Austin Gagnon started his bartending venture in Upstate New York in the spring of 2001. He was trained by a well-known bar owner, Mario Abate, in a local fast-paced college bar called The Eldorado. After completing two years of college and receiving an Associate Degree in Physical Education from HVCC, Austin decided to transfer and finish out his remaining years of college in beautiful Miami, Florida.
While attending Barry University in Miami Shores, Austin put himself through college working in some of the most popular bars in South Florida including Bed, Club Deep, The Fifth, Revolution Live, and the world famous Clevelander hotel on Ocean Drive where he worked as a bartender for six years. Austin has also worked and staffed many sporting events and concerts including games for both the University of Miami and Miami Dolphins football teams, the Miami Marlins, the Miami Heat, and for major concerts such as Bang Music Festival, the world-renowned Ultra Music Festival (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012) Calle Ocho, Rock the Bells, and 2009/2010 NFL Tailgate parties for the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl.
Austin graduated from Barry University in 2006, receiving a Bachelors of Science in Psychology. It was at this time that the idea of establishing an Elite Bartending school in a league of its own started to take shape. Austin wanted to share the knowledge, experiences, and skills that he learned in the bar business over the years to others. Austin provides his students with an exceptional education and learning experience to help them in their pursuit to become a successful bartender and excels in mixology and customer satisfaction.
Kevin Gibbons was born in Bristol, England. In 2002, at the age of 18 Kevin started his bartending career. Kevin worked at a local cocktail bar and began his knowledge on mixology and flair. For years, Kevin worked in pubs and bars around England earning money to support his education in performing arts. After graduating from college, Kevin wanted to take his stage career to the bar scene. In 2005, Kevin moved to Spain where he expanded his knowledge on the bar, learned advanced methods and techniques in mixology and flair, and mastered the psychology of bartending. Now well known for his crazy concoctions, Kevin wows his guests with great bottle tricks and satisfies them with fantastic mixology skills, at Off the Hookah Bayside. One of the world’s premiere flair and mixology establishments.
With over nine years working in and managing bars, creating cocktail menus, assisting in opening new locations, and teaching, Kevin brings his education and global knowledge on mixology to Miami Beach, which he offers his talents exclusively to the students of Elite Bartending School.
Amy Northrup grew up in St. Petersburg, FL, and start bartending right out of high school at the age of 18. She landed her first job at a brand new Martini Bar owned by Dan Marino, which became the most popular bar in the area. This ultra high-volume experience helped her to be ready for any job that came her way. After moving around to different hot spots in St. Petersburg, FL, she decided to move to South Florida and expand her bartending career and knowledge on mixology. Amy worked in many well-known venues such asMangos, Lucky Strike Lanes, Karu and Y, The King is Dead, Badrutt’s Place, Casa Casuarina aka the VersaceMansion, and helped open Blade at the Fontainebleau.
Amy is currently working as a Bartender at the world famous Clevelander Hotel on Ocean Drive. With over ten years of experience in high volume night-clubs, restaurants, high-end private events, and even bar management Amy shares knowledge with her students that will help them excel in any bar environment and instills a hands-on education that her students will never forget.
Chad Tocco was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. Chad moved to Miami in early 2001 and stepped foot into the Bartending world, working his first bar shift at the age of 19 at The Allstar Cafe on Ocean Drive, South Beach. Chad's main draw and passion for bartending is and continues to be Working Flair and Mixology. For 13 years Chad has poured drinks at some of the most popular venues on the East Coast of Florida from West Palm Beach to South Beach, dazzling his patrons with fancy bottle tricks, fire acts, and great cocktails. Chad is a professional Flair competitive bartender and has placed in the top three in over 30 flair competitions with several wins under his belt. In Spring 2012 Chad becomes overall points champion at the World Renowned Bartenders Bash Series beating out competitors from all over the US.
Chad currently tends bar at Off the Hookah Bayside and Q Lounge in South Beach among other expert flair bartenders, putting on nightly fire shows and constant entertainment. Chad's passion for bartending translates to how he teaches his students, inspiring them to become the best bartenders they can be.
