier, Phil mixed his career with Luxury Hotels and independent restaurants. As "stagiaire" at the worlds cocktail haunts, Phil also found a true passion for mixing spirits. 1 part historian, 1 part storyteller and 1 part service professional all stirred together. You can find his blogged adventures in drinks over at justcocktails.org where he is the editor and contributor.

Philippe now lives in Vancouver, BC and is a the Bar Director at the infamous Chambar.

Shane Mulvany

Born and raised in Ireland, Shane Mulvany got his start pulling pints in his homeland. He has worked in hotels, bars and restaurants in New York, London, and Toronto. 
Shane competed in World Class for the fourth consecutive year in 2016, winning the Canadian title.  He finished 9th at the Global Final in September 2016 in Miami.

Stefano Righetti

Seeking for the challenge in front of me from the daily shift behind the bar to an important competition. Always working on improving my skills and learning new ways to provide the best experience from my guests. You can find me mixing spirits in a dark room called the Keefer bar.

Tarquin Melnyk

Bar Manager at Bambudda. Author/Editor/Partner/Consultant for Just Cocktails. Writer for Culinaire magazine.

Tarquin Melnyk has been bartending in numerous cities for the past seven years. After settling in Vancouver in 2014 he took over the bar at Bambudda, Gastown.

The Alberta transplant has a well-known love for innovative molecular cocktails, including his involvement with MsBetters.com; makers of high quality bitters, syrups, purees and the Miraculous Foamer, showcased at SOC16.

He is a freelance cocktail writer and photographer, often hosting content on the globally recognized justcocktails.org.

On a quest to elevate the conversation about beverage culture and to provide a lasting experience for everyone he serves.

"For Science Of the Cocktail 2017, we will be exploring the fun world of roasted marshmallows. The catch? Ours will be vegan and made with alcohol!"

Trevor Kallies

Bar & Beverage Director for the Donnelly Group

Trevor Kallies has spent the last 15 years managing the bar programs at some of the highest volume bar locations in Vancouver. He began his career at the storied Earls “On Top” location on Robson St. in Vancouver British Columbia. He spent time in multiple staff & management positions finding his niche in the role of Bar Leader. Shortly after, he was approached to take on the newly formed Regional Bar Leader position where he was responsible for managing region-wide cost of sales, training of new bar leaders in the lower mainland of British Columbia as well as rolling out new drink programs, wine lists and costing procedures while maintaining the inventory & staffing of his own bar back at Robson St. 

In 2005 Trevor left the Earls Restaurant Group and found a home at Granville Room in the heart of Vancouver’s Entertainment District eventually taking over as General Manager. It was at Granville Room where he found his passion for spirits and began running not only the room, but the cocktail, beer & wine program as well - developing award winning drink lists for Granville Room. In 2008 he took on the beverage program for the Donnelly Pub Group & Donnelly Night Club group, creating drinks and training staff from over 10 venues of different concepts, while still managing the 80 seat Award Winning cocktail bar on Granville St.

In 2010 he moved into the position of Bar & Beverage Director for the Donnelly Group, overseeing the menus & profitability of 14 locations around Vancouver for beer, wine & cocktails. During his time of Beverage Director, Trevor has pioneered one of the strongest craft beer programs in Canada, created award winning cocktail lists and has been responsible for implementing company-wide training programs on service, product knowledge & cost of sales. 

In addition to managing the Donnelly Group beverage program, Trevor has competed & won multiple cocktail & drink competitions including Craft of Cointreau, the Appleton Rum cocktail competition, the G’Vine Le GCP cocktail competition and placed highly in many other high profile drink challenges in Vancouver, across Canada & globally. In 2009 Trevor became a founding member of The Canadian Professional Bartender’s Association (CPBA), helping to form an organization that is now Canada-wide with members in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta & the Maritimes. In 2013 Trevor was elected the President of the BC Chapter of the CPBA and maintains that role today. In 2011 Trevor became part of the Cocktail Apprentice Program (CAP) at the infamous Tales of the Cocktail in their first ever ‘Tales on Tour’ in Vancouver. He has since been promoted to CAP Manager at the annual Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans where he helps manage a team of 60 global bartenders where they execute the seminars, cocktails and events at the biggest cocktail event in the world - working with Brand Ambassadors, Distillers & some of the best cocktails minds from around the world.

 

Wesley Hardy

Wesley has been working in Vancouver’s bar scene since 2014 where he worked at Gastown’s premier rum bar – The Calabash. He worked under the supervision of Tyson Davies, where he learned to make The Calabash Dark and Stormy, considered to be the best recipe of its kind in Vancouver. 

He then went on to work at BauHaus, Vancouver’s finest restaurant for German cuisine. Here he assisted in producing a new cocktail menu and gained knowledge of molecular gastronomy from the talented kitchen. While at BauHaus, he also worked at Mosquito, a champagne and exquisite dessert bar. Here he invented new recipes and brought back the best classics. 

He now resides at Nightingale – David Hawksworth’s newest venture. Here he works under the supervision of two of Vancouver’s top talents: Alex Black and Rhett Williams. 

He placed 4th in the 'Made With Love' cocktail competition preliminary in May 2015, and competed in the competition held at the Fairmont that year with a drink using a homemade spiced chai tea, a homemade saffron syrup, cardamom bitters and the assigned spirit-Jack Daniels Honey.

Wesley is licensed to practice nursing in Florida, Texas, and B.C. He has an associate’s degree in liberal arts and will graduate in May with a Bachelor’s degree in applied animal biology from UBC. He also a veteran of the U.S. military.