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Daily Inspiration: Meet Gustavo Rojas

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gustavo Rojas.

Hi Gustavo, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
After starting at a young age working in nightclubs in Tijuana, I started my career here in the US as part of the opening staff at the popular Jimmy O’s in Del Mar and its sibling restaurant, Yogis, in Cardiff by the Sea. It was there that I really started to refine my bartending skills. From there, I moved farther south to Over the Border in Chula Vista. It was a concert venue with an 800 person capacity. Those nights got REALLY busy but it was a great experience because I got the chance to meet and serve several of the most popular Latin music stars include Juanes, El Tri, Hobres G, Miguel Mateos, Control Machete, Cafe Tacuva, La Ley and so many more. Another of my favorite career highlights was working with Celebrity Chef Keegan Gerhard at D-bar in Hillcrest. This is where my mixology skills really elevated, as I took the lead on the wine and beverage program. I currently am proud to work at one of the most exclusive luxury resorts…Rancho Valencia in Rancho Santa Fe. I welcome everyone to stop by and see me at The Pony Room! Pro tip: Order the Don Quixote cocktail. You won’t regret it!

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I can’t complain too much but as an immigrant, I’ve faced some challenges on the way for sure. I’ve been here for over 20 years and my English has come a long way but it always feels like a work in progress.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
With all of my extensive industry experience, along with my Associate’s Degree in Hospitality Management from Southwestern College, I’ve been able to work at some of the most beautiful locations in the county, and with some of the best folks in the field.

What sets me apart from others I’d say, is my energy and sincere enjoyment of the hospitality industry and all that comes with it. I truly enjoy meeting all the wonderful people that come up to my bar for a drink or a bite. If I can make their day a little more fun, with a few additional laughs and a tasty cocktail…I’m happy with that!

When the pandemic hit, the hospitality industry really came to a halt. More people were drinking at home and I’d get questions from friends on what they should make. With a little push from family and friends, my wife (aka “production”) and I started our YouTube channel “Hey Bartender”. It’s a fun and informative way to learn new drink recipes, techniques and tips from all my years of experience behind the bar. It’s something I’m proud to say we’ve grown to where it is today…and I can’t wait to see where we go from here!

How do you think about happiness?
It’s a little cliche but I’m a people person. I’m also a night owl. Combine those two and it couldn’t get any better! And of course, my amazing wife and twin daughters.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Autumn Doermann-Rojas
Valerie Rojas-Doermann
Alessandra Rojas-Doermann
Chef Keegan Gerhard
Kolby Drew Glock

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