Focus on Health
By Alex Jump
Focus on HealthMar 22, 2021
Focus On Health Ep 27: Chris Lowder
In this episode I chat with Chris Lowder about identity, the culture around work and balance, his move to Asia and how that effect him mentally and physically, and his journey to return to his athleticism. Chris Lowder, Founder of Gaishan Consulting, is one of the world’s most sought-after talents in corporate and multi-venue luxury bar consulting. Chris has successfully built globally recognized beverage programs in some of the world’s most challenging markets, including China, South Korea, Singapore and New York. Chris was nominated in 2018 and 2020 for Best Global Bar Mentor at Tales of the Cocktail, and in 2020 was named one of the 100 most influential figures in the global bar industry by Drinks International. Chris speaks fluent Mandarin and Japanese, and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in East Asian Studies.
Focus On Health Ep 26: Carley Gaskin
In this episode of Focus On Health I chat with fellow southern ex-pat Carley Gaskin. Carley Gaskin is the owner of Hospitality 201, a sustainability focused events and consulting agency located in Chicago. With over 10 years of hospitality experience, Carley noticed a need for more sustainable practices within the hospitality industry. In 2018, she won the "World's Most Imaginative Bartender" competition with a sustainability focused initiative creating a full menu of zero-waste cocktails. Since then, she has taught numerous sustainability conferences for both hospitality professionals and the home bartender. It is her goal to show that we can all reduce our waste while still creating delicious and well balanced cocktails. Through the episode we chat about making the move from working behind the bar to starting her own business, how important having a great support system is, and cocktail competitions.
Focus on Health Ep 25: Kate Kavanaugh
Welcome to season 2 of Focus on Health. During the second season of the podcast I hope to host conversations that shed light on topics such as workplace culture, self identity, work/life balance, interpersonal relationships, substance abuse, and any other challenges that hospitality workers may face.
In this episode I chat with longtime friend, butcher, and farmer Kate Kavanaugh. In our conversation with discuss what it means to live in alignment, the decision that she and her partner Josh made to move away from their primary business in search of better alignment, how she's actively worked on returning to her health, how regenerative nature can be for our health, and so much more.
Kate Kavanaugh set out on a mission to heal land, bodies, and communities through food ten years ago. She is the owner of a small butcher shop and grocery, Western Daughters, in Denver and a new farmer on a small farmstead in upstate New York. She is on a journey to connect with nature, experiment with regenerative agriculture and livestock raising techniques, and help others reconnect with practices that bring them back to health and vitality. Kate just launched Ground Work, where she wants to help connect people directly to their food through both a farm directory and a podcast where she muses about mind, body, and soil. In her spare time, she loves to cook, hang out with her goats, and go for long walks.
Focus On Health Ep 24: Brandon Thrash
In this episode of Focus On Health I chat with Brandon Thrash about doing what we love, the power we have as purchasers, sustainable farming, and how sometimes it's okay to cry. Brandon is a beverage professional in Philadelphia, PA. He has managed and bartended across the country including time in San Francisco, Chicago, Ft Lauderdale, and Philadelphia. He spent fall of 2018 and 2019 working with Maloof Wines in Oregon as the production assistant, and he is currently finishing a biological farming internship with Dan Rinke of Art + Science Cider and Wine before returning to Philadelphia as the head of beverage for Middle Child Clubhouse.
He is an advocate for using the buying power of restaurants and bars to drive positive cultural change. By advocating for more open sharing of information on sourcing and thoughtful buying, he believes that we can create a shift in agricultural practices in the United States.
Focus On Health Ep 23: The Fine Line & FOH
[TW: SA, r*pe ]
In this episode Alex & LP chat with Liz and Emily, co-hosts of The Fine Line Podcast about mental health, our experiences as women in the industry, seeing a therapist, and how much we love canned wine. At The Fine Line Balancing: Hedonism & Health, we interview people we admire both inside and outside the wine business to learn how they balance their love of food, wine & travel with their health and wellness, both physical and mental. To support The Fine Line Podcast, click this link.
