Mixologist Donnie Pratt of Cucina24 - Biography
Donnie Pratt needed a job during a long semester off from college, and luckily for us, he stumbled into chef-owned Argentine steak restaurant called Lomo Grill. He worked as a line cook for former Sous Chef Mike Moore, who now owns The Blind Pig Supper Club and Seven Sows Bourbon & Larder. Moore had been a recent culinary grad who was eager to teach Pratt the right way of doing things, and this relationship became fundamental to Pratt’s success.
Moving back to Greensboro to finish school, Moore took a job waiting tables while enrolled in school and simultaneously trying to break into the music industry. Starting as a server at the national chain PF Chang’s, Moore’s responsibilities quickly morphed into a bartending position where he was able to build a foundational skillset over two years before a telephone call led to the next opportunity.
On the other end of the line was Mike Moore. At the time, Moore was working on a project in Asheville, what would become The Blind Pig Supper Club. Looking to incorporate a cocktail program, Moore enlisted Pratt, who accompanied him to The Magnetic Field, a craft cocktail bar in the River Arts District of Asheville. When Manager Ken Klehm left The Magnetic Field, Pratt was tapped to work there two nights a week while still working at PF Chang’s.
The work and long hours paid off. Through the Blind Pig dinners, Pratt met Chef Brian Canipelli of Cucina24. And when The Magnetic Field shut down, Canipelli just happened to need a new bar manager. Over the course of just over a year—during which time he’s been the only person behind the bar—Pratt’s undergone the most significant professional growth so far in his career.