Born in Ethiopia and raised in Detroit, Gedeon Tsegaye is a former chef who turned to the cocktail world, and is one of San Francisco’s only high-profile black bar directors.

By Justin Phillips (San Francisco Chronicle) |

Gedeon Tsegaye’s life in the bar industry is one of juxtaposition.

Born in Ethiopia and raised in Detroit, he is a former chef who turned to the cocktail world, and is one of San Francisco’s only high-profile black bar directors. As the mind behind the Alexander’s Steakhouse bar in San Francisco, he can methodically explain an in-house barrel-aging process, or with the same penache, wax poetically about the merits of washing Tequila in Wagyu fat.

His cocktails are popular among a predominantly affluent Bay Area crowd, some of whom indulge in $500 shots of exclusive spirits and $45 mixed-drinks made with rare labels. Recently, Kim Kardashian and her husband Kanye West ate dinner at Alexander’s with their daughter, North.

It’s a pursuit a world removed from San Francisco’s glitzy bar scene, but it’s also one that relies on it. Gedeon’s dream is to launch a food and beverage business that provides sustenance in bulk quantities to African countries. In a perfect world, the company would be based in Africa so funding the company receives to create specific foods will remain in the country.

GedeonTsegaye spent 10 years as a chef before joining the cocktail world where he learned about flavor combinations under the tutelage of chefs like Charles Phan and Daniel Patterson.

The decision to shift his focus to cocktails came after Gedeon realized in order to launch his food-related business, he needed to understand commercial production.

“In the bar world, where mass production of one type of thing is the foundation, I knew getting here would be a chance to see it function on a large-scale in a successful market,” he said.

Continue reading this story at San Francisco Chronicle
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