Liz Willette Danneels first developed a love of wine while working for the luxury travel company, Butterfield & Robinson. After a year in Burgundy and five years in Italy, she taught herself about wine mainly by buying the best bottles she could afford, studying them, and (of course) drinking them.
After running a wine bar in a Relais & Châteaux Hotel in the Dolomites in Northern Italy, she moved to New York City to work for David Bouley and then for importer/distributor Michael Skurnik as a sales representative in Manhattan. In 2004, she struck out on her own, building a book of small producers from the Northern Rhone, Burgundy, and Santa Barbara.
In 2011, Willette Wines merged with another small distributor, Grand Cru Selections. Together they grew the company until Liz left in 2017 to move to Colorado with her family. Craving a life outside of Manhattan, she moved to Boulder, where she is a partner at Natural Wine Company.
Emily Gold grew up cooking and drinking wine with her parents and four older siblings, always relishing the time together as well as the education. In 2012, Emily eagerly accepted a job with Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant in their office located in Beaune, France. There, she was able to meet winemakers, learn about regions around France and Italy, and become versed on the ins and outs of importing some of the most respected icons in the industry.
In 2014, Emily returned to Boulder to open a restaurant and wine bar called PMG (“Pour Ma Gueule”, a term used by French winemakers to reference the wine bottles they stash away for drinking with their family and friends). PMG offered organic and locally-sourced food, dishes inspired by France and Italy, and organic and biodynamic wines. After six years of being a solo small business owner, Emily sold her business in 2020.
Focus On Health Ep 22: Joshua Gandee
In this episode of Focus On Health, I chat with fellow FOH team member and host of No Proof Podcast Joshua Gandee about his journey into sobriety, how sober living has changed his outlook on working in the F&B industry, and how important it is to see sober individuals in the bar world. Joshua Thomas Gandee is a bartender and creative working in and around the restaurant industry for over a decade. Joshua quit drinking in 2017, and began creating a non-alcoholic culture in his city and beyond through recipes, recommendations, and a penchant for any water that bubbles. Joshua believes a change in mindset, can produce a change in identity and works to be the best version of himself possible while helping to lift the spirits of those around him.
Focus on Health Ep 21: Dave Kaplan, Devon Tarby, and Alex Day
In this episode I chat with the partners of Gin & Luck, the parent company of Death & Co, Dave Kaplan, Devon Tarby, and Alex Day. Having spent the last three years working for their company, I enjoyed having the opportunity to discuss the steps they're taking to make their company a great place to work, by creating structure and safer places to work. In our conversation we discussed EOS, the operating system through with they run Gin & Luck, accountability, praise/recognition, and how structure is actually not the enemy.
Focus On Health Ep 20: Steph Teslar
In this episode I chat with the East Coast Manager of Trade Education and Mixology for Patrón Spirits, Steph Teslar about working for a multi-national corporation, the changes that can be more easily made when you work for a larger company, and what it's been like working from home. With over 18 years of experience in the world of bartending and restaurant/bar management, including overseeing several outlets as Bar Ambassador and Beverage Manager for Kimpton Hotels in the Southwest, Steph moved to Miami 3 years ago to take on her current role with Patrón. Steph is a fixture on the national cocktail and bartender engagement circuit, having been involved as an educator and contributor for numerous platforms at the industry’s top events. When she isn’t working you can find her listening to her vinyl collection, riding bikes, and hanging out with her dog Woody.
Focus On Health Ep 19: John deBary
In this episode I chat with John deBary, the co-founder of the Restaurant Workers' Community Foundation, about anxiety, what lead him to creating the RWCF, writing a book and releasing it during a pandemic, and crying.
John deBary is a celebrated mixologist, author, and worker rights advocate with over a decade of experience crafting delicious drinks. He founded Proteau, a line of zero-proof botanical drinks in late 2019, currently producing two variants, Rivington Spritz and Ludlow Red. Proteau endeavors to make the world more delicious by creating engaging and delicious food-friendly drinks that are perfect straight from the bottle, no mixing required.
