Austin Gagnon started his bartending venture in Upstate New York in the spring of 2001. He was trained by a well-known bar owner in a local fast bar in Troy, New York. 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, The Social Lubricant in the Wynwood District in Miami, and the world famous Clevelander Hotel on Ocean Drive where he worked as a bartender for 7 years. Austin has also worked and is currently responsible for staffing many sporting events, concerts, and Venues such as bartender staffing for both the University of Miami and Miami Dolphins football teams, the Miami Marlins, the Miami Heat (2011, 2012,2013, 2014,2015) the world renowned Ultra Music Festival (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014,2015), South Beach Seafood Festival (2013,2014,2015) Miami Fine Chocolate and Food Show (2013,2014. 2015) Calle Ocho (2010,2011,2012), and 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 it’s own started to take shape. Austin wanted to share the knowledge, experiences, and skills that he learned in the bar business over the years with others. In 2009 Elite Bartending School’s first location opened in Miami Beach and fast became the #1 Bartending School in South Florida. Austin takes pride in providing his students with an exceptional education and learning experience to help them in their pursuit to become a successful bartender and excel in mixology and customer satisfaction.
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 landing 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 has since taught and prepared hundreds of todays 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.