THE NEW BREED | The Hard Work And Smiles Of ‘Nomad’ Barman Matthew ‘Benny’ Benevoli

March 23, 2017.

IMG_4138

We often hear the same names of Vancouver hospitality titans in local media. They do very well to represent and have done so for years. We work up thirsts and appetites following their exploits and look forward to trying whatever it is they come up with next, but we seldom consider the individuals who toil in relative anonymity alongside them, and we’re often late in introducing those destined to join them in their starry pantheon. This series of short interviews looks to introduce our readers to this new breed, one blossoming talent at a time.

——————————————————–

by Shaun Layton | This week check in on Matthew Benevoli, the barman at Nomad on Main Street. “Benny” is a guy I think of anytime I think I work a lot or I find myself exhausted. I remember at one point he was working for at least two bars in town and one morning he wheeled in a box of fresh fish at the restaurant I was working at. I looked at him, stunned. What are you doing, Benny? “I work for these guys during the day doing deliveries,” he said. Because two night jobs didn’t keep him busy enough! The guy caught my attention pretty quick as he was the wide-eyed keener at every tasting, competition or bar-centric event held in Vancouver. The only thing bigger than his ear to ear perma-smile was his enthusiasm. People like Matt who have the gift of natural likability can rise up the ranks very quickly. And with a thirst for knowledge and a hard work ethic, look out!

Matt recently made the move to Nomad where he overseas the bar program. Catch him on the wood or keep an eye out for him delivering all the goodies from Snowcap around the city. Matthew recently won the annual cocktail competition at the Science of Cocktails event, a fundraiser put on at Science World with the CPBA. (Recipe at the bottom of the interview.)

Years in the Game: 10 | Current: Nomad Restaurant
Formerly: Blackbird Public House & Oyster Bar, Butcher & Bullock, One20 Public House, Westminster Club
Career Highlights: Main Street Cup Winner, Bloody Caesar Battle @ Cornucopia Winner, Science Of Cocktails 2017 Competition Winner

First bartending job? One of my friends was getting married and he knew I made drinks at home, so he asked if I would like to bartend his wedding reception. I accepted, but it turned out I would also be a valet driver and usher. It was lots of fun, everyone was chatty and drinking which made it easy for me. Little did I know one of the bride’s friends I was flirting with would one day become my wife…

The moment that it went from a part time “gig” to a career? I was always the guy making cocktails at family gatherings and house parties as something fun to do. Everyone always loved it and I would be asked regularly if I could bring my bar kit. One day I received a phone call from the GM of the Westminster Club. He asked me if I would like to work a private member’s party as an audition. I accepted. It was fun, intense, crazy and a blur. I thought I was going to get a thanks but no thanks but instead I got a high-five handshake and was told they had another event coming up for me. I stayed as lead barman until the business sold and closed its doors.

IMG_4104

Advice for other up & comers? If they are fortunate enough to get a great leader/mentor, they should be a sponge to every bit of knowledge that is shared. Ask questions, lots of questions. Don’t just know how to do things but why you do them. There are so many great people with diverse experiences and viewpoints; take it all in and take the best from everyone you learn from and make it a part of you. Self growth is a key to success

Favourite three bartenders you’ve worked with? I don’t remember his name but there was a bartender in Cuba…I taught him how to make a Manhattan and he was blown away. Micah Dew and Greg Dickson. Micah mentored me and helped me in the beginning of my professional bartending career. Greg and I had the most amazing shift I’ve ever had; we were like Shaq & Kobe. Both Micah and Greg became close friends.

Three bartenders you’d like to work with? There are so many! But to name three, I’d have to say David Wolowidnyk, Tarquin Melnyk and Lauren Mote. I think there is so much I could learn from all of them. I’ve picked up a little something from each of them along the way.

Guilty pleasure in the beverage world? Blue Curacao! What can I say? I like blue drinks, like Romulan Ale (if you know me, you know what I’m talkin’ about).

If you could be a Brand Ambassador for any brand, which one would it be? Courvoisier. It was my first love in the spirit world. After visiting them in France, it gave me a whole new appreciation for developing such a complex and balanced spirit.

Favourite city in the world for food and drink? Fuengirola in the south of Spain. Freshly caught seafood in both classic and contemporary dishes, Spanish wine and sangria on the beach….ahhhhh…Sorry, I was somewhere else for a moment. The sangria is a must when in Spain.

Dive bar you love, and the beer you’re drinking there? The Station pub in Surrey; wings and Heineken.

Any bar in the world you could stage at? Little Red Door in Paris. It’s a cool little room, great drinks and greater hospitality filled with people from all over the world.

Biggest fear? Zombies! And I don’t mean multiple rounds of the cocktail. I don’t know why but I used to watch all the zombie movies and then it’s like a switch flipped and now I have nightmares. Between that and the drink chit printer going non-stop, I’ve had a few rough nights sleep.

