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432 W Pender St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1T5

Fine Art Bartending’s Instructor Hall of Fame

Over the years we have had some really great bartending instructors. Bartenders are a very mobile group of people with always something shiny and new to move on to. Considering we hire bartenders to teach our students what to expect from the industry today, it makes sense that there is a little turnover on even the teaching side of things. Considering the time we put into training these great teachers, and the number of students they have shared their knowledge with… we capture their profiles for posterity’s sake. This isn’t of course also because students seem to forget who their instructor was 🙂

Matthew Phelps

bartender instructor nightMatthew has a passion for the fundamentals of cocktails. Originally starting his working career in sales and management, Matthew found his skills are better suited to mixing drinks. After moving to Vancouver, he started his cocktailing career at the convention centre. After a stint doing event bartending, Matthew headed out to UBC to mix up drinks for the university crowd at the Pit Pub and Gallery 2.0 (yes, he worked with Al).

The university pub crowd was exciting, but Matthew moved on to fine dining at West on Granville. Here he was able to explore the intricacies of cocktail creation for a high-end crowd. A short stint at Glowbal followed that, with many stories. His most recent bartending gig was just down the street at Darby’s.

Matthew has seen a ton of different work environments, knows his whiskies and has a wealth of information to share… plus some easy resume and job hunting tips.

Graham Masters

cocktail bartenderGraham brings over 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry, including bartending, managing and even kitchen experience to the table. He has always had a passion for teaching, which makes him a natural. Trained as a chef, Graham moved to bartending as a means to satisfy his desire to mix and mingle various ingredients. He started his bartending career in Calgary at a little place called the Milk Tiger Lounge and after growing tired of the long, cold winters he packed his stuff and came out to the coast.

After moving to Vancouver, he landed in the craft cocktail scene working a few different venues in Gastown including the prestigious Revel Room. In addition to those smaller venues, he has also worked the bar at Chill Winston and Guilt and Co. as well as Vancouver’s classiest strip joint Brandi’s. Graham did a bit of juggling as a kid, and has incorporated that dexterity into a bit of flash and flair behind the bar. Years of entertaining customers definitely helps when now applying his skills as a bartending instructor.

His first day walking into 432 West Pender, he felt like he was home. Now Graham is ready to impart a little of the bartending wisdom gained over his years. Did we forget to mention he is also an artist? Maybe we will have a mural or two on the walls before long.

Jon Gagnon

Jon GagnonJon has a decade of experience in the restaurant industry, having served and bartended in restaurants and bars in both Edmonton and Vancouver. He also tours Canada as a standup comedian with Yuk Yuks in addition to doing gigs right here in town.

Jon got started in an Italian restaurant, which gave him a crash course in all things wine related. In addition to wine service, Jon also tended bar and perfected the martini for those very particular customers. After a few years, Jon was ready to move to the west coast to pursue new opportunities.

Jon landed at Moxie’s while developing his stand up routines, then moved on to Gastown’s Revel Room for a great new change of scenery. He now spends nights as a bartender manager at Rogers Arena and gets his choice of hockey games or concerts to work. If you are lucky, you might catch him doing a little standup across the street from the school at Yagger’s.

Devin Wilhelmson

Devin has done almost every job in the industry from coat-check to management, in every kind of bar from diner to nightclub. For the last couple years, Devin has been a near full time bartending instructor with us at Fine Art.

Originally from Vancouver Island, Devin started his career working the door at Nanaimo’s Level Two Nightclub. In a span of just two years, Level Two promoted him through the ranks of bussing to bartender, then bartender to management, before finally asking him to run the entire club. After three years in charge there, he branched out to mix drinks with Original Joe’s sports bar chain and Nanaimo’s own Modern Cafe.

More recently, Devin has worked the bar at Milestones in Vancouver. Today, he focuses on his love of DJ’ing at local nightclubs and bartending private high end events. During the week though, he teaches here with us at Fine Art, sharing first-hand experience on how to rise through the industry and run a successful bar.

Jeroemie McKiel

bartending teachersJeroemie has over 20 years of industry experience, which includes 5 years of dedicated teaching at Fine Art Bartending. He now spends his time behind the bar at high end hotels. He was last teaching specialty classes like our Intro to Bartending class.

At the age of 18 Jeroemie went to Bartending School in Toronto, and then got to work right after. He spent the first few years of his career working in various nightclubs throughout Ontario and Quebec. This even included a stint at Toronto’s famous Dock’s Nightclub. He soon realized though, that with the skill of bartending, he could set out to see the world.

Jeroemie’s bartending travels started in Britain working in various pubs throughout England, Ireland, and Scotland. Then when he’d seen his fare share of the UK, he moved on to see the rest of Europe. Gigs included working at all kinds of hotel bars across the Mediterranean. He even worked the bar on cruise lines occasionally to get from one country to the next. Jeroemie also took his skills down under, pouring pints all over Australia including at the world famous Bojangles Saloon. After years of travelling, and pouring literally thousands of drinks, Jeroemie decided to return to Canada, but not before a quick stop in New York to pour just a few more drops. Eventually, Jeroemie came back home, settling here in Vancouver.

Jeroemie has picked up a massive store of knowledge of all things drinkable. Add to that, an endless catalogue of stories from behind the world’s most famous bar tops. He’s been able to enjoy such a diverse career because of the effortless rapport he shares with his customers.

Ryan Boyd

Ryan was been with Fine Art Bartending School Vancouver for more than 12 years now. Over that time Ryan was the lead bartending instructor and manager. Ryan took on the daunting task of teaching our students the basics of Working Flair Bartending. Finally, a short list of Ryan’s career highlights include:

  • Graduated from Fine Art Bartending School Vancouver in 1994
  • 18 years of bartending at Bar None, Pop Opera, Luce, La Terrazza, The Roxy, Richards on Richards, Voda Nightclub & Lounge, Mars Nightclub
  • 10 years Instructor/Performer/Lead Instructor with the largest Flair Bartending training company in the world: extremebartending.com
  • Organized, judged, competed-in & won various Flair Bartending & Cocktail competitions locally & internationally
  • Featured Flair Bartending & Customer Service Trainer in the worlds #1 best selling Working Flair & Customer service DVD series
  • Exhibited, performed, and spoke at various international trade shows
  • Featured in Bar & Beverage and Night Club & Bar Magazine
  • Appeared on various TV programs showcasing & promoting Flair Bartending
  • Winner of National Martini, Cocktail, and Flair Competitions
  • Traveled extensively internationally training hundreds of Nightclub, Casino and Restaurant Bartenders in Working Flair Bartending
  • Consulted in the areas of Customer Service, Efficiency, Cocktail Menu Creation, Wine List Creation, and Suggestive Selling Techniques
  • Continues to pursue a passion for wine, touring vineyards locally & internationally

If you want to become part of the team and learn how to teach some bartending basics… send us a resume. Have a look at our Jobs page for a rundown on what we might be looking for in a bartending instructor.

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