“Smoked Specialties” are Spencer Smith’s Passion

Spencer Smith has worked at Carpe Vino for nearly three years, and he has developed into key employee whom we depended on to keep our inventory moving. Now he’s helping to add a new dimension to our restaurant menu with “Smoked Specialties.”

Spence’s parents, Debra and the late Gus Smith, were among our most frequent customers when we launched Carpe Vino in 2002. The Smith’s were building a home in Winchester and they frequented the Friendly Confines at its inception. . .though Spencer was too young to join them.

SpencerGrill.125930Following his 2013 graduation from Southern Illinois University (his dad’s alma mater), Spence joined us for what we anticipated would be a short stint. Now, has developed into a key employee, under the guidance of Chef Alexander, indulging his passion for getting in front of a smoker and producing magnificent ‘que. His latent talent has been idling since he worked at a BBQ joint near SIU.

He’s enthusiastic and committed to our new venture, and we love the guy! Here’s more about him–in his words–revealed in our recurring column, “18 Questions.”

1. Position and start date: I have dual roles as Warehouse Manager and Pitmaster; started on November 8, 2013.

2. Birthplace: Dallas, Texas.

3. Family: Are you married, engaged, children. . .? I am engaged, no children but my bride-to-be, Cassidy, has an amazing 11-year-old daughter named Maddison.

4. How did you get started in the hospitality business; where else have your worked? I got a job while in college working in the kitchen at 17th Street Bar & Grill in Murphysboro, Illinois, where I earned a Pitmaster job.

5. College or formal hospitality training: Graduated in 2013 from Southern Illinois University with a degree in Business Management and Entrepreneurship (GO DAWGS!), Carbondale, Illinois.

6. The part of your job you like best: Being behind the smoker and seeing smiles on people’s faces because of great food and wine.

7. If you ran this joint, what would you change? Get a forklift, and a bigger storage facility.

8. The book on your nightstand is: Thrasher Magazine (a skateboarding title).

9. What do you do for fun? Are you involved in any sports? Skateboarding, football, spending time with my family, golf and cooking.

10. What’s your passion? Having good times with great people. . .life is about experiences and having fun.

11. In five years, I’ll be. . .: Hopefully owing my own BBQ restaurant.

12. Favorite Carpe Vino dish: Pickled eggs, but when Chef and the crew in the kitchen make Papusas, they are amazing!

chickensmoking.17245713. Favorite restaurant, other than Carpe Vino: 17th Street Bar & Grill, Murphysboro, Illinois.

14: Favorite wine: Anything from Orin Swift or Behrens Family tends to be quite tasty.

15: What would we be surprised to learn about you? I’ve been skateboarding for 17 years and I am obsessed with dogs and football.

16. What do you like best about living in the Foothills? Being able to go to snow or the beach whenever I want, but also being away from all the crowds.

17. What one quality of yours do you think makes you most successful at your job? Just having a good work ethic. . .my dad always taught me that if I work hard people would respect me and success would follow.

18. Who in the whole world inspires you most and why? My parents: My mother is an amazing woman, the rock in our family and I know that I can always depend on her for anything. My father was an amazing man who came from nothing to having a very successful career and supporting a great family. I am always trying to make them proud. Love you guys, R.I.P., Pops!