Rising Star Chef Amanda Gager of StripSteak at Mandalay Bay - Biography
Las Vegas, NV
2008 Las Vegas Rising Star Mixologist Amanda Gager got her first job bartending at a seasonal restaurant at the Jersey Shore when she was 21. There was just one minor problem: she knew nothing about bartending. She didn’t even know how to make a rum and Coke. With the help of fellow bartenders and studying Bartending for Dummies like it was a treatise by Socrates, Gager quickly caught on and became addicted to the rush and fun of being behind the bar.
After a few summers of mastering the basics, Gager got a job at a flair bartending job at a casino in Atlantic City. Soon thereafter she set her sights on becoming the next female world champion flair bartender. A move to Las Vegas—a veritable mecca for flair bartending—ensued and Gager worked behind several flair bar and entered a couple competitions. But after all the showy shaking and bottle balancing, Gager realized that she didn’t even like the drinks she was making.
In the fall of 2006, Gager decided to go back to the basics and enrolled in the Southern Wine and Spirits Academy of Spirits course. After 12-weeks in classrooms with experts like Francesco Lafranconi, Bobby “G” Gleason, Armando Rosario and Tony Abou-Ganim, and learning the ins and outs of spirits from potato, grains, and sugar to spirits and mixing, Gager was (as she puts it)a “certified cocktail nerd.” Since then Gager has been perfecting her technique, expanding her knowledge, and on the quest to make perfect cocktails that she and her customers at StripSteak will love.