A trend that should have been 86’d a long time ago? Salt and lime with tequila shots. If you can’t handle a tequila shot, I’ll give you fernet. I guarantee you’ll be able to shoot tequila no problem after that.

Best skill outside of work? I’m a goalie in hockey. I enjoy being the last line of defence and coming up big for the team.

Sidecar or French 75? I’m a Sidecar kinda guy…had a really awesome one in Las Vegas at the Montecristo Cigar Bar. It pairs well with a cigar. I loves me some cigars!

Good service or speedy drinks? If the service is good, I don’t mind waiting a few minutes for a great drink.

Favorite Vancouver hood? Main Street. I feel like the community is so diverse, inclusive and always evolving. I’m proud to be a part of it.

Jigger or free pour? Jigger. I really enjoy working on Japanese style jigger movements and the elegance of the pour. But sometimes you just need to pick up four bottles and go for it.

IMG_4106

Favourite chef? It’s a close one between my grandma, my mom and my wife. Grandma cooks amazing Indian-African cuisine; my mom cooks the same with some Italian mixed in; and my wife’s German cooking is authentic Bavarian.

Favourite ingredient to work with? Vermouth, it can add so much complexity to a cocktail and is great on the rocks.

Go to bar for a “cheeky”? Portland Craft. They’re good people.

Facebook or Instagram? Facebook, but I should probably post more on Instagram.

Favourite Vancouver season? Summer. Warm long days and shorts at the beach.

Good customer who tips bad or douchebag who tips huge? I’d rather a good customer who I’m able to have a great time with; a laugh, a story, a conversation. You never know, they might not be in a position to tip a lot but would really like to have a little time where they don’t have to think about the usual day-to-day stresses.

American or Canadian Whisky? Canadian. Because reasons.

Bar tool you can’t live without? A good two piece tin shaker. I’ll figure the rest out.

Post-work drink — what is it, where is it, and who is making it? Butcher & Bullock, Negroni and sleeve of pilsner on a good night. Old Fashioned and stout on a rough night. Buda is making it! Sometimes Mike, but usually Buda.

Two others in your era you would recommend for The New Breed? Budamir Krga & Shane Ely.

THE CAMPFIRE by Matthew Benevoli

IMG_4122

(Science of Cocktails 2017 cocktail competition winner)

40ml Buffalo Trace bourbon
20ml Dry vermouth
15ml Ginger syrup
10ml Lemon juice
2 Dashes Orange/Juniper Bitters

Torch cedar plank, place rocks glass upside down over flame to extinguish and coat glass with smoke.

Shake all ingredients with ice, double strain over fresh ice in Cedar-Smoked Rocks glass & garnish with flamed lemon twist

EXPLORE THIS NEIGHBOURHOOD

#ScoutThis

There are 2 comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

People Getting to know Vancouverites, one by one…

DEFINITIVE RECORDS | Royal Dinette’s Chen-Wei Lee Picks His Three Foundational Albums

DEFINITIVE RECORDS | Royal Dinette’s Chen-Wei Lee Picks His Three Foundational Albums

photo courtesy Royal Dinette by Thalia Stopa | Definitive Records asks interesting Vancouverites to reach deep inside their souls to pull out the three albums… more 

THE NEW BREED | Mackenzie Room’s Mathew Bishop On Dumplings And Why Poke Must Die

THE NEW BREED | Mackenzie Room’s Mathew Bishop On Dumplings And Why Poke Must Die

We often hear the same names of Vancouver hospitality titans in local media. They do very well to represent and have done so for years. We work up thirsts and… more 

INTERVIEW | Lumota Designer Johnna Puusa Talks Shop & More Before ‘Address Assembly’

INTERVIEW | Lumota Designer Johnna Puusa Talks Shop & More Before ‘Address Assembly’

Photos: Johnna Puusa Johnna Puusa fell for Scandinavian and mid-century modern design nearly two decades ago while living with her Swedish step-grandmother… more 

DEFINITIVE RECORDS | Local Musician Louise Burns Reveals The Albums Behind Her Tastes

DEFINITIVE RECORDS | Local Musician Louise Burns Reveals The Albums Behind Her Tastes

Photo: Jennilee Marigomen by Thalia Stopa | Definitive Records asks interesting Vancouverites to reach deep inside their souls to pull out the three albums… more 

BIG INTERVIEW | Eleven Minutes With Kleah Michnik, Owner Of Chinatown’s Charlie & Lee

BIG INTERVIEW | Eleven Minutes With Kleah Michnik, Owner Of Chinatown’s Charlie & Lee

Photo: Rebecca McColgan by Thalia Stopa | There’s something about the atmosphere of Chinatown’s Charlie & Lee boutique that makes it more than just… more 

