The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2012

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BEYOND THE GLITZ AND GLAMOUR OF LAS VEGAS LIES A TRUE SPIRIT OF HOSPITALITY Patricia Richards is the Master Mixologist at the premier Steve Wynn properties, Wynn and Encore. She's responsible for their 25 bars. Patricia has a calm kindness about her that makes you want to visit every one of them. Bridget Albert: How is hospitality defined at a casino bar? Patricia Richards: At our casino bars we have Wynn steps of service, as well as Forbes standards that we follow. Additionally, we have our Wynn Promises and Values, which are core ideals about the way in which to conduct oneself on property. BA: What is the tradition of bartending in Vegas? Patricia: The tradition of bartending in Las Vegas has been the beer and shot experience. Things are changing rapidly, however, with the craft cocktail movement in full swing. I believe that Tony Abou-Ganim was the pioneer of the craft cocktail movement in Las Vegas, when he opened Bellagio—a Steve Wynn property at the time—in 1998 through 2003. It was his introduction of the craft cocktail experience to Las Vegas at a premier resort that really started a change in the cocktail landscape in Las Vegas. Thank you, Tony! We love you!!! BA: How do you maintain regular customers? Patricia: Las Vegas is highly transient as we have visitors from around the world, but creating a unique, exceptional guest experience is what brings people back, whether they are locals or tourists. Even when I'm a guest anywhere, I'm looking for quality, freshness, great service, warmth and perception of value. The Drink THAI COCONUT MOJITO ◗ 12 fresh mint Leaves ◗ 1 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice ◗ 1 kaffir lime Leaf (do not muddle!) ◗ 1 oz. natural coconut milk ◗ 1½ oz. house-made lemongrass- ginger simple syrup* ◗ 1¼ oz. Banks Rum ◗ 2 oz. Malibu Rum ◗ In a mixing glass, muddle mint with lime juice. Add remaining ingredients and shake with ice to chill. Drop contents of mixing tin into desired glassware. Add additional ice as needed. (Note: There is no club soda in this recipe!) Garnish with an edible orchid and a sugarcane stick. * Place 16 oz. fresh ginger root and 30 oz. fresh lemongrass (peeled and chopped) into 100 oz. simple syrup (1:1 ratio). Cover and infuse at room temperature for 15–20 hours. Simmer on stove top for 15 minutes. Allow cooling for an additional 15 minutes. Strain to remove all pulp. Cover and refrigerate. Expires in 4 weeks from made-on date. BA: What are some bad bartending habits when it comes to service, and what are your solutions? Patricia: At Wynn, we have a rigorous hiring system in place and we hire only the best. That being said, there are things I have seen in my 26 years in this industry. For example, leaning. "If you are leaning, then you can be cleaning" is my motto. The attitude of "That's not my job" makes me see red, especially when we are a team and we all need each other's help to be successful. Another bad habit is standing around doing nothing when business is slow. Did you check your mis-en-place to ensure that your well and bar are fully stocked for the next rush? Staying ahead of the game is key and can be overlooked in our business. Being proactive instead of reactive is essential for successful service, and consis- tent quality of product. Also, touching any part of your face, hair, money or a dirty ashtray and not washing your hands afterwards. Seriously? It's about being aware and conscious of all that you do. You are on stage, so please remember to act like it. Finally, TIPS is an acronym meaning "To Insure Proper Service." Appreciate all tips, even if they aren't as big as you think or hoped they would or should be. Just be grateful for everything, and this attitude will change your life! BA: With so many bars and so many bartenders, how do you do it?! Patricia: We have an entire team that works together symbiotically to keep it all humming. That being said, I am the Master Mixologist on property, responsible for 25 bars, so I'm busy all year long. This is a career that requires a certain com- mitment level, especially in a 24/7 city like Las Vegas. BA: What is your personal philosophy on exceptional service? Patricia: Treat others as you would have them treat you—graciously, with warmth and respect. BA: Where is the craziest place you have ever made a cocktail? Patricia: Macau, China. Two years ago, Mr. Wynn sent me there, to work on the Wynn Macau cocktail program and conduct staff training. It was a very cool experience! BA: Describe hospitality in one word. Patricia: I can't do it in one word, but rather two: being hospitable. august 2012 / the tasting panel / 95

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