#TPBTH Meet: Megan Deschaine
Name, craft/industry/blog/passion, most popular handle
Megan Deschaine, professional drink maker, 492 Bar Manager, Vice President of the Charleston Chapter of the United States Bartender’s Guild
How did you get started?
Like most people in my line of work, I started as a means to an end. I financed college myself, and started working in restaurants as a quick (and what I believed easy) way to pay the bills. My move to the bar was mostly motivated by how cool I thought the other bartenders I met were. My move to cocktails happened when I was plucked to join the opening team for a whiskey driven cocktail bar in Baltimore. There, my eyes were blast open about all the history and craft that surrounded this profession. It was also there, with three semesters left of college, that I decided that what I was doing was less of a job and more of a career. Despite this, I still finished my degree in Spanish (!jaja!) but haven’t turned back from these new aspirations that drive me.
What or who influenced you the most as you were developing your craft?
My first mentor was Doug Atwell, who opened Rye in Baltimore. Through his snark and wit, taught me how to properly stir a manhattan, and started me out on my quest for knowledge by generously sharing his library of resources and his time. Over the years, I have found much influence from the other leaders of my industry. People like Derek Brown, Dave Arnold, Pam Wiznitzer, Julie Reiner, Charlotte Voisey, Charles Joly, who are the defining voices of the bar culture, inspire a whole world of young bar folks like myself.
Why do you love your job?
I love working in hospitality. It is a two-way street. Making people happy with good cocktails, or stories, or jokes, makes me happy as well. I also love the constant stimulation of being behind the bar. Every move is calculated and requires constantly working to improve my speed, efficiency, grace and priorities.
What inspires you?
What doesn’t inspire me? For cocktails, I often find inspiration from singular ingredients. Or puns. I love a good pun. Travel is also life-invigorating.
5 words that describe who you are:
When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?
The first thing I ever aspired to be was a nurse, like my mother. I quickly realized I did not have a stomach for it. For the rest of my youth, I aspired to be an actor. My parents were not the most supportive of this ambition, however, and frequently reminded me that by saying I wanted to be an actor, what I really was saying was that I wanted to be a waiter. I suppose, jokes on them! Because in many ways, bartending is both.
Traveling bartender. All I need is a change of clothes, a journal and pen, and my bar kit, and I’d be one happy camper.
3 things you aspire to be or do:
Be a better friend and sister/daughter/granddaughter/niece
Open my own bar
Stamp my passport with as many countries as will let me in.
(Fill in the blank) I appreciate __________ in my life, because__________.I appreciate my support system made of my family and friends in my life, because they constantly hold me accountable, push me to new limits, and are there through the thick and thin.
What was one of the hardest lessons or toughest obstacles you had to overcome?
This is a complicated question. Professionally, the answer is clear. Bar management is not my strong-suit. I am organizationally challenged, and have never been one to concern myself with little picture details like Profit and Loss reports, etc. But despite my slower than average learning curve, the support I have felt from my bar team, management, and kitchen has been enormous. We are all just striving to do and be better, both as individuals, and to each other. Personally, the short answer is just being a better lover, sister and friend.
Advice for someone who is looking to begin a new hobby/job/life pursuit:
Take the chance. Every opportunity, failure or win, is a new chance for growth. Don’t worry about what others may say or think.
Something your followers would be surprised to learn about you:
I’m a super homebody. I love people, and sharing stories and laughs, but on my nights off, you will likely find me home with my boyfriend and our dog.
Chocolate covered strawberries…
50/50 (Striped) Gin Martini with Blanc Vermouth and lemon twist
Hard to narrow it down, because I am a lover of all music. But if I could only choose one song to listen to forever, it would be the Talking Heads, “This must be the place”.
“Fake it til you make it” 😉