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XX Files: Hopgood's Foodliner
The Standard's weekly item on Toronto's better bartenders

 

All photos taken by Kerry and Ivy Knight

Name/alias: Jenny-Orenda Smith

Current bar: Hopgood’s Foodliner (a restaurant, actually).

How long in the business: Since early high school, though I started in the back of house, the dishpit namely. I quickly became what one would call a “career server” because I wanted to TALK to people about what they were ordering. I love serving people good food and drinks. It’s nuturing and satisfying and night-to-night, day-to-day it’s always a different experience.

First drink/drunk: Probably a sneaky sip of C.C. and Coke at a family gathering as a toddler, just to have something I wasn’t supposed to, though I actually had a distaste for alcohol in my teens and early twenties. It took a stint living around France/Spain/Portugal on farms to learn more about food in my late twenties for me to begin seeing wine as an agricultural product, as food really. And I love good food. It took turning 30 for me to let go and relish getting shitfaced (with good people, and off good things, mind you).

What influences me: Cooking influences me. Using raw ingredients from nature to make a balanced and delicious thing. As a manager, writing a cocktail list is the closest thing to cooking I get to do in the restaurant and it’s thrilling. But history influences me too, so most of the drinks I make are from the canon of established cocktails, with a personal twist.

Best barfly: No stories I should tell. I love people who go to bars alone though. I generally end up being either totally curious or conversing deeply with them, both wonderful things.

Cinematic bartender: Thereza from Unbearable Lightness of Being (the bar job is rather inconsequencial, I mostly just liked her clothes) and the bartender from the Cantina in Star Wars.

Rules: No being rude.

Celebrity experiences:  Yes, though no fabulous tales, just a couple of cases of jitters. To be honest, for me the celebrities i get most geeked up about are wine-producers, but that doesnt make for exciting copy.

Best late-night or morning-after places: Anywhere i can get a nice glass of wine late and talk with nice people, so… Midfield, Woodlot, Chantecler. I mostly end up with staff in places in the neighbourhood though (the Ace, Loons, the Local) because we have a really amazing team!!!

Best /worst tip: Doesn’t really matter.

Favourite cocktail/beer/wine right now: a Black Manhattan or our version of Picon Punch…shot: a glass of whiskey followed by a glass of pickle juice…glass: arianna occhipinti’s 2010 frappato.

Watch for: Get ready for the daytime

 

_______ 

Hopgood’s Foodliner

325 Roncesvalles Ave

416-533-2723

Kerry and Ivy Knight write the XX Files column for Toronto Standard. Follow them on Twitter at @keppsterr and @IvyKnight.

For more, follow us on Twitter at @torontostandard, and subscribe to our newsletter. 

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