I was born in Brazil to a family that really liked to go out to eat. I never realized that, back in those days, most people just didn’t do it. Going out to eat was a treat or a special occasion. But at a young age I was fortunate to have those experiences and because of that, it’s ingrained in my brain that happy moments must involve good food and (many) drinks.
I started cooking at a very young age. I was 8 years old and I still remember the first time I cooked by myself. I made spaghetti with a tuna sauce that my uncle taught me. A chair had to be placed in front of the stove so I could reach the pan to stir the sauce. My mother helped me straining the pasta and handling the hot wares. But I was just so thrilled that we were eating food that I had made that I would cook for the family at every opportunity, and ready-made lunches quickly became elaborate Christmas dinners.
Growing up in a small town (no internet or modern video games) we had to find ways to entertain ourselves. There were no clubs, and parties were scarce, so a couple of friends and I began creating our own. We quickly discovered that it was a good way of making some side money. We would organize a barbecue and charge an admittance fee and we would make some money to do something else the following weekend.
By trial and error (mostly errors) I learned how to make profitable events. Slowly our barbecues and parties got bigger and we started making more money, which would be well spent on beer and such (back in the day no one cared how old we were).
Later while getting my bachelor’s degree in marketing, I came across a subject called Corporate Events, that later became the reason I was hired at my first “real” job.
I still loved going to restaurants and with my salary, I couldn’t afford much, so I developed a series of networking events that would migrate through several restaurants in Sao Paulo. Those helped me find out how restaurant “worked”, and on the weekends, I would organize social events for friends and cook thematic meals for them. It was a cheap student’s alternative to the expensive Sao Paulo lifestyle.
In the meantime, I had been introduced through a coffee tasting course, to a whole new world. I had never stopped to notice the different nuances between to coffee brands. That transformed my way of seeing beverages. From there I went to a wine tasting and felt so stupid and fascinated that I enrolled in a wine course the next day.
That first wine tasting course changed me. I started tasting everything I could, from different types of potato to all kinds of wine, you name it.
Later that year (2009) I was convinced by a friend to study to be a professional sommelier. I didn’t know what that was, and never thought I’d be able to use it because I already made better money than most servers (in Brazil at least), but we would try a lot of wines every week and for two years I kept studying. As it turns out a sommelier is not only knowledgeable on wines, but also spirits, beer, liqueurs, tea, coffee and even water.
In 2010 I had the opportunity to work for a winery. I jumped at the occasion, and for the next four years, part of my job was to meet restaurant owners and talk about how our wines would match their food. This conversation quickly evolved into business plans and sales goals. I understood how business owners think and that was key. We had a lot of success and I learned a massive amount from incredible professionals. That was my dream job and I would have never left, until…
In 2013 though my wife and I had the opportunity to move to Canada. It was a new life in an unknown country. After a bit, I dug up some old skills and began bartending again. I served and then managed two restaurants. From 2014 until this year (2018) my life happened inside a restaurant. I’ve seen a lot, done a lot and still feel that there’s soooooo much to learn.
This blog is a way for me to be connected to this world I love so much but had to leave for my family. It is as much for my personal development as it is a chance for me to talk to like-minded people who want to learn more about beverages, service and the hospitality industry. Or simply how to make a better caipirinha for your friend’s when they come over.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.