Chantelle Gabino

When, where and why did you decide to start bartending?

I’ve always loved hospitality, which often resulted in hosting massive dinners for friends and family. When I moved to Toronto from Vancouver, I worked in retail but needed to put myself through University for my Bachelor of Fine Arts in New Media. With my preexisting love for food, cocktails made sense to me. It allowed for palatable creativity and fueled my love for gluttony.

What is your favourite cocktail?

I feel like this is not only hardest, but most dreaded question for myself as a bartender. It’s like trying to name your favourite Rapper of all time. Top 3? in no particular order: Dark Manhattan, Tequila Sazerac, Hanky Panky.  

Shaken or Stirred?

I love creating stirred cocktails for the bar. For consumption, its dependent on my mood and the time of day, but I’ve always been a spirit forward type of girl.

If you could work with any other bartender in the world for one night who would it be?

If I could work with any bartender in the world it would be the early 2000’s version of Matt Jones while he was in Japan killing it, and doing flair bartending. I’ve seen videos of him from that time, and he was incredible… I just need a time machine. I feel like everyone goes through phases in their craft throughout their lives, and I look up to Matt, I love what he does. I think it  would be interesting to see the difference in Matt’s craft, now and then.

If you could visit any bar in the world where would it be?

The Artesian, London. I’ve never left this continent, so naturally I want to explore. I read that they’re releasing a Surrealism-themed menu for 2015 which amalgamates my love for art with drink. Yes, please.

Where are you working now and what is your cocktail style for that bar?

I’m currently employed by Parts and Labour for close to four and a half years. I’ve always loved where I work, otherwise I wouldn’t have stayed for as long as I have. It’s crucial to stay inspired in this industry. Chef Matty Matheson and The Social Group really help to fuel my drive for creativity.

My cocktail style is very spirit forward. I tend to go through phases of experimentation when approaching seasonal ingredients, especially pertaining to methodology. On the other hand, my favourite cocktails to make always tend to have a little “gusto” to them. I do love the gratification of making personalized cocktails for guests while playing to their palate. Challenge accepted!

Who is your mentor, if you have one?

I don’t have just one mentor. The Toronto cocktail industry is extremely inspiring and constantly evolving with some of the most interesting and down-to-earth people taking charge. Being a very male dominant industry, I look up to and adore the ladies that are crushing it in this city. They push me to want to be a better bartender everyday. There are some tough women in TO, let alone Canada.


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