Friends With Benefits: Ashley Lester
Las Vegas is a mecca for food and beverage professionals, and a job in that industry here is a truly coveted position. While it can take many years to reach the top of the summit, for Ashley Lester, director of beverage for Luxor, it took only five.
“The first three years I just worked,” says the Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., native. “I didn’t have much of a social life. I was a super hard worker—long days, every day. Whatever it took, and just taking ownership of my position. I wanted to learn everything when I started. Basically, have my hand in every portion of the department so I could set myself up for success.”
And success she has found. When she moved to Vegas five years ago she brought with her years of experience in bars and restaurants in her hometown. She had worked her way up the corporate ladder into management at other on-Strip properties before being tapped by Luxor for the director position one year ago.
“Luxor is a very approachable property,” Lester says. “A lot of leisure guests, families, conventions—it’s kind of a mixture of everything. It’s fun and easygoing, so our cocktails reflect that.” Lester and her team take care of anything beverage related, from casino bars and showrooms to lounges and restaurant bars.
“I like to be very involved,” she says. “My role is more mentorship and development—setting standards for managers beneath me.” Lester certainly has a full plate when it comes to overseeing a whole property’s beverage offerings.
“I come from a strong female lineage,” Lester says. “I have really strong female Italian genes. I was raised to go out there and get it done and don’t complain—a little old-school but it made me who I am, and it worked!”
Liquid Silk Martini
Go classic with an elegant twist when you order the Liquid Silk Martini at Luxor’s popular steakhouse, Tender Steak & Seafood. It’s made with Absolut Elyx vodka and dry vermouth (done James Bond-style—shaken, not stirred) and served in a copper coupe with blue cheese-stuffed olives. The signature cocktails at Tender are classic, fun and very drinkable and use fresh fruit and herbs, says Lester. From a lavender martini or a beer cocktail with grapefruit to the Bond-style Liquid Silk Martini, “Every cocktail is one that you’d say, ‘Wow, I’d like to have another one of these please!’” says Lester.
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