I knew that as soon as someone let me behind the bar, my career in kitchen would be over.
This is how I've always explained my culinary background:
I started off as a pastry chef. All things pastry is very strict, precise, and very reliant on science (chemistry, specifically) and that makes my crazy control freak brain so fucken happy. BLACK AND WHITE RULES. YAAAAS. You must follow rules when it comes to baking- the product will expose you through and through if you just "wing it". Like classical piano, you can't "wing" Bach. You study the theory, practice until you can't get it wrong, and you don't recite it unless it's perfect. Accuracy and consistency was how I became successful as a pastry chef.
When I migrated to the savory side of kitchen, I had to let loose a little...well, a lot actually. I had to improvise when shit didn't go as planned. And shit never goes as planned in an industrial kitchen. I had to experiment with different flavor profiles outside of work and I had to learn how to take risks so that when I was under fire (no pun intended) I had enough confidence in my skills to either create something out of thin air or save a dish in the knick of time. Savory cooking is like jazz, you just gotta feel it and go with it. Some people will dig it and be into it and others might not get it, but it'll still be music to your ears. It's forgiving, just like jazz.
I LOVE creating craft cocktails because it combines my respect for rules (regarding ratios for building a drink) with the creativity and experimentation of various spirits. There is so much to learn when it comes to the world of beverages. I have gone full nerd on multiple occasions when a guest points to an obscure bottle on my back bar and asks, "What's that?" Oh how my heart flutters at every opportunity to educate (and sometimes be educated by) someone who shows genuine interest in my field.
I love gin. I love grapefruit. And I love ginger.
.5 oz Domaine de Canton
2 oz Malfy
4 oz Tonic (Try Q Grapefruit if you can find it)
Holy shit, that's delicious...
Ok, back to business. So, I've been served by several extremely talented bartenders. Many of them now my friends, and many of whom I've had the pleasure of working with. But, how to choose just one? My FAVORITE one?!?! Why can't I just love them all equally? They all have displayed undeniable levels of professionalism, their hospitality is just off the charts incredible, their knowledge of spirits can carry conversations for days. My most frequently visited bartenders are quick, efficient, clean, and oh so charming (yea, they're all dudes too, sue me.)
4 ginger grapefruit gin drinks later, my rose colored glasses have slipped off my face and I was able to write some stuff on the cons column. It didn't feel right though, so I ended up trashing the entire list! I don't know why it was even a question. My favorite Seattle bartender title goes to my mentor, my darling friend, and fellow lover of gin, Tony Toni Tone! Fucken DUH! Biased opinion or not, he is in fact my favorite cocktail creator because he is passionate about what he does. He's inspired ME to be a bartender! He takes chances on people (ahem) who show the same love that he recognizes in himself.
Tony is patient and he's one of the only bartenders I've worked with who can check his (rather large), and rightfully so) ego at the door. He's a 'lead by example' kind of bartender and I'm totes not even a smidge embarrassed about me always fan-girling over his presence behind the bar.
I hope the rest of Seattle recognizes him as I do. But if you're still reading this, loyal followers, I hope you know you should in fact vote for me- since you don't actually know Tony. Hahahahaha #butforrealtho #voteforCrisM #kthanks
My affiliated bars and their neighborhoods, literally pick one! =)
The Alley (West Seattle Junction)
Jerk Shack (Belltown)
The Ruins (Lower Queen Anne)
Fremont Foundry (Fremont)
Alchemy (West Seattle Junction)