John is also an author who’s writing has appeared in GQ, Bon Appetit, PUNCH, Liquor.com, Thrillist, Food & Wine, Wine Enthusiast, and more. In June 2020, Clarkson Potter published his first cocktail book, Drink What you Want: The Subjective Guide to Objectively Delicious Cocktails.
In 2018, JdB co-founded Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation (RWCF), an advocacy and action nonprofit dedicated to finding structural solutions to quality-of-life issues facing workers in the hospitality industry. In March 2020, RWCF established a Covid-19 relief fund and has since raised over $8M towards relief efforts.
Wine Enthusiast magazine named JdB in their 40 Under 40 Tastemakers of 2020; he has also received Thrillist’s Local Heroes award and Tales of the Cocktail’s philanthropy award for his work with RWCF.
Focus on Health Ep 18: Lauren Mote
In this episode I chat with Toronto native now living in Amsterdam, Lauren Mote. Lauren is them Diageo Reserve and World Class Global Cocktailian, co-creator of Bittered Sling Bitters, a sommelier, writer, and spirits’ judge. She was inducted into the Dame Hall of Fame in 2016 and has been named in the top 4 Best Bar Mentors and Best International Brand Ambassador by the Spirited Awards. In our episode we chatted about mentorship, travel, relationships when you run multiple businesses with your partner, and so much more.
You can find Lauren on Instagram at @laurenmote and at @womencelebrate.
Focus on Health Ep 17: Alba Huerta
In this episode I chat with owner of Houston's beloved cocktail bar Julep, Alba Huerta. Alba was inducted in the Tales of the Cocktail Dame Hall of Fame in 2012, named Bartender of the Year in 2014 by Imbibe magazine and one of Houston’s 50 Most Fascinating People by the Houston Chronicle. In 2015, Food & Wine selected her as one of ten rising-star female mixologists and Thrillist named her one of the Best Bartenders in America. She was also the featured mixologist at the Southern Foodways Alliance’s 2013 Symposium and again in 2015, after which she was elected to serve as a board member. Alba has also been named one of the incomparable The Cherry Bombe 100 and released her first cocktail book named after her flagship bar ‘Julep’ in 2018.
In our episode we chat about the struggles of making time for yourself or taking time off as business owner, fear and the release of fear through the challenges of 2020, sobriety, and stepping into the spotlight. If you'd like to get to know her better, you can follow Alba on IG at @albaworksit.
Focus on Health Ep 16: Mary Allison Wright
This week my guest is Mary Allison Wright. A fellow Chattanooga native, Mary and her husband McLain moved to Denver 9 years ago to pursue careers in the Food & Beverage industry. Mary has served both as Membership Director and an Advisor to the board of the Colorado Chapter of the United States Bartending Guild, is a graduate of the Beverage Alcohol Resource Program (BAR 5-DAY), and in addition to her recent roles as the Wine Director of the recently shuttered restaurant Morin and The Proper Pour bottle shop, she is the current Owner of Door Prize, Yacht Club, and a Facilitator at Jelly Bone. While each has its own identity, a common influence throughout is her commitment to genuine hospitality, sustainability, and equity within the industry and beyond. A conscious commitment to health and wellness in her daily life is what allows her to stay focused, energized, and show up for herself and her team. Morin was awarded Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Wine Lists 2019 and Mary was recently named a semifinalist for The Art of Plating Rising Talent Award.
In this episode we chat about Imposter Syndrome, the importance of setting routines, finding balance and acceptance when traveling, and so much more. You can find Mary on IG at @eatdrinkbemaryandmclain, and you can reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Focus On Health Ep 15: Hassel Aviles
To kick off Women's History Month I chatted with Hassel Aviles, co-founder of Not 9 to 5, a non-profit organization empowering hospitality, food and beverage service workers by mobilizing education and support for mental health and substance use. Since 2018, Not 9 to 5 has been promoting harm reduction practices and helps to connect the hospitality workforce to mental wellness resources. With over 20 years of experience in marketing and leadership in the food and beverage industry, Hassel Aviles has built a career in hospitality, events and entrepreneurship.These days, Hassel's passion for the industry is seen through her work as Executive Director of Not 9 to 5 and principal consultant heading all hospitality and culinary projects at Reunion Inc., an Ovare Group-owned business transformation consultancy.