INTERVIEW | A Chat With Portland Artist Ross Jackson Before The YVR Comic Arts Festival

INTERVIEW | A Chat With Portland Artist Ross Jackson Before The YVR Comic Arts Festival

by Thalia Stopa | Ross Jackson is a Portland-based comic artist, writer and pizza delivery man who occasionally teaches children’s comics classes at the… more 

THE NEW BREED | ‘St. Lawrence’ Chef Ashley Kurtz On Mangling Hands & Loving Old Diners

THE NEW BREED | ‘St. Lawrence’ Chef Ashley Kurtz On Mangling Hands & Loving Old Diners

We often hear the same names of Vancouver hospitality titans in local media. They do very well to represent and have done so for years. We work up thirsts and… more 

DEFINITIVE RECORDS | Juke Fried Chicken’s Justin Tisdall Explains His 3 Favourite Albums

DEFINITIVE RECORDS | Juke Fried Chicken’s Justin Tisdall Explains His 3 Favourite Albums

by Thalia Stopa | Definitive Records asks interesting Vancouverites to reach deep inside their souls to pull out the three albums anchoring their musical… more 

The scout Community

49th Parallel Coffee Roasters & Lucky’s Doughnuts Acorn Agrius Ai & Om Alibi Room Ancora Waterfront Dining & Patio Anh and Chi AnnaLena Araxi Arbor Ask For Luigi Au Comptoir Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie Bar Oso Bauhaus Beach Bay Café & Patio Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe Bel Café Bestie Bishop’s Bistro Wagon Rouge Bittered Sling Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar Botanist Bottleneck Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar Bufala Burdock & Co. Cabrito Cacao Cadeaux Bakery Café Medina Caffè Artigiano Camp Lifestyle + Coffee Co. Campagnolo Campagnolo ROMA Cartems Donuterie Chambar Chefs’ Table Society of BC Chez Christophe Chocolaterie Patisserie  Chicha Chill Winston ChocolaTas Chocolate Arts Cibo Trattoria Cinara CinCin Ristorante + Bar Cioffi’s Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill Cocktails & Canapes Catering + Events Cook Culture Culinary Capers Catering & Special Events Dirty Apron Cooking School & Delicatessen District Brasserie Dixie’s Authentic Texas BBQ Earnest Ice Cream East Van Roasters Cafe Edible Canada Elementa Espana Fable Fanny Bay Farmer’s Apprentice Fat Mao Fernwood Coffee Company Field & Social Forage Giovane Cafe + Eatery Gotham Steakhouse & Bar Grain Granville Island Grapes & Soda Greenhorn Espresso Bar Gyoza Bar Hart House Restaurant Harvest Community Foods Hawksworth Restaurant Heirloom Heritage Asian Eatery Homer Street Cafe & Bar Hy’s Steakhouse Irish Heather Jamjar JJ Bean Joe Pizza Joy Road Catering Juice Truck Juke Fried Chicken Juniper Keefer Bar Kin Kao Kissa Tanto Knifewear Kozakura Kuma Tofino L’Abattoir La Buca La Mezcaleria La Pentola La Quercia La Taqueria Pinche Taco Shop Les Amis du Fromage Lions Pub, The Liquidity Bistro Lobby Lounge + RawBar Longtail Kitchen Made By Pacific Maenam Mak N Ming Mamie Taylor’s MARKET by Jean-Georges Matchstick Coffee Roasters Meinhardt Fine Foods Miku Restaurant Milano Coffee Minami Miradoro Mission Mister Mogiana Coffee Mosquito Nero Belgian Waffle Bar Nicli Antica Pizzeria Nightingale Nomad Nook Nuba Oakwood Canadian Bistro OLO OPUS Bar Osteria Savio Volpe Oyama Sausage Co. Pallet Coffee Roasters Pat’s Pub & BrewHouse Pidgin Pizzeria Farina Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn, The Pourhouse Railtown Cafe Railtown Catering Rain Or Shine Ice Cream Red Wagon, The Revolver Coffee Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co. Royal Dinette Salt Tasting Room Savoury Chef Shaughnessy Restaurant Shebeen Whisk(e)y House Shelter Siena Six Acres Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe Sorella Stable House, The Tableau Bar Bistro Tacofino Tavola Terra Breads Thierry Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie Timber Timbertrain Coffee Roasters Torafuku Tractor Foods Truffles Fine Foods Two Rivers Specialty Meats UBC Farm Uncommon Cafe, The Urban Digs Farm Uva Wine & Cocktail Bar Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise™ Program Via Tevere Pizzeria Napoletana Vij’s Restaurant Virtuous Pie West Restaurant Wildebeest Wolf In The Fog YEW seafood

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was .

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was .