Miami native, Gary Rojas, General Manager of Pizza & Burger by Michael Mina credits his mentor Angelo Papile for taking him under his wing and showing him everything there is to know in the food and beverage industry. While mentoring with Angelo, he took on multiple positions to learn as much as he could. From being a Busser, Server, Bar Back, Bartender, and Line Cook; they all provided him with the knowledge to elevate his career which has given him the opportunity to pass along everything he’s learned to those following in his footsteps.
What prepared you for this role?
I mastered being a busser first, then serving, bar backing, bartending, food running, hosting, prep cook and line cook. This really set the foundation of my career by being able to pass on my knowledge in the food and beverage industry to those who wanted to learn. Interacting with different characters and learning from every situation and how it was handled by my mentors.
Who has inspired you in your life and why?
Angelo Papile, he was my mentor growing up and the first General Manger that I had, he took me under his wing and showed me all that he knew inside of the food and beverage industry. Taught me how to open up a bottle of wine and how to decant it, he taught me how to stack plates when bussing, he was the first person who taught me how to make a mojito , taught me how to get a food cost and a beverage cost ,and the list never ends. Thank you Angelo.
The three qualities that got me where I am today:
Consistency, Empathy, Enthusiasm
Kind of work I’d do for free:
Helping my friends move and paint
Who I admire and Why:
My Mom, Martha Rojas, she’s the strongest woman I know. Worked hard for years in order to put me in good schools and taught me my core values of what dignity is, being honest, having respect and integrity.
If I could live in a foreign country:
Italy, I love their food, wine and culture
On my bucket list:
Sky diving, Divers license, back pack through Europe
Both my parents migrated to the US in the early 80s, my dad is Bolivian and my mom is El Salvadorian.
Best career advice I’ve gotten:
Treat all of my guests like I was treating my family over for dinner.
For more insights from Gary, visit him at Pizza & Burger by Michael Mina!