Miranda Schmidt grew up in Niagara Falls, New York. After High School Miranda attended College and in 2011 received her Degree in Health and Wellness from Niagara Community College. Miranda quickly landed a job after college helping others in a nursing home as a Kitchen Supervisor. During this time Miranda also pursued her other lifelong passion of cheerleading and coaching, making the professional roster for the 2011-2012 Buffalo Jills Cheerleading Squad. After cheering for the Buffalo Bills for one season, Miranda decided to hang up her pom poms and head South to beautiful Miami Beach, Florida. Miranda’s love of health and wellness, cooking, and being around people quickly led her down the path to Hospitality. In late 2012 within days of moving to Miami Beach, she attended Elite Bartending School, where she exceled in her new craft. Miranda thrived in the program, graduating top of her class, and as one of Elite Bartending Schools best students ever. Miranda quickly landed a high volume bartending job within days of graduating at the famous Automatic Slims. Miranda worked there for over a year, building up her skills and speed behind the bar. After mastering high volume, Miranda was curious to expand her knowledge on Mixology and customer service. Venturing out into the hospitality Mecca that is Miami Beach she fulfilled her next goal by getting hired at the Prestigious Living Room Lounge inside the W Hotel South Beach, serving craft cocktails to Miami’s Elite and Rich and Famous. During this time Miranda also picked up many events for Elite Bartending School, quickly becoming their head bartender for all major events in South Florida. Miranda continues to work many events all over South Florida staffed exclusively by Elite Bartending School, such as the world famous Ultra Music Festival (2014,2015) Fantasy Fest Key West (2014,2015) South Beach Seafood Festival (2014,2015) Cadillac Golf Championship at Triumph National Miami (2014,2015) to name a few. In 2014, Miranda joined the Elite Bartending School’s team of educators and had since taught and prepared hundreds of today's students for the world of bartending. Miranda’s passion for education, teaching and her continued love of bartending stays with her students long after they come through the course.
John Winston was born in Miami, Florida. Bartending has always fascinated John, and at the young age of 16, he immediately went out looking for anywhere he could get time behind the bar. He didn’t have to look long, landing a bar back position at the iconic Hooligans in South Miami, learning from some of the best in the business. After getting his feet wet for a few years at Hooligans, John’s interest turned to nightclub bartending. That curiosity lead him to his first Nightclub gig at the age of 18 at the then famous Level Nightclub in South Beach, sharpening his skills in high volume tending. By age 21 his training and experience in Miami had him hooked. However, he was itching for a new city to do it in. His spur of the moment move to New York City found him behind the bar at Trump Plaza in Manhattan and the White Plains City Center days after moving to the word famous metropolis. Both gained him knowledge in fine dining and customer service training necessary to land his next venture, Beverage Managing. In 2005, John was approached by Hilton Hotels while behind the bar in NYC and agreed to a Beverage Manager position In Mississippi. Working Hospitality in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina was difficult, but John made it work. Managing to bring life into the bar by importing the entertainment from New Orleans, and running great drink specials and community events for the local residents of the area. After Beverage Managing for years in Mississippi John decided heading home to Miami to be with his family and to expand his bartending knowledge even further. Working for Accor Hospitality in Miami, John took classes in body language and Luxury service techniques behind the bar. Evolving his interest into mixology using his knowledge, skills and experience. John started creating cocktail menus for many restaurants and bars up and down the east coast. In 2015 Elite Bartending School was happy to add John Winston to our small family of Instructors. John’s passion for Hospitality is apparent in every class he teaches. John loves nothing more by educating from his experiences, getting his students behind the bar and training them on practical high volume bartending, customer service, and mixology. He also takes pride in working side by side with his students at all major events with Elite Bartending School this year such as Ultra Music Festival, Art Basel, The Las Olas Food and Wine Festival. Johns students graduate from the program with confidence and all the skills behind the bar necessary to become Elite Bartenders.