Megan Deschaine: #CHSWFF Faces Behind The Campaign

#CHSWFF Faces Behind The Campaign: Megan Deschaine

Our series: ‘The Faces Behind The Campaign’ with Charleston Wine + Food Festival continues with our individual profiles of our 6 local F&B industry professionals who are all part of this years marketing campaign. This year’s theme for the CHSWFF photo shoot was: Just The Right Amount of Wrong. Instead of the perfectly styled plate, this year’s approach aimed to feature and highlight: THE PROCESS. Inspired by what really happens in the kitchen on any given day; sauce splatters, flying flour, taste testing, wine spills and so much more! The real culinary process of creating remarkable food and a fantastic dining experiences is one that is imperfect behind the scenes and birthed in a place of organized chaos where tensions are high and expectations even higher. But then comes the point that the food is perfectly plated, presented and served.

As foodies, food lovers and connoisseurs, our curiosity is drawn to not only the final product but also the entire experience as a whole, messy and beautiful. Imperfect and yet perfect, all at once. Photographer: Andrew Cebulka captured the team in a breath-taking spread of photos that brought it to life. This has been an amazing project to be part of and I am grateful for the opportunity to feature it and share some behind the scenes sneak peek looks of our team in real life action that I have taken as a follow-up for this series. (The first set of images in this segment are taken by: Andrew Cebulka and everything following are my behind the scenes shots).

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Megan Deschaine, Mixologist 

Some people host parties, other people sit on the edge of their seats…waiting to be invited to ‘the best parties,’ some people are the ‘life of the party’ and then there are those few, rare and looked up to people like Megan Deschaine who are: THE PERSON WHO IS THE PARTY! She makes a normal day, more fun…she brightens up a room with her smile…she has a positive energy that is contagious and she brings her best…every single day! She began her career as a girl in college trying to find a way to pay her bills and after graduation decided she was on a mission to make the most perfect Manhattan that ever existed! (Sidenote: I’ve known Megan for several years now and I love Manhattans…I’m here to offer my personal testimonial that she perfected this drink…A LONG TIME AGO! The girl is on fire..the outer stretches of the Universe are her only limits)!!! When she’s not working or making a new recipe, she serves as Vice President of the Charleston chapter of the US Bartenders Guild or is often jet setting across the country competing (and winning) national mixology competitions.

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I could write a lot more about how great I think this woman is, how much the city loves her, how amazing her resume is…but I won’t, because Megan gives the best interview answers of anyone that I ever met! I’ll jump right into our Q&A segment of this feature and let you enjoy reading her responses. Her tone, excitement for her craft and love for life translates into words…and breathes color! Megan will be working several CHSWFF events, and I highly recommend grabbing one of her drinks if you get the opportunity! She’s the best! CHEERS!

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CHSFW: What or who influenced you the most as you were developing your craft?

MD: 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.

CHSFW: What inspires you?

MD: 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.

CHSFW: 5 words that describe who you are:

MD: silly/generous/ambitious/creative/hospitable

CHSFW: What are you most excited about with CHWFF this year?

MD: I just love the high positive energy that befalls the city during the festival. It’s really contagious!

CHSFW: What does the festival mean to you?

MD: A few years ago, only a couple months after moving back to Charleston, I entered a cocktail for the CHSWFF Cocktail Competition. Making it into the finals also afforded me a slot in the Iron Mixology event. I count this experience as one of the most influential to my career so far. I don’t want to gush too much about these moments—but they truly changed my life.

CHSFW: For someone who has never attended the festival, what is your suggestion about where to start?

MD: Start in the Culinary Village–this is a great cross section of all things Festival. You can sample fantastic wine, beer and cocktails, while having face time with the experts behind them. Plus there are usually many live demos happening throughout the square.

CHSFW: What is the best part about your job?

MD: I love people–and my job provides so many opportunities to meet new people and make new friends.

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CHSFW: What was the feeling you experienced, during the photo shoot?

MD: Is there a word that best communicates ‘total and pure joy’? It was so much fun to be silly and show the “messy” side of the biz.

CHSFW: 3 things you aspire to be or do:

MD: 1-Be a better friend and sister/daughter/granddaughter/niece. 2-Open my own bar. 3-Stamp my passport with as many countries as will let me in!!!

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