Interview with Jean-Sébastien Dupuis

Lead Bartender | Tableau Bar Bistro | Vancouver

With over 10 years in the beverage industry, Montreal native Jean-Sébastien Dupuis has been crafting one-of-a-kind cocktails in some of BC’s hottest establishments. Previously he was the cocktail master at the acclaimed Bearfoot Bistro in Whistler. He became the Lead Bartender at Tableau Bar Bistro in the fall of 2011 where he has been mixing drinks ever since.

Jean-Sébastien’s cocktail program for Tableau blends classic cocktails with house originals and is the perfect complement to Chef Marc-André Choquette’s French fare.

How did you end up becoming a Bartender?

Back in university as a side job in Montreal, I just started bartending, I liked the social aspect, that was 16-18 years ago.

What are some of the unique cocktails your customers have asked you to make?

Fois Gras infused whiskey, I made a cocktail out of it like a twist on a Manhattan. Created with Chef Martin Picard of Pied De Cochon in Montreal, he came to Whistler to try the cocktail and he loved it, this was while I was working at Bearfoot Bistro. The drink also had apple ice wine, and I used a Canadian Whiskey.

What was your training like and how long have you been in this industry?

Self-taught, watching others, becoming a bar back first then got into bartending. Reading up on the classics and watching other bartenders and what they do.

What goes into creating a new cocktail? What inspires you?

Usually what I am into at the moment, I like to have a different profile for each drink. One that is bitter or sweet. I get inspired by food, new flavours, new dishes and then create the drinks. What type of twists to make them my own.

Tell me about your fascination with Vermouth?

It comes down to when I was very young, my grandfather drank vermouth and gin/tonic. Before dinner he had Chinzano Vermouth, that smell stayed in my head, it’s simple, complex, herbs gives it such a great flavour. I even make a vermouth pasta sauce it just gives it so much taste.

What is your philosophy on food and drinks?

I love to eat, I love to drink. Fresh and sustainable as possible. I like bitter things as opposed to sweet. Savoury way in cocktails. I love using salt in cocktails.

What are some current trends you’ve seen in the cocktail market?

The growth of the craft cocktail, the revival of the classics. The distance away from vodka over the past couple of years.

What type of drinks do you like personally?

I like a boozy drink, I drink Whiskey predominately. Something with Whiskey, Amaro and Vermouth makes me very happy.

If you weren’t a bartender, what would you be doing?

I would be a ski bum.

What are the most unique ingredients you have every used to create a cocktail?

Yuzu, beer powder, liquid nitrogen

What is one of your tricks of the trade?

Trying to listen to what people like and want gets them to try new things, baby steps.

What is your favourite cocktail personally?

The Boulvardier

What food would you pair with the Boulvardier?

Anything rich, a good steak dish, it has a nice bitterness and its very strong. Rich pasta with tomato style sauce.

Tell me what the origins of the Black Walnut Bitters

They came out last summer, Fee Bros. a bitters company in upstate NY (Rochester, NY). I tried it in New Orleans and fell in love with it.

By: Richard Wolak