As Executive Chef of Liberty Call Distilling since 2017, Miguel Valdez keeps his focus on farm-to-table fare. A native San Diegan, Valdez grew up in the vibrant neighborhood of Barrio Logan. His humble entrance into the culinary scene included working as a dishwasher at fifteen, and soon after delivering and making pizzas. Later, while working as an agricultural assistant at Washington State University, Valdez informally taught himself to cook by studying the science of organic produce and cultivation. Eschewing a formal culinary education, upon returning to San Diego he worked under chef Eric Bauer at the now defunct Anthology—to which Valdez credits becoming passionate about cooking—before landing in the kitchens of such acclaimed local restaurants as 100 Wines by Cohn Restaurant Group, The Wellington Steak & Martini Lounge and The Red Door Restaurant & Wine Bar. Today, Valdez is an in-demand chef highly respected for his sustainable practices and commitment to working with local farmers, and can often be found reinventing and modernizing classic dishes. He has appeared on Food Network’s nationally televised Guy’s Grocery Games and is one of three out of thousands of nominees to receive the National Restaurant Association’s prestigious Faces of Diversity American Dream Award for his hard work and perseverance. Valdez has also enjoyed ongoing involvement in the non-profit Berry Good Foundation, and in his spare time has spent hundreds of hours cooking for charities and volunteering to teach low-income mothers how to prepare healthy, cost-effective meals.
As General Manager and Lead Bartender of Liberty Call Distilling since 2013, Albert Allison is a career hospitality professional with a passion for flavors, cocktails and life in general. A San Diego native, with mid western family roots, Albert grew up in North County San Diego and attended UC Davis (2004) where he received a BS in Managerial Economics while honing his bartending skills at a local pizzeria. He also holds an MBA from Western Michigan University (2014) so technically is the smartest bartender in San Diego (only on paper). Eschewing efforts to be a celebrity mixologist, Albert has instead focused his training and knowledge on traveling to taste ingredients that could possibly turn into a cocktail flavor/experience. He’s worked in many different hospitality capacities from room service attendant to catering company manager to bar consultant. Albert wants to pour everyone a delicious cocktail, thus saving the world one shot at a time. One of his biggest influences and mentors, Michael Gary Scott, inspires Albert to not be superstitious but just a little stitious. “Would I rather be feared or loved? Easy. Both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me” - MGS.