Mixologist Devon Espinosa of The Church Key - Biography
Los Angeles, CA
He might be a successful bartender now, but food was Mixologist Devon Espinosa’s first passion. He got into the culinary arts when he was just 16 years old during his junior year of high school, and a year later entered himself into the LA-based C-Cap (Careers Through Culinary Arts) program for high school students. Espinosa won a full ride to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, graduating with an Associate’s degree in Culinary Arts and a Bachelor’s degree in Professional Studies, Business, and Management. Espinosa was clearly a natural in cuisine. During the C-Cap competition, Espinosa was hired—on the spot—by judge and Pastry Chef Sherry Yard, who trained Espinosa for nine months at Spago Beverly Hills. Espinosa’s next move took him to an internship at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills under Executive Chef Conny Anderson, with whom Espinosa worked seasonally over the next two years.
His career might have taken a squarely culinary turn except for a little—and inevitable—twist of fate. Waiting tables to make requisite college pocket change, Espinosa actually found his true niche. As he describes it, he was “thrown to the wolves after a bartender walked out during a busy shift.” Not even 21, Espinosa was thrown into action behind the bar, with only a “cheesy bar book” to guide him. Fortunately, Espinosa had proven a natural with food—and that intuition for balancing flavor profiles and sourcing the best ingredients translated well behind the bar. Since that first surprise shift, Espinosa’s worked at dive bars, lounges, and clubs, finding his footing as beverage program director for AK Restaurant during its transition into The Tasting Kitchen in Venice Beach. Most recently, Espinosa was at the helm of the bar program at Chef Michael Voltaggio’s ambitious ink. His next move took him to Pour Vous, a French champagne salon where Espinosa delves into the world of French spirits and flavor profiles.
Over the course of his career, Espinosa’s developed his own mixology series called Hatchi Mix, garnered praise (LA’s Best Bartender, LA Eater’s “Shaker of the Year”), and made multiple appearances in television and print.