With For the Love of Cocktails quickly approaching, participants are gearing up for the fun and creative Food Truck Cocktail Wars. Featured chefs and mixologists come together to create a one of a kind cocktail & food pairing experience. It will be equal parts tasting & competition that is focusing on the importance of a strong marriage between kitchen and bar. The results: very creative and very delicious cocktails and food. Our tastebuds, livers and stomachs are sure to be stimulated! February 11th, 10PM at the Gold Spike in Downtown Las Vegas.
Team #2: Tim Baer and Justin Kinsley Hall
How excited are about the event? How will your experience play into your performance?
What an Amazing and unparalleled opportunity for our team! I am honored and excited about this competition and the chance to work beside Chef Justin. Working one on one with a chef to create a concept where both show their metal is a first for me! I have worked with chefs to create flavor profiles for cocktails, but a specific cocktail to pair with a Chef’s dish is a first. Working with Dave Ponte and the bar team at Nobu is what sparked my interested in Mixology and reignited the passion in my 26-year career. I have strived to learn all I can about mixology from making purees and syrups to mixing with shrubs and exotic juices. Mr. Chow is my next challenge and working with Pete Gomez, another former Nobu Bar manager, has presented more room to create a new and exciting bar program and further develop my skills in Mixology. Being exposed to different exotic fruits and having bar managers to encourage creativity has let me to my cocktail ‘The Duke’ that we will be offering at food truck wars.”
What is your game plan for the competition?
“Chef and I have a lot of things in common including our past cultural relationships. We have discussed the flavor profiles of the cocktail and came up with a dish from our common Danish connection.
What is your favorite part of &/or greatest challenge with Food & Cocktail pairings?
“Where else can do you get the opportunity create something with a blank slate! It gives your imagination the chance to wonder what if! Then what next? Do you contrast, compliment, lead into or just pull a fusion? It is a lot to think about but that idea of unlimited potential lets you throw the rules out and just express your art! Looking at the playing field of teams is almost as exciting as the concept itself. I am hoping that I’ll get a chance to sample some of my competitor’s parings as well as learning from them about their concept and synergy that they create. What a better reason then for charity? The Helen David Relief Fund is bringing us all together to put out the best that we have to offer and push us to do better!
Tell me about the spirit that you will be using?”
“I am working with Basil Hayden’s for my cocktail. Created by Master Distiller Basil Hayden, this bourbon broke the rules of the time by adding rye and grains to contrast the sweetness of corn to create a flavor profile of citrus, pepper, and spice. Basil Hayden took the lead in my cocktail with its spicy bourbon being the forward flavor and will mix perfectly with Yuzu and my Fig & Balsamic shrub.”
Anything that you’d like to add?
“Thank you for this opportunity and may all your bottoms be up!”
Chef Justin Kingsley Hall
Chef, where do you see the marriage of food & drink?
“As chefs we spend a lot of time pairing food with wine, and now beer pairings are becoming more respected. I’ve always loved collaboration, so the chance to work with cocktail pairings is always an exciting opportunity. You’re able to play with such a vast profile of flavors as well as textures that it allows a chef to look at it as one coherent experience rather than food/drink. The two bleed into one another very easily. The challenge if at all is that you have two very creative people mapping that idea from two different sides of the table.”
Can you tell us a little about your background?
“Along with consulting, I teach at the Art Institute of Las Vegas and assist in the kitchen at Southern Wine & Spirits. I’ve catered anything from high end home dinners to beer festivals, the Further Festival last year, Life is Beautiful and work with several chefs whenever asked. In the past I worked for Comme Câ under Brian Howard both here in Vegas and West Hollywood. I’ve also lived and worked in the Central Coast of California, Florida, and North Carolina (not cooking in NC). My experience from working in fine dining to pop-ups; I’m comfortable in any environment. It surprising what you can accomplish when pushed to do your best.”