Justin Alexander grew up in Rome, NY and was introduced to the hospitality industry at an early age of 5 years old while he rinsed out soda cans for food establishments for redemption. He was lucky enough to assist his family during Sunday brunch after mass toasting and buttering the bread. Justin then graduated from toast to stirring the scramble eggs. Justin always had a fascination with art, music, being creative, and making people as well as their stomachs happy. Through out his upbringing, he always worked in the food, beverage and hospitality industry.
Once of Justin’s passion is water, liquid or frozen. He is an outdoor enthusiast and extreme sport thrill seeker. When Justin’s family asked what he wanted to pursue after graduating high school, he informed them of training and joining the winter X-Games on ESPN. His parents mentioned of a Culinary College locally in New York and since Justin had never been classically trained it sparked his interest. Justin attended the Culinary Institute of America located in Hyde Park, NY. He graduated top of his class of seventy students as the group leader and earned most improved student scholarship as well as the student & staff leadership scholarship that was voted on by his peers and instructors. While on his externship at the Ritz-Carlton Resort located in Laguna Niguel, California this property excepted the award as the number one Ritz in the world. Justin learned tremendous information about real world situations and himself during his time on the west coast.
Justin loved the foundation and life skills of the Culinary world, but wanted to grow his knowledge, experience, and education in operations. His next step was to attend Cornell University in Ithaca, NY for their Hotel and Restaurant Management program. After that, Justin received an academic scholarship to Johnson & Wales University located in Denver, Co and Miami, Fl. He earned and graduated with the major of food and beverage hospitality management as well as business management with minors in leadership as well as sales & marketing. He also became the youngest wine sommelier and master beer taster to enter the Guild of Internationals Sommelier’s while in Colorado.
While Justin had his summers free from formal education, he decided to move to Maui, Hawaii and join Roy Yamaguchi’s team that brought the Pacific Rim Cuisine mainstream in the early 1990’s with a focus that reflects the inspiration of farm to table local ingredients and products. Justin was blessed to experience this first hand as well as learning how to surf, kite board, and master scuba diving while immersed to the Hawaiian culture
Justin has spent most of the last two decades at the beach for six months and mountains for six months in either in Lake Tahoe or Boulder Colorado. He enjoyed opening up award winning businesses and being an entrepreneur. He left the hotel and restaurant life twelve years ago to join the hospitality healthcare career. He moved back to New York recently to look after his parents. Justin has a furry daughter named Nava Bacon Benjo that is eight years old. He rescued her from a Navajo reservation in New Mexico with a unique breed containing Siberian Husky, German Shepard, Jindo, and Coyote.