Focus on Health is a podcast dedicated to discussing and bringing to light the fundamental issues surrounding health and wellness in the Food & Beverage industry. A career dedicated to serving others can take its toll on your health. My goal for Focus on Health: to provide the hospitality community with the tools and resources to better their lives. From eliminating the stigma around discussing mental health to asking the tough questions about what fundamentally needs to change to make our industry a better place to work. Hospitality starts with taking care of yourself.
Focus On Health Ep 27: Chris Lowder
In this episode I chat with Chris Lowder about identity, the culture around work and balance, his move to Asia and how that effect him mentally and physically, and his journey to return to his athleticism. Chris Lowder, Founder of Gaishan Consulting, is one of the world’s most sought-after talents in corporate and multi-venue luxury bar consulting. Chris has successfully built globally recognized beverage programs in some of the world’s most challenging markets, including China, South Korea, Singapore and New York. Chris was nominated in 2018 and 2020 for Best Global Bar Mentor at Tales of the Cocktail, and in 2020 was named one of the 100 most influential figures in the global bar industry by Drinks International. Chris speaks fluent Mandarin and Japanese, and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in East Asian Studies.
Focus On Health Ep 26: Carley Gaskin
In this episode of Focus On Health I chat with fellow southern ex-pat Carley Gaskin. Carley Gaskin is the owner of Hospitality 201, a sustainability focused events and consulting agency located in Chicago. With over 10 years of hospitality experience, Carley noticed a need for more sustainable practices within the hospitality industry. In 2018, she won the "World's Most Imaginative Bartender" competition with a sustainability focused initiative creating a full menu of zero-waste cocktails. Since then, she has taught numerous sustainability conferences for both hospitality professionals and the home bartender. It is her goal to show that we can all reduce our waste while still creating delicious and well balanced cocktails. Through the episode we chat about making the move from working behind the bar to starting her own business, how important having a great support system is, and cocktail competitions.
Focus on Health Ep 25: Kate Kavanaugh
Welcome to season 2 of Focus on Health. During the second season of the podcast I hope to host conversations that shed light on topics such as workplace culture, self identity, work/life balance, interpersonal relationships, substance abuse, and any other challenges that hospitality workers may face.
In this episode I chat with longtime friend, butcher, and farmer Kate Kavanaugh. In our conversation with discuss what it means to live in alignment, the decision that she and her partner Josh made to move away from their primary business in search of better alignment, how she's actively worked on returning to her health, how regenerative nature can be for our health, and so much more.
Kate Kavanaugh set out on a mission to heal land, bodies, and communities through food ten years ago. She is the owner of a small butcher shop and grocery, Western Daughters, in Denver and a new farmer on a small farmstead in upstate New York. She is on a journey to connect with nature, experiment with regenerative agriculture and livestock raising techniques, and help others reconnect with practices that bring them back to health and vitality. Kate just launched Ground Work, where she wants to help connect people directly to their food through both a farm directory and a podcast where she muses about mind, body, and soil. In her spare time, she loves to cook, hang out with her goats, and go for long walks.
Focus On Health Ep 24: Brandon Thrash
In this episode of Focus On Health I chat with Brandon Thrash about doing what we love, the power we have as purchasers, sustainable farming, and how sometimes it's okay to cry. Brandon is a beverage professional in Philadelphia, PA. He has managed and bartended across the country including time in San Francisco, Chicago, Ft Lauderdale, and Philadelphia. He spent fall of 2018 and 2019 working with Maloof Wines in Oregon as the production assistant, and he is currently finishing a biological farming internship with Dan Rinke of Art + Science Cider and Wine before returning to Philadelphia as the head of beverage for Middle Child Clubhouse.
He is an advocate for using the buying power of restaurants and bars to drive positive cultural change. By advocating for more open sharing of information on sourcing and thoughtful buying, he believes that we can create a shift in agricultural practices in the United States.
Focus On Health Ep 23: The Fine Line & FOH
[TW: SA, r*pe ]
In this episode Alex & LP chat with Liz and Emily, co-hosts of The Fine Line Podcast about mental health, our experiences as women in the industry, seeing a therapist, and how much we love canned wine. At The Fine Line Balancing: Hedonism & Health, we interview people we admire both inside and outside the wine business to learn how they balance their love of food, wine & travel with their health and wellness, both physical and mental. To support The Fine Line Podcast, click this link.
Liz Willette Danneels first developed a love of wine while working for the luxury travel company, Butterfield & Robinson. After a year in Burgundy and five years in Italy, she taught herself about wine mainly by buying the best bottles she could afford, studying them, and (of course) drinking them.
After running a wine bar in a Relais & Châteaux Hotel in the Dolomites in Northern Italy, she moved to New York City to work for David Bouley and then for importer/distributor Michael Skurnik as a sales representative in Manhattan. In 2004, she struck out on her own, building a book of small producers from the Northern Rhone, Burgundy, and Santa Barbara.
In 2011, Willette Wines merged with another small distributor, Grand Cru Selections. Together they grew the company until Liz left in 2017 to move to Colorado with her family. Craving a life outside of Manhattan, she moved to Boulder, where she is a partner at Natural Wine Company.
Emily Gold grew up cooking and drinking wine with her parents and four older siblings, always relishing the time together as well as the education. In 2012, Emily eagerly accepted a job with Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant in their office located in Beaune, France. There, she was able to meet winemakers, learn about regions around France and Italy, and become versed on the ins and outs of importing some of the most respected icons in the industry.
In 2014, Emily returned to Boulder to open a restaurant and wine bar called PMG (“Pour Ma Gueule”, a term used by French winemakers to reference the wine bottles they stash away for drinking with their family and friends). PMG offered organic and locally-sourced food, dishes inspired by France and Italy, and organic and biodynamic wines. After six years of being a solo small business owner, Emily sold her business in 2020.
Focus On Health Ep 22: Joshua Gandee
In this episode of Focus On Health, I chat with fellow FOH team member and host of No Proof Podcast Joshua Gandee about his journey into sobriety, how sober living has changed his outlook on working in the F&B industry, and how important it is to see sober individuals in the bar world. Joshua Thomas Gandee is a bartender and creative working in and around the restaurant industry for over a decade. Joshua quit drinking in 2017, and began creating a non-alcoholic culture in his city and beyond through recipes, recommendations, and a penchant for any water that bubbles. Joshua believes a change in mindset, can produce a change in identity and works to be the best version of himself possible while helping to lift the spirits of those around him.
Incredibly eye opening
Most bartending podcasts just talk about spirits and lifestyle. Alex Jump’s Focus on Health digs so much deeper. Every episode inspires the listener to grow in themselves, as well as with progressive issues like ending racism behind the bar, changing pay equity, feminism and self care. I’m excited to see where this podcast goes. Groundbreaking.