Feasting Famously: Gina Chersevani

Mixtress/Bagel Maven Taking DC by Storm

My girl crush, Gina Chersevani.

Gina Chersevani is the founder and owner of Union Market’s cult following restaurant: Buffalo & Bergen.  But before she opened up the New York bagel and knish hot spot, she was slinging drinks all over town as the crowds followed.  She is vibrant, knowledgeable, motivated, and an overall badass lady bawse, who I admire greatly and look up to as a role model and mentor in the food industry.  Gina’s positive attitude and love for all things food and drink is contagious, and spending the day with her is always filled with adventures and laughter. She knows how to get shit done, run a successful business, and takes the time to show a newbie (me) around the city — where we shop at her favorite kitchen store, rub elbows with industry folk at Union Market, and get a behind the scenes tour of the new Line DC Hotel from her life partner, Neil.

Gina is incredibly talented, humble and down-to-Earth. When she has an idea, she does what it takes to reach her goals and maintain consistency and success. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for her and I hope you enjoy my interview with her as you get to see another side of this wonderful human.  Here we go!

How/when did you get into mixology?

Around 2002 when I was bouncing around NY and D.C. mixing drinks.  A friend, named Charles gave me my first cocktail book, called Diffords Guide and that was when I was hooked.

What kind of diner/customer do you absolutely loathe?

The know-it-all…come to the bar and enjoy the experience don’t try to one up the bartender, it’s never good for anyone.

What was the biggest obstacle you faced while on your career path to becoming a celeb mixologist?

Probably being a woman, back when I first came up and even now (sometimes) people believe that the man behind the bar pours a better drink.

What is a dish or beverage that you make regularly for yourself or your family at home?

Vintage seltzer, spearmint tea, and whiskeys (all kinds).

Tell me one “must order” item from Buffalo & Bergen.

Food…A knish served open faced and pile high with pastrami, swiss and kraut — and smothered in turnpike sauce. {Ed. note: drooooooll}

Who is your dream dinner party guest?

My Father. I would love to cook for him one more time.  I lost him last year and he was my biggest fan and my worst critic.

What’s your favorite restaurant to dine at in DC? (besides your own)

Wow…Roses Luxury haven’t had a bad meal yet.

The famous Lox’d and Loaded Bloody Mary at Buffalo & Bergen.

Have you been “star struck” by another chef? If so, who?

Jacques Pepin. I had the privilege and honor to cook with him once and it was amazing but I made a fool of myself and it’s all on tape.  I was stuttering and nervous and I was in Chef whites, and I am not a chef just a good cook and pretty decent bartender.

Give me one piece of advice for up and coming mixologists or food industry up and comers.

It takes time.  There is no instant successes that last a long time. If you want a career and longevity, do the time and study under someone that will teach not taunt you.

What is your go-to snack when you’re HANGRY?

Cheese…all kinds of cheese.  I love it.  Quick easy and usually not messy.

Fun fact about yourself?

I love listening to music in the car and singing like I have a mic in my hand.  Habit from when I was a kid.  People give me the oddest looks, and I know Neil really loves me because I am terrible singer. {Ed. note: SQUEE! <3 <3}

Check out our two videos below of DC Chef’s Cooking for Kids!

Gina makes her version of a smoothie bowl for the kids and turns it into a cocktail for the adults!

Tiki Cocktail Recipe:

2 oz. Dark Rum
1 oz. Gin
1 oz. Citrus – pressed juice or fresh lemon/lime
Herbs of choice – “Go steal them from your neighbors!” – Gina

Stir and enjoy!

Also, check out her cute take on mini bagels, which you can find at her restaurant, Buffalo & Bergen!

Leave a Reply