Always on the Move – Lauren Mote is inspired by creativity.
Some people are born to wear multiple hats and Co-Proprietor and Bar Manager Lauren Mote is one of them.
It all started for the 32-year-old when she entered the food and beverage industry at 16. Her career as a bartender began as soon as she was legally able to.
“I started behind the bar at an experimental restaurant in the Yorkville district of Toronto. The venue was an offshoot of Club Monaco’s flagship store at the corner of Avenue Road and Bloor Street; aptly called Club Monaco Patio & Café. From a distance you could see the glistening bottles on the back bar, smartly dressed staff and well-to-do guests. It really felt like being in Los Angeles. What a place to start – I felt like I was forced into good taste from the very beginning,” Mote shares.
Honing her skills has helped Mote develop her love of bartending and the industry.
“I love that I’m on stage, and my team is on stage. It’s true that you’re only as good as the last cocktail you’ve made, but the experience is the genuine reward in bartending. Being in the industry for as long as I have has allowed me to develop my comedic sensibilities, as well as my hospitality-focused and flavour-driven approach. It’s amazing to see how the young, up-and-coming bartenders are developing those same characteristics.”
Since 2010 she has been proud to build innovative bars and passionate personnel teams, and further the development of apprentice bartenders and novice hospitality professionals. Her goal is to reach a broader audience across Canada and other markets. By unveiling new local, national and international programming in 2015-16 she’ll be able to do just that.
Her greatest achievement however is building her own business Bittered Sling with her partner Jonathan Chovancek.
While Mote was solely dedicated to building the Bittered Sling Extracts brand and running Kale & Nori for a couple of years she returned to the bar scene in the fall of 2013 to become bar manager at UVA Wine & Cocktail Bar.
“The menu at UVA is influenced by global flavours and cultures. We focus on cocktails that are complex and interesting, and on curating a never-ending back bar. The program is separated into three categories: Signature Shakes, Stirred and Seasonal Cocktails. This menu includes an impressive spirits list with unique bottles of whisky, rum, gin, vermouth, sherry and grappa. It also boasts a massive line-up of spirits from fernet and amaro families,” says Mote.
It is clear that Mote enjoys wearing different hats and likes what they represent.
She also has many consulting roles such as developing the cocktail and bartender training programs at Burdock & Co. and YEW seafood + bar at the Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver, and The Nash Restaurant & Off Cut Bar in Calgary.
“I didn’t intend to be involved in so many things, but as an idea person and some who’s always on the move I found it impossible not to execute new and innovative projects that branched off from one another. I’m currently trying to find a way to incorporate additional projects that are incredibly exciting, but they have to fall into the same category of things I’m already committed to. I value all of my projects, but it’s important to really buckle down and focus on the ones that build our brand,” she explains.
Another involvement for Mote is her role at the Canadian Professional Bartenders Association (CPBA). “The CPBA has been a baby of mine since 2011. I was honoured to join a dedicated crew of bartenders in the early stages of its life, and to affect positive changes and growth in the BC, Alberta and Ontario markets. For quite awhile I was building events locally and nationally, but since the birth of Bittered Sling I’ve relinquished my directorship duties and moved into an associate brand role. Since 2013 I’ve played more of an advisory role; offering advice and support to the current leadership and representing them in the Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto markets.”
The saying goes ‘If the shoe fits; wear it.’ In Mote’s case it is definitely ‘if the hat fits’…
It is clear that she wears all of her hats well, and will continue to do so far into the future; even as more hats are added.
By Nicole Sherwood. Reprinted with permission from Bar and Beverage.