Shift Drinks: Kim Rodgers of Eventide Oyster Co. and Hugo’s Restaurant

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Kim Rodgers is a pastry chef at Eventide Oyster Co. and Hugo’s Restaurant. She is pictured with a Gin and Tonic.

Disclosure: Eventide Oyster Co. and Hugo’s Restaurant are clients of my company Knack Factory, though their representation here has nothing to do with my scope of work with them. In fact, they are helping us out by lending their credibility to our project and we are grateful for that.

Shift Drinks is a photo series produced by Knack Factory that features some of our favorite folks in food and hospitality telling us stories about their preferred cocktails and how they got into the industry. Featured in the photos are chefs, servers, proprietors and other industry professionals as well as the construction of their drinks of choice. The beverages were prepared with love by master bartender John R. Myers.

Why did you settle on a Gin and Tonic? 

I don’t even know. I guess when drinking out with friends you try new drinks here and there and it was always… I just enjoyed it. Especially in the Summer time and with Spring coming…

It’s like you’re trying to force the hand of the weather. 

I am willing it.

How did you get into the food industry?

It has actually all been at Hugo’s and Eventide, though before I had done small restaurant positions while at school. I worked down on the water at Portland Lobster Company, so it was Summer time and I would work really hard and then go to school. I needed something more because I was graduating and [Eventide] had a job posting up on Craigslist. I responded and it took them two weeks to get back to me. I think they were scrambling at that point. I started the day they opened the business.

It was pretty much a blank slate for me. Like I said, I had a little bit of a basic education but they taught me everything.

This industry can be a difficult one and sometimes people don’t stick around for very long. What made you stick around? 

I went to school for art, sculpture and French. For me, it was a marriage of all of those things. It was a tactile and visual thing. There are materials and you are changing them and there are endless possibilities and I fell in love with it. And you go in every day and it is never the same. It is not always the easiest, but there is always something to learn and there are great people to work with.

What have you learned? 

My biggest recent challenge was about spherification. [Note: Spherification is the culinary process of shaping liquid into spheres]. I went into it blind, thinking it would be easy. You know, you mix these things together and… It didn’t turn out well. I had a slight meltdown at work, which was slightly embarrassing and infuriating and people were scared. I was scared for them. [Laughs] So I had to step away from that. I went back into it and actually planned it and did my homework. After finally getting it it was very exciting.

What have you picked up from your peers in the industry over the past two years. 

I can’t even list it all. It is so much every day. I think the biggest thing I have learned, especially having worked with Andrew and Mike [Taylor and Wiley, chefs and co-owners of Eventide Oyster Co. and Hugo's Restaurant]… There is just so much passion. Their view on restaurants and cooking. That is very inspiring and it makes you want to be there that much more. They know and they care so much and they want everyone to experience that. When you’re into it and you put your heart into it too, there is this beautiful balance and sharing of ideas that happens.

For more photos of Rodgers and her beverage of choice, check out her Shift Drinks interview over at Knack Factory.

PHOTO CREDIT: Zack Bowen / Knack Factory

Alex Steed

About Alex Steed

Alex Steed has written about and engaged in politics since he was an insufferable teenager. He has run for the Statehouse and produced a successful web series. He now runs a content firm called Knack Factory with two guys who are a lot more talented than himself.