CHEERS: 18 QUESTIONS WITH VICTORIA HEVESI
With a Negroni in hand, we sat down with Trattoria Nervosa’s very own bartender, Victoria Hevesi to discuss all things beverages related (and then some). An essential read for all you aspiring bartenders. Bottoms up!
1. DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN 3 WORDS.
Honest, curious and hungry.
2. FAVORITE DRINK TO MAKE?
Negroni Sbagliato. In this cocktail, the gin is replaced with prosecco. Very simple, yet so perfect.
3. ONE DRINK/ALCOHOL TREND YOU HATE?
Serving everything in mason jars, it’s so passé. Also, straws; they’re wasteful and are not the best way to experience the full flavour of any beverage.
4. GIN & TONIC, MOSCOW MULE OR MARTINI?
G&T! Definitely my go-to mixed drink on any given occasion.
5. BIGGEST MENTOR?
Christian Alfarone and Elio Zannoni. These guys have a serious passion for food and drink and have been kind enough to share their love and knowledge with me.
6. RED, WHITE OR ROSÉ WINE? WHY?
I’m usually a white drinker, but I pretty much only go for very dry, acidic whites, particularly ones with lots of minerality. I don’t like very sweet wine, or anything buttery or yeasty. Once in a while, I’ll opt for a nice jammy red, but I (almost) never drink rosé. Just not really my thing.
7. ALL-TIME FAVORITE BEER?
Paradise Lost White Lies from Blood Brothers Brewing (right here in Toronto!) It’s a sour ale brewed with Sauvignon Blanc grape juice. It’s so refreshing and unique. You just have to try it!
8. WEIRDEST DRINK YOU’VE EVER HAD ANYONE ORDER?
I don’t know if it’s THAT weird, but I definitely raised my eyebrow a little when I got the order: Malibu and Coke. It just seemed like a combo that would not work at all. I would never in a million years order such a sugary liqueur, especially with such a sugary mixer. But my curiosity got the better of me, I just had to taste it. To be perfectly honest, it wasn’t terrible…..it was actually, kind of……good?
9. IF YOU COULD MIX ANY COCKTAIL FOR ANYONE IN THE WORLD – DEAD OR ALIVE – WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
My maternal Grandfather. Unfortunately, I never got to meet him, but from what I’ve been told, his humour was his most marked characteristic and he had a natural gift for to storytelling. I would trade just about anything to be able to sit and listen to him in all his comedic genius.
10. ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU COULD GIVE AN ASPIRING BARTENDER?
My advice to any aspiring bartender would be to learn how to multitask. It’s an invaluable skill in this line of work, and it’s impossible to fake.
11. WHAT DO YOU THINK HAS CHANGED MOST ABOUT THE BARTENDING INDUSTRY IN THE PAST FEW YEARS?
The cocktail has been elevated to new heights. Toronto is home to many world-class restaurants and bars, which I think has propelled the quality of our food and beverage, particularly in the creativity behind it.
12. STRANGEST THING YOU’VE EVER CONSUMED?
My family lives in Hungary, and when I was younger, I was taught how to slaughter a chicken. The event went off without a hitch, and when the blood started pouring from the chicken’s neck, my grandma quickly collected the blood in a bowl. She then fried it up and fed it to us. Her smile stretched from ear to ear as she was preparing to eat what is apparently one of her favourite foods in the whole world. 100% would not eat it again.
13. WHAT WOULD YOU PAIR WITH THE MAFALDE?
Whatever you like! Although, I would probably go with a crisp, slightly acidic white, like the Gavi, to balance the richness of the sauce.
14. MOST UNDERRATED COCKTAIL?
This is a tough question because I think there are trends when it comes to cocktails, so some things that might have been underrated before may have had a resurgence but will fade again at some point. Also, not everyone is going to like what you like, which is totally fine.
15. WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT QUALITY FOR ANY SUCCESSFUL BARTENDER TO POSSESS?
I think it is of utmost importance to care about what you’re doing. Being a bartender is probably one of the most fun jobs in the world, but it doesn’t mean you get to slack. There is a palatable difference between a cocktail that was made with love and care, and one that was thrown together hastily.
16. NAME SOMETHING ON YOUR BUCKET LIST
I’ve already crossed off my number 1 (to see the Aurora Borealis). The next thing would be to travel to Ireland. I don’t have a special connection to it or anything, I’ve just always wanted to go there.
17. “YOU WILL NEVER TASTE [THIS INGREDIENT] IN ONE OF “VICTORIA’S DRINKS”
Celery? I know it’s not a common ingredient in drinks, but I just really hate- no scratch that- DESPISE the flavour.
18. WHAT IS THE MOST REWARDING PART WORKING IN THE RESTAURANT INDUSTRY?
There are so many rewarding aspects of my job, but I think executing a great service with my team is my favourite thing. It feels good when you are all able to work together to deliver an awesome and unforgettable experience to your guests.