Matthew Biancaniello, Mixologist at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel’s Library Bar, creates unrivaled specialties unlike anything ever experienced in Los Angeles before. One of the freshest and most unique talents to appear on the bartending scene, Biancaniello has found his niche by crafting cocktails based on farm-fresh foods, such as the Heirloom Tomato Mojito, the Last Tango in Modena, and the Roquette.
Impressively, Biancaniello only began bartending about three years ago when he transitioned out of a sales position with Time Out New York and began working for a catering company in Los Angeles. Self-taught, he read cocktail books to learn the basics, and when his wife gave him Dale DeGroff’s “The Essential Cocktail”, he started to view mixing cocktails as an art. His first official bartending job came at the Library Bar about a year and a half ago. He used his own time and money to revamp the bar from sour mixes to homemade syrups and fresh, local produce inspired by his farmer’s market finds, visiting five different markets weekly. In August of 2009, Biancaniello won the Chartreuse Sweet 16 Competition and in last February, he placed nationally in the 42 Below World Cup. He has been featured in the issues of Instyle, Imbibe and Bon Appetit magazines, The LA and New York Times and was a guest on the 8th season of Hell's Kitchen. Matthew won Best Bartender in LA from both table 20 and Eater LA in 2010
Working without a set cocktail menu, Biancaniello’s creations are based off of seasonal ingredients and unlikely pairings. Biancaniello may not have much history behind the bar, but his use of the freshest ingredients and his hunger for experimentation are what set him apart from the rest.
Author of the award-winning "The Craft of The Cocktail" and "The Essential Cocktail" (Random House), Dale DeGroff developed his extraordinary techniques and talent tending bar at great establishments - most notably, New York's famous Rainbow Room, where in the 1980s, he pioneered a gourmet approach to recreating the great classic cocktails.
A leading expert whose innovations have globally impacted the industry, Dale was awarded the James Beard Wine & Spirits Professional Award in 2009. He is a partner of Beverage Alcohol Resource (BAR), providing training and credentialing in distilled spirits and mixology.
Dale is also the founding president of The Museum of the American Cocktail in New Orleans, which features an exhibit that brings to life the colorful 200-year history of the cocktail. For more information, visit www.museumoftheamericancocktail.org.
Jessica Gelt writes about food and nightlife for the Los Angeles Times.
Johnny Iuzzini, Executive Pastry Chef at award winning Restaurant Jean-Georges and café Nougatine in New York City, hails from the Catskills in upstate New York. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America with twenty years of kitchen experience since the age of 15, he boasts a heavy list of experience at highly lauded dining locations such as The River Café in Brooklyn, NY, Daniel, Payard and Café Boulud in New York City. His enrichment continued during a journey around the world in 1998 as well as to study pastry at some of the finest patisseries in France including LaDuree under Pierre Herme.
Chef Iuzzini was deemed “Outstanding Pastry Chef of the Year” by the James Beard Foundation in 2006, followed by accolades such as “10 Most Influential Pastry Chefs in America” by Forbes Magazine, “Best New Pastry Chef” by New York Magazine, and named one of the “Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America” two years in a row by Pastry Arts and Design Magazine. Entwined in these rankings are several appearances on major network television shows including Martha Stewart, Paula Dean and Tony Danza, as well as being seen on Top Chef Chicago, The Today Show and Good Morning America. During the seven years that Chef Iuzzini has been the Executive Pastry Chef at Restaurant Jean-Georges, the restaurant has received four stars from the New York Times, as well as three Michelin stars, and is considered to one of the world’s 50 greatest restaurants. . Iuzzini is the head judge of Bravo’s new culinary competition series “Top Chef Just Desserts” and the author of Dessert Fourplay: Sweet Quartets From A Four-Star Pastry Chef.
Having been born and raised in Mitla, Oaxaca, rich in culinary tradition and indigenous food culture, there are two things Bricia cannot live without: Mole and Mezcal. Bricia comes from a long lineage of Oaxacan Mezcal craftsman. She grew up in her grandmothers kitchen where alongside her mother and sisters, lived the traditions of mole and true artisanal cooking.
Her family founded Guelaguetza in 1994, a Oaxacan restaurant that has become a temple to Oaxacan food and tradition in Los Angeles. She began working alongside her family in the restaurant at a very young age.
Bricia is a graduate of Mount Saint Mary's College, majoring in Business Administration. She is currently a partner at Guelaguetza and spearheads all operations. She has become a staunch proponent of Oaxacan culture and an integral figure in the gastronomic culture of Los Angeles.
Last year “Bricia” cocktails began popping up in LA’s bar scene with the first at La Descarga and Las Perlas, rumor has it there have been a couple more in Chicago. The “Sweet Bricia” made Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Jonathan Gold’s 2011 55 Essential Cocktails list. She has participated in several food and spirits panels discussing authenticity in Mexican cuisine and mezcal’s influence in mixology and in today’s spirits market. Most recently she was chosen one of LA Weekly's "Best of LA " in their annual People Issue. Bricia is currently working with GOT MILK on a summer Licuado campaign targeting the Hispanic market where she serves as a spokesperson mixing Oaxacan influenced ingredients with Milk for the perfect summer Licuado.
She has been quoted on her experteese by Conde Nast Traveler and the New Yorker. Referred to as a “Oaxacan Princess” by Jonathan Gold, Bricia and her family’s story has been featured on local television, numerous blogs and several publications including the Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, Los Angeles Magazine, Brand X, Sunset Magazine, and Travel and Leisure.
Marcos Tello is an accomplished bartender who is passionately committed to launching and sustaining a classic “cocktail culture” in Los Angeles. By consulting for various restaurants and lounges, he has successfully helped install classically inspired cocktail programs throughout the Los Angeles area, such as Seven Grand Whiskey Bar, Malo Restaurant in Silverlake, The Edison, and 1886 in Pasadena (a recent recipient of Food & Wine’s Best New Bar’s of 2011). Marcos is also founder and chairman of the craft-guild called The Sporting Life, which hosts monthly meetings to bring together bartenders and enthusiasts alike. To refine his artistry and the history of the trade, Marcos sought out, and studied with such cocktail guru’s as Sasha Petraske, Audrey Saunders, and Dale DeGroff and has also received his B.A.R. certification (the highest level of spirit and cocktail education in the country). Mr. Tello also resides as president of the Southern California Chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild. This pure passion was soon discovered and praised by prominent publications such as: The Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Food and Wine, GQ, and Bon Appetit. Currently he is found “behind-the-stick” at The Varnish and has teamed up with friend and longtime business associate Aidan Demarest to form Tello-Demarest Liquid Assests, a beverage program consultation firm. This native Angeleno is determined to cement Los Angeles’s place in the “Cocktail Revolution”.