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Meet Your 2023 World Class West National Finalists

By Marcela Rudershausen posted 04-25-2023 00:20


2023 USBG World Class Sponsored By DIAGEO season is in full swing! The Top 30 competitors are fiercely preparing for the National Competition taking place in Austin, TX on May 16-18. They'll take part in three challenges that will test their skills and knowledge behind the bar before learning if they made it to the Top 5 and then taking it all as the 2023 U.S. Bartender of the Year!

Get to know the Top 10 West National finalists!

::West Region::

Heather Biesemeier

I'm originally from Minnesota but have been in LA since 2009. The locals all say I've been here long enough to be considered one of them now. I have lived near downtown LA or what's considered North East LA for the last 10 years and have embraced all the culture around me. Being from Minnesota moving to LA was a complete culture shock. From the fruit cart and elote vendors who walk around my block to watching the fireworks throughout the neighborhood when the Dodgers win. The pride and sense of community I have seen is amazing and I hope to bring some of that with me to the competition.

I have been in the service industry since I was 19 as a host and moved to server then bartender within the year and haven't looked back. In Minnesota it was legal at the time to bartend before you were 21, so I started at 20. It's been a wild 17 years working at Fridays to spending a good part of my adulthood at the Standard Hotel. I worked there for 10 years and feel that's where I found myself as a bartender. I love bartending and am finally being at a spot where I can create and have fun making and trying out new cocktails. It's a journey when I started that I wasn't expecting to take but am so happy that I did! Cheers! Here's to the competition and the rest of the competitors!

Maggie Dale

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Maggie is originally from Minnesota and currently resides in Los Angeles, California. Prior to LA, she worked in New York City for 10 years, where she affectionately earned her nickname of "Spritz Queen" from her colleagues and friends. She hopes to continue to teach the world to spritz as she grows her company, Bitter Monday, that she runs with her best friend, Cassidy. When not bartending, Maggie enjoys exploring California nature, soaking in hot tubs and hosting her friends for aperitivo hour.

Dominick Demartino

Growing up in Las Vegas I've been in the food and beverage industry since I was 15 years old. I have done it all from dish washer, food runner, prep cook, server, but I always wanted to bartend, so I turned 21 and started bartending. I've bartended for Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich at Carnevino Italian Steakhouse witch was the number one steakhouse in Las Vegas for five years. I was lead bartender at RX Boiler Room for chef Rick Moonen for about two years. Soon after I became lead mixologist for Salvatore Calabrese at Bound by Salvatore Calabrese, he only had about a year and a half left on his contract after which I took over the bar program. During my five years at Bound I've won six mixology competitions, including Hennessy, Stoli Elit, Appleton Rum and the Herradura Legends. I've now been at the Legacy Club for over 2 years. I won my 7th competition in New Orleans last Tales of the Cocktail. I was also honored to go to Tales with Salvatore Calabrese when Bound was nominated Top 10 Hotel Bars in the country. 

Most of all I am a family man with two great children and my beautiful wife, everything I do is for them.

Michael Guzman

I started my career in the industry at 16 at a small country club in Sahuarita, Arizona. While there I worked my way up to bartender under the mentorship of a longtime bartender from Mexico City. A while later I moved to Denver to pursue a career in music, but this was cut short when I was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. This prompted my to take a job at a TGI Fridays to pay bills. Here I learned how to flair bartend and these skills took me to Las Vegas where I opened Guy Fieri's Vegas Kitchen and Bar as a flair bartender. During this time, I competed in flair bartending competitions all over the world including the World Flair Association World Finals in London England. In 2019 I chose to retire from flair and focus on craft cocktails and mixology competitions.

Over the next few years, I opened or managed Vanderpump Cocktail Lounge at Caesar's Palace, Bugsy and Myer's Steak House at the Flamingo and Legacy Club in Circa Hotel and Casino, Ghost Donkey in Denver, Co and Then Burger in Glendale, Arizona. During this time I received my certified spirits specialist certification, WSET in both wine and spirits, and other various certifications. 