For more information please visit Not 9 to 5, Primary Concerns, and MHFA.
Focus On Health Ep 14: Mary Palac
In this episode I chat with Mary Palac, long time bar manager of Paper Plane in San Jose, CA. In our conversation we touched on topics surrounding accountability for not just others but also for ourselves, struggles with anxiety surrounding recognition and wanting to be the best that we can be, and of course how to make our industry a better place to live & work.
Mary was born in the Philippines but grew up in the Bay Area, California. She has worked in hospitality for nearly 20 years and has been bartending for over 12 years. She is a founding member of USBG Silicon Valley, and an alumna of the TOTCF CAP program, BAR 5 Day, Camp Runamok, and many other industry programs. She was the Season 7 Ms. Speed Rack CA, and 2 time BARMANIA champion. Her recipes and views have been featured in several national publications, including Liquor.com, PUNCH, Saveur, and USA Today. She was featured in the documentary Rum Rising with liquor.com and Appleton Rum. In 2019 she was honored with a commendation from the City of San Jose for her contributions to the city’s food and beverage community, and in 2020 was named a Top 4 Honoree for American Bartender of the Year through the TOTCF Spirited Awards. She has travelled all over the world to visit bars and distilleries in order to explore the world of spirits. Her home bar is Paper Plane in San Jose, CA.
Focus On Health Ep 13: Ashtin Berry
In this episode of Focus on Health I catch up with hospitality activist and F&B veteran about the history of tipping culture, the emotional labor of working in F&B, accountability, and so much more.
Ashtin Berry is a hospitality activist, sommelier, mixologist and beverage consultant that creates more than cocktails: She creates change. Combining over fifteen years in the industry with a sociology degree from University of Chicago, Berry has become a top activist and educator on the frontlines of hospitality and humanity; creating safer, more inclusive spaces to have real, intersectional conversations.
In 2018, she founded Radical XChange, an experience-based agency that promotes intersectionality through event series, like the acclaimed symposium Resistance Served honoring Black hospitality workers. Berry also founded America’s Table in 2020, a movement to raise political awareness around the needs of hospitality workers after COVID-19.
Focus On Health Ep 12: Mony Bunni, Kristina Magro, and Laura Kelton of Support Staff
In this episode I chat with Mony Bunni, Kristina Magro, and Laura Kelton of Support Staff. While all three women are seasoned F&B industry veterans, they have more recently shifted their focus to providing support and resources to their community of hospitality workers by founding Support Staff. Support Staff is a community of hospitality professionals working alongside mental health professionals, and community organizers to change the structures of the hospitality industry. Support Staff’s goals are to break down the stigmas surrounding mental health, give employers tools to better support their employees, and give hourly employees tools to better advocate for their well-being. To learn more about their work, make sure to head to their website linked here.
Focus On Health Ep 11: Ariel Coplan
In this episode I catch up with Toronto-based Chef, Ariel Coplan. From a young age, Ariel Coplan has had a love affair with the food and beverage industry. Early in his career, Ariel worked around the world in renowned restaurants. He later brought his knowledge and experience back to Toronto and opened the now-closed, Thoroughbred Food & Drink. Opening his own restaurant taught him many valuable lessons. The most important, mental health. He was determined to create change and began to have thoughtful discussions focused around mental health with his old friend, Hassel Aviles. Together, they launched Not 9 to 5 in 2018.
Through lived experience, Ariel went through a metamorphosis of questioning the status quo of, "oui chef" mentality and depression. But he empowered himself to change, make improvements and dismantle the destructive nature of the industry. To learn more about what they're working on, head to www.not9to5.org.
Focus On Health Ep 10: Ray Padilla
In this episode I chat with F&B industry veteran, personal trainer, and current Neuroscience student, Ray Padilla. Throughout his career he's worked in bars, restaurants, and delicatessens in both Monterey, CA and Aspen, CO. His fascination with the biochemistry associated with exercise, as well as nutrition and the different ways of organizing the body, led him to pursue a degree in neuroscience in Denver. Ray enlightened me on how truly important sleep and rest is for our working bodies, how important it is to work opposing muscles, and we bonded over our love of water.
