In a nation-wide search for the best and brightest female talents in the cocktail and culinary community, only twenty female business-owners were selected to attend the prestigious Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership [WEL] program – including Gina Chersevani and Tiffany MacIsaac, the only two participants from Washington, D.C. The exclusive initiative, which is part of the James Beard Foundation and its Women’s Leadership Programs, provides in-depth education, fellowship, and networks to help owners expand their businesses and strengthen management skills, as well as support personal and professional growth. WEL’s 2019-2020 program kicks off with its annual five-day business retreat [October 27 – November 1, 2019] at Costanoa Lodge in Pescadero, CA.
Well-versed in all things spirited, Gina Chersevani’s handcrafted syrups and cocktails have earned attention from publications including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Wine Enthusiast, Food & Wine Magazine, and Washingtonian. Her growing empire includes Buffalo & Bergen, a retro soda counter with a soon-to open second location in Capitol Hill, along with the Last Call Bar [a speakeasy-inspired dive bar] and Suburbia [a vintage airstream trailer and cocktail haven parked by Union Market]. In 2010, Chersevani received the coveted Star Chefs Rising Star Award, recognizing her vision and dedication to the industry and was awarded the first-ever RAMW “RAMMY” for best Beverage/Mixology program. The distinguished Tales of the Cocktail organization also bestowed two honors: induction into the Dames Hall of Fame and awarding Buffalo & Bergen as one of the best high-volume cocktail bars in the country. And, in 2019, Chersevani was named as one of Imbibe Magazine’s “75 People to Watch.” Her participation in pro-bono efforts are vast and varied including her support the American Heart Association, Share Our Strength, and The Humane Society of Washington, DC – among others.
A three-time James Beard Foundation Award semi-finalist, Tiffany MacIsaac, moved to NYC at age 18 from her native state, Hawaii, to pursue a career in acting before diving into the world of pastry, climbing the ranks of kitchens from CRU to Allen & Delancy before relocating to the nation’s capital. After five years running the pastry operations for a restaurant group, the ambitious chef struck out on her own to open Buttercream Bakeshop. In 2018, she was named by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington as Pastry Chef of the Year – for the second time. As the in-demand cake designer for one of the country’s top wedding markets, Tiffany has made a name for herself as the forerunner in trends from drip cakes to ombré and hyperrealist 3D sugar flowers. For Washington’s most prominent weddings, she creates two-to-ten-tiered stunners in opalescent shades of white or hand-painted, gilded head-turners. MacIsaac remains actively committed to being involved in the local community – as an active supporter of Safe Shores, MacIsaac works with advocates for children and adolescents in the District of Columbia that are affected by trauma and violence.