Gabrielle Miynarczyk was bartending at Los Angeles’ acclaimed restaurant Ink, from Chef Michael Voltaggio, when she did the TasteLA food festival last year. Bobby Navarro, founder of Inspire Artistic Minds, the Orange County based foundation dedicated to helping educate and enhance the careers of the restaurant industry, was walking around the event. As she explained, “I met Bobby last year at the Taste LA event, the LA Times Food Festival on Labor Day Weekend. One day on the weekend, Bobby approached me at the end of our our presentation for Michael Voltaggio. Bobby gave me his card, told me a bit about the organizations and asked me to contact him if I was interested”.
Gaby continued, “This last year, I wanted to go to Portland Cocktail Week but funds were a bit tight. I talked to Bobby, filled out the information they wanted and they awarded me a grant to go to Portland Cocktail Week. It really was beneficial, from seeing what other bartenders were doing and attending classes, one by two of my favorite idols in the bar industry, one from New York and one from England. They’ve really influenced the way I make cocktails. It was real interesting to hear what they had to say first hand”.
This year, Gaby will be at PigOut 3.0, coming up on Sunday, August 24. She said, “I’m going to be bar tending at one of the stalls doing a barbecued version of a Bloody Mary cocktail. We’re actually doing a similar one for a crab cake event for a charity event this weekend. The event is called OOH-MAMA. It’s sort of like umami. It’s got soy sauce in it……….It’s really savory, like a barbecued pork version of a Bloody Mary”.
Gaby believes in creativity with her drinks and thinks that bar tending is the best way to bring her creativity out. “I like telling stories through drinks pretty much. I usually start with stories, as an inspiration, currently, I’m working on Moby Dick. I do a cocktail blog that is based on Moby Dick. It is the journey, exploring the journey, Captain Ahab chasing Moby Dick thru the seas, and every port that they stop in, so each drink is influenced by an area that they stop in”.
Gaby continued her story, “For instance, at Cape Cod, vodka, cranberry, a little big of thyme and vermouth. When they are passing the Caribbean we use tiki influences like ginger and rum. So why we’re trying to build a story from an initial inspiration. Sometimes I’ll just stick with a color like our tequila cocktail that we have on the menu now is based around red berries, a strawberry lambic, we;’e got sherry in there that adds some loveliness to it, the color of course, we kind of stick themes in from all around the story”.
Gaby is a perfect example of who Inspire Artistic Minds was created for. By taking someone in the restaurant industry with talent and skill and enabling to do things to further their career through education, not only does it help the server or bartender who wants to enhance their career, but it also helps raise the quality of the restaurants in Orange County by increasing the quality of the staff. Gaby said, “I think Inspiring Artistic Minds is a wonderful way to encourage people to want to learn. And the Pig Out is a perfect way to bring people together and recognizing that there is more that just work, there is education, finding new things!”.
PigOut 3.0 will be held on August 24, 2014 from 3 to 7pm. Purchases of a special VIP ticket will be able to attend a pre-event champagne reception at 2pm with the Chefs, as well as a complimentary dessert item. Proceeds of the benefit will go towards helping the Inspire Artistic Minds program. An auction also will be held at the event, for the attendees to get freshly cut, wrapped, packed and ready to cook parts of the Templeton Rye Duroc pig at home. Craft cocktails from the bartenders will be paired with many of the dishes. A pig farmer Q and A and a knife skills demonstration will also be on tap for the event.
Sunday, August 24, 2014 from 3 to 7pm
Event to be held at California Scenario (Noguchi Gardens)
611 Anton Blvd.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626