Having grown up in a bakery, heavy physical labor was practically in my cradle. My parents opened the business a year after I was born, so it was basically part of my DNA from day one. In many ways, it's very similar to the hospitality industry.
My parents worked mainly at night and sometimes during the day. Christmas and weekends were a very busy time; when everyone else was off, they worked the hardest. That had a strong influence on my entrepreneurial spirit.
Around the same time that my father sold his bakery, I opened my bar, l'Antiquaire. It's not a place for me to do business that makes a lot of money. It's a passion project for me that I hope will stand the test of time. Who knows, maybe one day I will hand the bar over to my son.
As far as bar work goes, I'm an old-school guy. The roots are deep and real. But I have to rewind a little first to tell the story of how I became Barkeeper .
Like so many, I was on the money as a teenager, and my parents said very simply, "Work like we do and you'll make money." So I started waiting tables at a restaurant and moved from there to Barkeeper. In 2003, I started working at Vatel, a cooking school.
My parents thought that was the right way to go, but it was difficult to balance school and work, so I decided to devote all my time to bartending. I told myself that Barkeeper is a respectable profession, but owning your own bar is much better, so I opened my first bar at 23 and left school behind.
The bar still exists today and it is called Soda Bar. A lot has happened since then and today I am the owner of l'Antiquaire, the co-owner of l'Officine and the inventor and co-owner of Cockorico, a bottled cocktail company that I recently created.
I love my life. Barkeeper Being an entrepreneur is my hobby, my passion and my profession at the same time. It was in my blood to become an entrepreneur, and I didn't really need any training for that. I learned everything there is by pursuing my passion.
When I opened L'Antiquaire in 2010, I lived upstairs where the Jockey Club is now. On Fridays and Saturdays we open the bar upstairs. It's elegantly furnished with lots of wooden elements, a classic jazz bar in the style of the 1950s.
Downstairs we also have a lot of wooden elements and an elegant flair, but it's more relaxed and noisy and we have a terrace open from March to October. A good place to be comfortable and cozy all evening long.
The original business model of a cocktail bar that serves 95 percent cocktails is, in my opinion, currently threatened with extinction. And because of Covid, there will be even fewer cocktail bars in the future.
Venues like Tayer & Elementary could be a good model for the future: food and cocktails, but not as formal as a restaurant. I also think we will move towards more sustainable and environmentally friendly bars.
Milk & Honey in NYC will always be my best experience. I was younger, newer than Barkeeper and easily impressed, but this bar has stayed with me ever since.