Name: Jillian Dagenais
1. Where are you from?
2. Where do you currently work?
3. How long have you been in the industry?
4. If you could visit any bar in the world or work with any other bartender in the world for one night who would it be?
Anywhere in Japan with the likes of some of the best bartenders in the world. I am captivated by the art of cocktails in Japan.
6. Who is your mentor, if you have one?
Tracy Turnbull (owner and friend – The Moonroom). She has been my biggest fan and supporter since day one – even before I worked at The Moonroom – when I was still at the bar next door.
7. Why do you feel MADE WITH LOVE, as a cocktail competition, is important for the Industry in Ottawa?
I love that this event is taking place here in Ottawa. Not only for the cocktail culture and community but for the city as well. There is so much to do here, you just have to look for it. This is one of those things. I look forward to seeing everyone in the same room sharing the same passion – it can only get better.
8. What is the skill you look for in a competitor when you are judging?
Balance and technique – I come from the school of classic cocktails.
9. What is the most impressive thing you have ever seen a bartender do at a competition?
For most people that know me (a lot of these competitors I would consider my friends), they know that I am not easily wowed. I have always been in favor of the ‘smoking ice cube’ though… Now that’s magic.
10. What’s the most frequent error competitors do in a competition?
Inconsistency. It always pains me when I try a cocktail that is just right and then turn to the person on my left and ask them for a taste just to find out that they’ve missed something.
11. What’s the biggest challenge a judge has?
We have to be unbiased and let the drink speak for itself. It can be hard when the community is as tight as ours.
12. What is the most precious advice you could give to a competitor?
Just remember everyone in the room is the best of the best. You’ve already proven that you all deserve to stand among each other. It’s just another day behind the wood. Be yourself and enjoy it!
A series of memorable events bringing you to a place of intense creativity and entertainment.