This is Jason Frederick, from Ottawa.
Jay is 43 years old. He spent most of his life in Ottawa, a part from the 12 years he lived in British-Colombia. He speaks English and a little bit of French. He is also the father of an 8 years old kid called Zaria. Jay studied to be a travel agent and it didn’t go exactly as planned. At that time, he was also an athlete and played a lot of soccer. He then decided to go to college to play soccer and had to choose a program. That’s how he found himself in a bartending course at Algonquin College.
At first, Jay was only learning to bartend in order to play soccer. He thought it was going to be an easy program, and it turned out that they were teaching a lot more than how to make drinks. Of course, he learned about mixology, but he also learned how to operate a bar, how to calculate margins, etc. Still, he was studying bartending in order to play soccer at college and didn’t think that it would turn out to be his career path. When he did his coop, he found himself working at a high-end supper club and realized that he actually loved the work and the ambiance. When he graduated, he looked at job offers and applied for four positions. One of them was on Pender Island in BC. And that’s when Jay moved to the West coast.
That’s really when it all started for him. He worked at Poets Cove on Pender Island for a season. He was hired as the head bartender while in reality, he had only worked his coop and had no clue on how to run a bar. Nevertheless, he managed to learn but eventually decided to leave the island and move to the mainland. He went to Kelowna and got a job at a Milestones. It was the kind of place that had specs sheet for every cocktail and that was very organized, so it definitely taught him about structure and consistency. He worked there for two years before he switched job and found himself working at a mom and pop shop called Rods. That place was highly regarded for its cocktails and from there on, Jay started to be what we would commonly refer to as a cocktail geek. It was also at Rods that Jay met his mentor, Jerry Jobe. Turned out that the guy would mentor him on many more things than bar related lessons. It was at that time that Jay became a father and Jobe helped him a great deal with understanding and balancing his new family life. However, all great things come to an end and Jay was eventually offered to work on a new bar opening. He accepted and after it was up and running, Jay started to focus on bar consulting.
It led him to take a contract in Ottawa for what was supposed to be three months. It’s now been five years. Today, Jay owns a cocktail catering and consulting business called Cocktail Catering. When he came back to Ottawa five years ago, the cocktail scene wasn’t where it is today. He was bringing back from the West coast many techniques and creative ideas that had not made their way to Ottawa yet. Like he reminds us, “no one was smoking cocktails back then!”. Jay is proud to have been part of the people that helped shape the cocktail culture in Ottawa. And he won’t stop. The cocktail scene has evolved and there sure are many good spots for quality cocktails in the city now. But Jay wants to go beyond the few specialized cocktail bars. He wants to go to any restaurant or bar and be able to be served a proper Negroni. One thing is for sure, his continuous efforts towards the betterment of his city don’t go unnoticed and he now has trained a whole brigade of bartenders that work with the same purpose.
A little bit more about Jason:
The three words that describe him best: smiley – generous - shy
The first drink that made him fall in love with cocktails: The Boulevardier. It’s still his favorite drink to this day.
Life motto: It is what it is.
The way he drinks his Martini: Burnt (with a scotch rinse). He’s a smoky kind of guy.
An advice to younger bartenders: Don’t feel complete. Even if you are a head bartender and you have won many competitions, bartending is like life, you never stop learning. The more knowledge you have when it comes to this game, the better you will be and that’s a proven fact.