Chef Lauren Paylor cooking at the grill

8 min read

Out of the Fire with Lauren Paylor

Posted Aug 31, 2021 Updated Apr 15, 2024

Meet Lauren Paylor

A bartender and mixologist, Lauren Paylor established her thorough understanding of service, cocktails, spirits, and wine at Drink Co. As the lead bartender, Paylor soaked up a lifetime of knowledge and led the team to success by applying the lessons and wisdom while working.

Following her time at Drink Co, Lauren became an F&B manager for Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants in Washington, D.C. which provided her an introduction to management. With management tools in her toolbelt, Paylor tackled The Dabney, a one Michelin star restaurant.

Prior to Covid-19, Lauren was employed at Silver Lyan at the Riggs DC Hotel under the management of the Mr. Lyan beverage company. Creative, ambitious, and a dreamer, Lauren has taken time during Covid-19 to co-found and own Focus on Health, a company concentrated on health and wellness for food and beverage employees, alongside fellow renowned mixologist and bartender Alex Jump.

Chef Lauren Paylor embracing a friend

Lauren Paylor's Unique BBQ Expression

At the core of her perception of BBQ, Lauren explains, "BBQ is all about community. When I think of BBQ food, my mind immediately develops an image of individuals standing around a table with family side dishes, catching up, reminiscing, and playing games."

This community perspective of BBQ emerged from her memories of growing up in the Bronx, New York, where family BBQs were a regular summertime activity. Lauren revealed in her youth; her family BBQ'd from the first day of the summer until the last day of summer. With memories filled with going over to aunt and uncle's home for BBQs, Lauren described how the children would sit at a kids' table, and the adults, with a drink in their hands, would socially mix, typically, with good music.

While just for a night, the ambiance Lauren created is indicative of the power BBQ can instill as we find our way back to one another. While good food alone brings people together, someone needs to create an environment, sustain and engage people, and do so in a place that leaves everyone in attendance, craving more.

Chef Lauren Paylor's amazing seafood spread

Lauren Paylor & Reconnecting

On the night of Lauren Paylor's BBQ, rain came and went throughout the night, but the effervescence of being together again kept the vibes high. When the rain let up just long enough to fire up the grill for Oysters Rockefeller, the party made its way outside, allowing guests to mix and mingle in the open air.

As the food cooked, two guests climbed up the treehouse and surveyed the scene, reminiscent of two rambunctious boys playing at a family BBQ, while other guests buzzed with excitement, fluttering about between the grill and guests, chatting away. A magical moment where the energy was palpable.

When the first drops of rain returned, it was our cue to take the party inside, but even the rain wasn't going to stop us from having our BBQ. A night with a beautiful reminder about how being together was more important than what was happening around us.

Chef Lauren Paylor and friends enjoying the atsmosphere

Lauren Paylor's BBQ Drinks & Eats

"Oh, you've never had BBQ the way we do it over here on the East Coast, near Maryland. We'll show you how it's done with crabs, oysters, and of course, all the traditional BBQ meats and fixings," Lauren Paylor exclaimed as she excitedly told the OLIPOP team about her plans for our BBQ. As she explained further, it became clear that we were about to enjoy a fusion of BBQs. As she puts it, "BBQ in D.C. is different from what I have encountered elsewhere. There are a lot of fusion styles here with BBQ that allow individuals to proudly represent their traditions and customs. In addition to incorporating seafood, here folks are roasting whole suckling pigs, whole turkeys, etc.… It's really cool to see the variance."

As a mixologist, Paylor made four different drinks, two were booze-less, and two were boozy, all equally delicious. Discover more about the cocktails and the recipes below.

Booze-less Sippers: Grovey Spritz, & Strawberry Vanilla Float

Boozy Sippers: Beeswax Bottled Punch and Orange Aperol Spritz

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