2009 CRCBC Bios – Competitors

Laura Paolozza comes from a long line of baristas. While pursuing a degree in literature and Italian cinema at the university of Toronto, she found herself in need of employment. Naturally, she chose to embrace her destiny and take her rightful place behind the espresso machine. Since then Laura has worked behind the bar of several of Toronto’s top cafes, bar, and restaurants. She currently works at the Osteria Ciceri E Tria by Terroni.

Samuel James – A barista now for 4 years with experience in various cafes across the city, as well as a participant in 4 barista competitions, and winner of the 2008 regional barista championships, Samuel is set to open his own cafe early August named Sam James Coffee Bar, where he will feature coffees prepared as espresso drinks, as well as french press and hand milled siphon coffees made to order. Samuel will also be featuring his signature drink from this year’s competition on the menu at his cafe.

Neil Rankin has no cell phone. Neil Rankin is rarely at home. When he’s at work he’s at work. When he’s making coffee he’s making coffee. When he’s playing music he’s playing music. When he’s on his bicycle he’s on his bicycle. That’s where you’ll find him most of the time.

Chris Tellez – “I started in coffee about three years ago as a part-time job while in high school. It quickly became an obsession and a passion. Now i make coffee a whole lot, and I like it too. I drink espresso and live in a small town. Solid!”

Ian Di Chiaro – “My name is Ian Di Chiaro, my home cafe is Lit Espresso Bar located on Roncesvalles ave. I’ve only been a barista for less than a year now however i have been quickly introduced to the espresso world. For the competition i have chosen to use an espresso from the regions Caranavi, Carmo de Minas. Those are located in Brazil and Bolivia. I chose this espresso because i have worked with it the most in my brief career and it is also the best my pallet has tasted so far.”

Momiji Kishi – “Fond my love for espresso in Australia few years back. I have been a barista ever since then. I became a barista because I just wanted to recreate the drinks I had in Australia but it became my passion. I love great food and in love with coffee!”

Ivonne Ramirez – “I LOVE COFFEE. My first job in Canada was working as a barista in an Italian Cafe and ever since then I’ve had a passion for coffee.  I competed in the Canadian Eastern Regional Barista Championship in 2007 and I got 3rd place.  Today I run my own café. It’s such a pleasure to keep experimenting with coffee. I love to brew new flavours and come up with different flavours for all the coffee lovers such as myself.”

Adam Vrankulj – “I have been working as a barista for 5 years and am excited to compete in this years’ regional championship. Much of my time is devoted to fully understanding coffee, and pulling the perfect shot. I am always looking to try new beans, and new methods of extraction. Coffee is constantly evolving and it is important and exciting to me, as a barista, to be a part of its growth.”

Giacomo Bruno – 33 years old … Owner/Operator of Isabella’s Chocolate Café, Downtown Oshawa … “I am a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design in the field of Integrated Media.  In 2006 I satisfied a personal goal and opened Isabella’s Chocolate Café offering fresh food, great coffee and of course, chocolate.  I chose to open in my community as I felt it was important to introduce a more upscale and inviting venue.  I nurtured the local music and art community by offering space for exhibitions and live music. I am married and have two wonderful girls- Isabella and Sophia.”

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