by Lauren Mote
Once again I found myself at Voya Restaurant a few nights ago. Vancouver’s top bartenders congregated in front of Voya’s bar to sample some of bar manager Jay Jones’ new creations, and then sit down to a three-course meal, where each dish was spiked with either Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge, or Navan Vanilla cognac. This was a dinner to qualify a top bartender for the Grand Marnier Summit in Vail, Colorado, …by invitation only. Amongst the smiling faces that evening, Chambar’s Wendy McGuinness, Cin-Cin’s Colin Turner, George’s Shaun Layton, Boneta’s Simon Kaulback, Hamilton Street Grill’s Ryan Cheverie, Granville Room’s Trevor Kallies, and The Fairmont Hotel’s Marco Pelliccia, and of course, I was representing Chow Restaurant, and had a smile big and bright like the Cherish cat.
Although this was a “bartender appreciation dinner”, what would come next really peaked everyone’s curiosity and competitive side. Emily Patterson, representative to the Grand Marnier brand in Vancouver, explained why we were rubbing elbows together, followed by the rules and regulations surrounding an exciting event in the very near future.
“GRAND MARNIER and NAVAN are looking to hire the nation’s best bartenders as consultants to participate in the third GRAND MARNIER and NAVAN Mixology Summit in Vail, Colorado (Sunday, April 5 –Tuesday, April 7, 2009). If selected, GRAND MARNIER and NAVAN will use your skills to help build their great brands. In addition to learning from your mixology expertise, we will have fun in Vail — skiing, snow tubing, seminars, dining and parties.” (http:/www.mixologysummit.com/Event.aspx)
Winners across North America will be selected using a points system. Each will receive points for attending the dinner at Voya for starters, followed by significant points given for original recipes submitted by the mixologist for the “Grand Marnier Encyclopedia of Cocktails” (each participant will receive one), and concluded by the cocktails’ addition to the bartender’s cocktail program at their home restaurant.
Voya Restaurant’s Sous Chef Tret Jordan prepared a delicious three course accompaniment to match Marnier – Lapostolle owned Chateau de Sancerre (Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc) and Chile’s Casa Lapostolle (Bordeaux black grape varieties) and Jay Jones’ original cocktails that seemed to continuously emerge from the bar throughout the evening.
Grand Marnier would send us home today with a 750mL bottle of their signature Cordon Rouge, and their Navan Vanilla Cognac to peak the taste-buds and creative brain-waves. On their official website for the Grand Marnier summit in Vail, it states that each mixologist must submit 5 original recipes; 4 made from the signature Cordon Rouge orange-infused cognac, and 1 from the natural Navan Vanilla Cognac – after tonight’s incredible display of creativity, Jay Jones already has a significant head-start.
Be on the lookout, and support your local bartenders as they strive towards Vail, and have a chance at becoming the next Iron “Bar” Chef. Other participating restaurants/bartenders include DB Bistro Moderne and Brown’s Social Room.
For more brand specific information, please visit