Carina Soto Velasquez
Carina grew up in Colombia finishing her early schooling in the city of Medellin. She moved to Paris in 2004 to learn French and later studied sociology at Paris X. She had some experience working in restaurants and, having always been attracted by the food and beverage industry, she then decided to study Marketing and Management in Hospitality.
She worked at a range of places from dive bars to traditional restaurants and even a stint at Michelin-starred La Tour d’Argent. In 2007 she started her professional bartending career, working in one of the first craft cocktail bars in Paris as their first bartender. Eventually graduating to manager, during her three year tenure she was responsable for hiring/training all new staff for the rapidly growing group.
She took first prize for her original recipe in France’s national cocktail contest, Les Trophées du Bar, in 2008 – a fantastic experience that opened the doors to meet distributors, importers and producers in the spirits and bar industry.
Carina is one of the founders of Quixotic Projects, a Paris-based hospitality company which owns and manages the venues Candelaria, Glass, Le Mary Celeste, Hero. The group won the public call for tenders to run the restaurant and cafeteria inside de Palais de Tokyo. Les Grands Verres their newest project.
Complementing her work with Quixotic, she has worked with spirits brands to design cocktails, develop new products, organize promotional events and as a judge for international cocktail competitions. She also speaks at international gastronomy, bar and hospitality conventions (ex. Parabere Forum, the Basque Culinary Center, Cocktail Spirits and BCB – Bar Convent Berlin).