Focus On Health Ep 9: Alex Negranza
In this episode of Focus on Health I catch up with Alex Negranza. While he started his career as a barista in Seattle, he eventually found his way to Houston where he spent years working for and alongside Bobby Hugel. He's been named an Eater Young Gun, Wine Enthusiast 40 under 40, and Imbibe's Bartender of the Year. These days he has joined the opening team of MARCH Restaurant in Houston. In our episode he reflects on learning to be a good leader and taking care of his team while not losing the magic we create for the guest experience .
Focus On Health Ep 8: Valentino Longo
In this episode I chat with Valentino Longo, a Rome native who has bartended in Rome, London, and Miami. Now located in Miami, Valentino is the Head Bartender at the Four Seasons. He's competed in and won multiple national bartending titles, including the 2020 title of Most Imaginative Bartender. Since the competition he's launched the Shosin Art Club, an online platform bringing professional bartenders together to explore any and all bar-related topics as well as the ability to learn from world-class professionals in the spirits industry. Val and I discuss the importance of setting schedules for yourself to have better balance, how it's okay to want to be the best bartender in the world as long as you learn how to take care of yourself while working towards that goal, and how important it is to say no.
Focus On Health Ep 7: Marcia Polas
In this episode I chat with Marcia Polas, Pilates Instructor and Myofascial specialist located in New York City. Throughout her career, Marcia has dedicated herself to helping bartenders understand that it shouldn't hurt to do their jobs. We discussed the importance of learning from trained professionals when it comes to our health and wellness, how to make simple changes to your routine in protect your body, and most importantly that IT DOES NOT HAVE TO HURT TO DO YOUR JOB. To learn more about what Marcia teaches, and to see instructional videos on constructive rest and how to properly pink-ball your ass, head to www.marciapolas.com
Focus on Health Ep 6: Dr. Anne Brock
In this episode I chat with Dr. Anne Brock, Master Distiller for Bombay Sapphire, the Grand Rectifier for the Gin Guild, and all around incredible woman. We chatted about the fear of failure and how that fear can drive our decision making when it comes to opportunities in life and in our careers, imposter syndrome, taking the road less traveled, and handing anxiety and depression during big life changes.
Focus On Health Ep 5: Dr. Jeffery Jump
Dr. Jeffery Jump is an Internal Medicine Doctor in Chattanooga, TN, where he relocated with his wife, Terry, in 1996. After graduating from medical school with the United States Navy, he continued his studies in integrative medicine and homeopathy in Glasgow, Scotland. He opened the Center For Integrative Medicine in Chattanooga in 1998, where he still practices today. He is the Medical Director for the Primary Care Memorial Medical Group, as well as on a large number of local committees and boards of directors.
Focus On Health Ep 4: Chris Patino
In this episode of Focus on Health, Chris and I discuss having work/life balance, imposter syndrome, the pros & cons of working for large, multinational corporations, and how his priorities changed when he started a family. Chris is the co-owner of acclaimed bar & spirits Retail shop Raised by Wolves, the Founder of Simple Serve a trade-focused marketing agency, and the founder of Bartender’s Weekend in San Diego along with Erick Castro. Currently, Chris is battling cancer, and to help support his family you can donate directly with Another Round Another Rally's Chris Patino Hero Fund.
Focus On Health Ep 3: Laura Louise Green
In this episode I chat with Laura Louise Green, a veteran bartender, a spirits educator and a Licensed professional mental health counselor from Chicago, IL. Laura continues to integrate her clinical and academic experiences into her work in beverage by directing her research and professional focus towards spirits education, the mental health and wellness of F&B professionals, and the holistic health of the beverage industry. Through our chat we discussed how working in tipped positions and/or in service can have lasting effects on our mental health, how to be better & more empathetic managers, and the changes that we hope to see happen in the F&B industry.