This is Manuel Ruiz Bertrand!
Manu is 37 years old. He was born in Barcelona and moved to Montreal when he was 3 years old. Half his family is from Andalousia and the other half is from Montreal. Manu is one if these people for whom the academic frame is not meant to fit. He changed schools a lot and graduating from high school has been quite challenge. It took him a lot of work and perseverance to do so but he finally succeeded when he was 28. Growing up, he wanted to be a professional hockey player. Even today, the idea of playing with the NHL is still a dream of his. Manu has no children but 2 cats and with his girlfriend’s cats, they have a family of four feline at home.
If today Manu is an important figure in the Montreal cocktail scene, his path to the world of cocktails is a sinuous one. Manu did many things before bartending. He worked as a journal delivery man, as a milk man with his uncle, had a full career in pet shops, specializing in aquarium and re-creating very specific forms of marine life in a controlled environment, and through all of this found his way to the bar industry.
His first job at a bar was at l’Assommoir, where he started as a busboy by faking experience on his resume. Quickly, two of the servers noticed and decided to take him under their wings. And he learned. He learned quick. At first, he was working in this industry out of necessity rather than by choice. But at some point, he realized that he actually really liked it. You could make good money, you were surrounded by people from all around the world, beautiful people on top and the nights were fun. He also discovered he had a passion of flavors. He stayed at l’Assommoir for 10 years and worked every position. Today, he is the brand ambassador for La Maison Sivo and the general manager of Le Royal, one of Montreal’s top cocktail bars.
There is much more that could be said about Manu. He is one of the cats that have had many lives. One thing for sure is that he is one of the most genuine, humble & straight forward people we have met for this project and that his resilience and strength have inspired and keep on inspiring many other people in this community.
And a little bit more...
o The three words that describe him best :
impulsive – intense – to be and to let be
o One thing he has yet to achieve on his life bucket-list:
Unrealistically, play in the NHL.
Realistically, bungee jump or climb on a mountain in very hard and difficult conditions. Something that would bring his adrenaline level up.
o One thing he has achieved on his life bucket-list:
He doesn’t really have a bucket-list. One thing he wanted to do and achieved doing is that he wanted to stabilize his life. And he did.
o A fun fact about him:
He is really geek about aquariums. For instance, there are only three fresh water lakes in Africa and he knows exactly how to re-create the species, the sand, the algae, the exact properties of the water, etc.
o What he likes most about his job:
The energy. The intensity. People’s smiles when they are having a good time.
o What he likes least:
The toxicity. The excess.
o His biggest strength:
His endurance and his patience. Both physically and mentally.
To see part II, click here.