A few weeks ago, I went on a first date at Pretty Ugly Bar, on Queen West in Parkdale. The date didn’t lead to anything, but it did get me acquainted not only with the bar’s incredibly well curated cocktail menu, but with the curator of said menu herself, Bar manager Evelyn Chick.
Evelyn began her bartending career in Vancouver, but gained national notoriety for her fearlessness with flavor. She’s certified on many levels, including, BarSmarts certification, WSET, Certified Specialist of Spirits. She’s also made a name for herself at multiple national & international cocktail competitions including a recent win at the Global Beefeater MIXLDN championships; where she represented Canada against 31 other countries and was crowned first in the world for her mixing skills.
Evelyn’s approach to cockailing is that the difference is in the hospitality. And after spending some time at her bar with her behind it, I know that she walks the walk and talks the talk. She’s welcoming, open and engaging, and makes a mean cocktail, no matter what spirit you enjoy. This weekend Evelyn will be at the Restaurants Canada Show, where she will be speaking on multiple panels and co-presenting the Speek Rack Canada Mixology competition. The competition, taking place on February 25th at the Enercare Centre, is organized for and by women and helps raise funds for Rethink Breast Cancer.
I got the chance to chat with Evelyn before the show about how she came to find her dream job.
What is your official title? Do you have one?
Bar Manager of PrettyUgly Bar in Parkdale/ Speed Rack Canada Coordinator
How did you get into your current line of work?
At first, did it for the cash. Started working at a large restaurant chain and really loving the service aspect of it. Slowly found out my passion for bartending, then working VERY hard on improving upon that, eventually got some recognition for my work, so moved onto bar management. From there, started to realize the potential for growth in the small market that is the Canadian cocktail industry – started focusing on community-based opportunities like Speed Rack, while building and nurturing a bar team that would take over as the next power generation.
Did you go to school/get training for your dream job?
No schooling , but definitely lots of training, lots of homework. You are constantly learning of new skills, techniques, products…. sky’s the limit
Is this a job you attained or did you create it for yourself?
Bit of both? You definitely have to pay your dues, then fight for what you wish to do.
What was your first job ever?
A dog walker. I just love dogs.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
I would be absolutely lost. I love the food & beverage industry, so whatever it is, I’m in. There is just so much I haven’t tapped into.
What accomplishment/achievement are you most proud of?
Representing Canada at the Beefeater MIXLDB Global Cocktail Competition and being crowned #1 in the world. Not just for myself, but for my team at home and all my colleagues who have supported throughout.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to find their dream job but hasn’t yet?
Never stop looking. You never know when and how an opportunity is going to present itself. You’ll know it’s your dream job if it stops becoming a job
Catch Evelyn at The RCShow18 leading 2 discussion a panels Leading Ladies behind the Bar, and Canada on the World Stage, as well as seminars on nurturing your Bar Team, and conscientious Bartending. For more information on the show and how to attend, click here.