This is Maximiliano Vallée Valletta.
Maximiliano is 32 years old, grew up in Rigaud and speaks French, English and Italian. He has a bachelors’ degree in Business Administration and a Master’s in Project Management. Maximiliano does not have children, but is the proud father of a very fluffly dog called Enzo.
He started to work in the hospitality industry at a super club on St-Laurent in 2007. Given the fact that he has built a very strong reputation for himself and now excels in our industry, you would be surprised to know that in fact, Maximiliano started as a rather bad busboy who cut his fingers, had low pressure drops and found himself on the floor in the middle of the restaurant twice within his first 2 weeks of employment. Luckily, he had a clever boss that rapidly transferred him to running food. He worked for that restaurant for a couple of years until they opened a new venue and was transferred there. Unfortunately, the new club closed within the first year.
However, the new people that bought the place were the guys of l’Assommoir and his boss convinced them to hire Maximiliano. When he was called for an interview, he didn’t know that there was a written test and he was not prepared. He went straight up to the guys and told them that if they gave him a chance, he would learn every bottle on the back bar before the opening. The guys teared the exam apart and gave him a chance. And they were right because he walked out of that interview determined to learn. He studied the back bar and was ready for the opening.
This was an important moment for him because when he was searching information about those products and getting a glimpse of all that world he knew so little about, he realized that as much as he was going to finish his bachelors’ degree, he had to stay connected to the hospitality industry.
When he graduated, the owners of l’Assommoir had three restaurants and a catering business. Maximiliano wanted to take a break from university and they needed a purchasing coordinator. He took the job, kept on working service shifts as well and stayed with them for another few years. He was positively challenged by his coworkers, delved into the infinite source of knowledge of the spirits and cocktail world and truly felt like he was part of an amazing team.
Eventually, it was time for him to move on to a new project. He woke up one morning and knew that his adventure with l’Assommoir was over. He quit on a Monday and the next day, he received a call from Francine, the owner of Les Enfants Terribles. She was about to open her second restaurant and wanted him as her right arm. He jumped right in and Francine quickly became her mentor. He worked as the general director for seven years, meanwhile he kept doing the cocktail menus. It allowed him to have a few consecutive excellent years in cocktail competitions and again one day, he woke up and knew that it was time for him to move on. He quit and left on a two months trip to Asia with his girlfriend.
When he came back, he was approached to represent the brands Les Îles, White Keys Vodka, Portage Gin and Ste-Marie Rums and partner up with them. He was very eager to discover that side of our industry and jumped right in.
To conclude, there was a lot that could have been written about Maximiliano’s path into the world of cocktails. Meeting with him was truly a pleasure and listening to his many stories was to the very least, captivating. Over time, he has worn many hats and explored most facets of our industry. He told us many times that he was pretty lucky in his path to bartending, that one job led to another quite fluidly and that the timing was always in his favour. If that sure seems to be right, we could not help it but to outline the determination, hard work and ambition that emerge from his story.
A little bit more about…
The three words that describe him best: humble – energetic – versatile
One thing he has achieved on his life bucket-list: He did a three weeks pilgrimage with his family to go to his father’s native village very far in the middle of the mountains very North of Italy. They had always wanted to do it, his father had not been there in 25 years. As much as it was on their bucket-list to travel there, it’s also on their bucket-list to do it again.
Fun fact about him: Has a shared custody agreement on his dog and has Enzo one week on two.
When he was little, he dreamed to: Be a professional baseball player, up until he was 18.
The biggest lesson his job taught him: To challenge the status quo. To challenge why we do things the way we do. How to do it better. To challenge our preconceptions and to always work towards improvement.