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The People

Our Professionals Are Passionate About Hosting Perfect Events

We understand the importance of making an impression on your guests and clients.  A Virtual Toast is committed to making you look good for hosting the event.  Our team is composed of experts committed to making sure every detail of your event goes right.

Barry Tunnell

Vice President of Client Experience

Barry has worked in food, wine and hospitality for over 20 years.  He has developed award winning wine programs that feature small-production, handmade wines from some of the globe’s top producers.  Barry’s approach to wine emphasizes seasonality and corresponds to the menus and cuisines that the wines compliment.  His approach also seeks to make wines more approachable by creating unique formats and contexts for guests to explore and enjoy.  Barry has learned that the wine world is full of unique and interesting individuals and that that world is more dynamic, interesting and engaging when we can connect unique individuals over a glass or bottle.

Brian Aaron

Chef

Chef Brian Aaron began working in restaurants in Kansas City when he was 15. After high school, he attended Colorado State University where he graduated with a degree in Restaurant & Resort Management. While there, he trained in fine dining restaurants and studied abroad in Switzerland. Chef Brian furthered his training with a culinary degree from Johnson & Wales University where he was a member of an award-winning culinary team. After a year at the prestigious Brown Palace Hotel in Denver, he returned to Kansas City to become the Sous Chef of the fine dining Zin. Chef Brian went on to train with, and work alongside, many great chefs while extensively traveling the world to gain an appreciation of food and culture. He returned to Kansas City as the Executive Chef of Tannin Wine Bar & Kitchen. 

Jim Tighe

Host Manager

Raised in the Kansas City area, Jim was given his first glass of wine as a child by his Sicilian grandfather. Trips to Europe starting in his late teens set the hook deeper. Jim has worked in the hospitality industry in both California and Kansas City for the last 20 years. Since its inception in 2010, Jim has been working with his beloved team at Tannin Wine Bar in Kansas City’s crossroad district.

Wine is a passion for Jim, and he feels fortunate to be able to work with it. But more than anything, it is the people who make the world of food and wine so extraordinary for him. He loves talking about great wines and the people and stories behind them as much as he enjoys drinking them.

Roger Avila

Host

A Texas native with a life-long aspiration of hospitality, Roger Avila is a prime example of a “restaurant guy.” Starting in the kitchen as a line cook and then moving his way up to a general manager, there is no space in the restaurant he hasn’t touched. Like everyone else, he agrees, a hard day’s work is best ended with a relaxing beverage. This is what has moved Roger to explore and study the world of food and wine. His studies have landed him on a cross-country tour exploring different regional cuisines from working harvests in the Willamette Valley in Oregon and exploring the Pacific Northwest, to winning squirrel-cooking competitions in Arkansas, to bartending in Kansas City, learning the blue-collar culture of midwestern cuisine. Roger is a Wine and Spirits Educational Trust (WSET) Level 2. He enjoys graphic design, tiki nights, and 90’s hip-hop.

Michael Bader

Host

Growing up in South Dakota, Michael attended South Dakota State University and worked his first job as a cook at Great Bear Ski Lodge in Sioux Falls. After graduating with a Music Education degree, Michael moved to Kansas City to continue his education. Eventually finishing two master’s degrees: one in Vocal Performance and another in Choral Conducting. His first serious experience with wine was bottling at a winery in Iowa, which spurred a love of wine that has since continually grown over several years. His passion for wine, spirits, cocktails, and coffee have led him from working in wineries, bars, restaurants, to teaching courses on gin as well as cocktails. With a background in education, Michael enjoys sharing his study of wine and spirits with others. His belief is that beverages and food not only present the terroir of a place, but they can be a lens for us to understand the history and the people of a place. You can often find Michael at a coffee shop reading a book on some kind of beverage, having a board game or tiki night, or singing in his apartment.

Amy Summers

Senior Concierge Manager

Through the years, Amy has enjoyed supporting new and local restaurants.
Her introduction to the hospitality industry began by hosting at an esteemed, locally owned restaurant in Kansas City, MO. A highlight of her career was connecting with guests and assuring they received exceptional experiences. Naturally, her convivial energy and appreciation for the industry made her an ideal Event Coordinator for the restaurant. As her career advanced, Amy continued to gain skills and insights, making her a more knowledgeable and proficient planner.

She aspires to create remarkable experiences for guests with her attention to detail and warmth, making her a unique and notable event planner. Not only does she strive to create wonderful events that are memorable and enjoyable for your guests, she, works diligently to assure that the planning feels effortless to you, the host.

When not planning your next event, Amy loves spending time outside with friends, cooking and enjoying wine. On quieter days you can find her catching up on reading for her book club, nurturing her plants and snuggling her gigantic rescue pup and sweet kitties.

Contact Us To Schedule A Consultation With Our Wine Concierge