Steph Krawczyk

I grew up in Massachusetts and began working for family friends at their Italian restaurant as a hostess, then server, and then bartender. I fell in love with the ability to be creative through beverages, and knew I wanted to be involved in the craft cocktail scene. I then graduated college and bartended at the Nantucket Yacht Club, learning more about the importance of fresh juices and product. Kind of seems like a no-brainer these days, right? And from there, I took to the road and went to Montana to work at the legendary Yellowstone Club, learning heavily about bourbons and ryes. From there, found myself in sunny Orange County CA where I don't have to shovel snow, bartending at the Lido House Hotel. Flash forward 4 years, and I am now the Director of Restaurants & Bars at that very hotel. Outside of the industry, if such a world even exists, I like to hike, spend time with my girlfriend of 7 years, our pets, and see a movie or find a delicious place to enjoy some Pinot Noir and a good meal.

Life is too short to be hungry, so I say go out to eat as often as you can afford. Try new things, and always remember to have fun!

Sam Penton

I have spent the last decade in the service industry learning the art of craft cocktails and hospitality. My proudest take away from working in hospitality is the friendships I have made from all corners of the country. I have moved to work in Phoenix, Los Angeles, Denver, and Charleston. My guilty pleasure will always be a dirty Tanqueray martini.

Mark Sassi

Mark Sassi is currently the Director of Operations for Rob Roy, Navy Strength, Vinnie's, and Trade Winds Tavern in Seattle, WA. His love of music, language, and other cultures is infectious, as he has lived in and traveled to multiple countries. Mark is fluent in Spanish and is proficient in Portuguese and German. Outside of making World Class cocktails, he loves spending time with his partner and dog while they explore all the entertainment the Pacific Northwest offers. Mark has recently participated in the Bar 5 Day work-study program and has competed in World Class since 2018. He is excited to represent the Pacific Northwest to display his hospitality and passion for the cocktail industry.

Aaron Siak

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I'm currently working in Los Angeles as a bartender at Angelini Ristorante and head bartender at Bad News Bars, a premium full-service events bar business. My bar career began at Franklin Mortgage and Investment Co in Philadelphia in 2011; I worked there as a server, bartender, general manager and ultimately partner for the company. We were fortunate enough to be nominated by the James Beard Foundation 4 consecutive years for the most outstanding bar program in the country. After that, I joined The Walker Inn team in Los Angeles a few months after opening - we were recognized as a Top 50 Bar in the world in 2016. My most exciting and rewarding work came in 2016 and 2017 when I was hired as the operating partner for a business called Status Kuo, a family oriented Taiwanese fusion sandwich shop. My role was to reconcept the business, which we did into a split concept: Little Fatty (Taiwanese soul food) and Accomplice Bar (a neighborhood cocktail joint); both establishments thrive today, with Accomplice Bar receiving a Spirited Award nomination at Tales 2018. After a hiatus, I started bartending again on Venice Beach and recently rededicated myself to my craft. In 2022, I placed in the top 50 at USBG Presents World Class Sponsored By Diageo and this year I recently completed the Bar 5-Day Program. Prior to getting into the industry, I was a certified public accountant (CPA).

Jonathan Stanyard

Jonathan Stanyard is a well-versed industry professional. He has over 20 years of experience perfecting the art of hospitality while bartending in and outside restaurants and bars. Since 2019 he has operated The Bitter Gringo Co., specializing in cocktail consultation, content creation, and recipe development. Jonathan continues to pursue the craft of hospitality within the food and beverage business while sharing his vast knowledge with his community.

Marie Yoshimizu

Marie has started her mixology journey as a new hobby during the global pandemic back in 2020 when all the bars and restaurants were closed. Now, she's an event and mobile bartender on weekends and holidays through Party On the Rocks in western Washington and a rocket scientist by day.

Good Luck to our West National competitors!


#WorldClassUS #worldclass2023 #WorldClassCocktails #USBG #DIAGEO 


Stay tuned for more highlights on the competitors by region, more news about the competitions, and an announcement of the 2023 World Class US Bartender of the Year!