Meet the NGCS Team

I’m Josh Bishop. #bishopapproved and #greatsticksandbetterviews. A random, funny accident started a fun trend online where I take photos with a good view of scenery, my better half and sometimes a friend. I’ve met so many good people in the industry and it’s been a blessing. We like to work hard and play harder. Grew up in Texas and made the move to New England about 3 years ago. I’m in the car business so if you ever need some buying/selling advice please always ask!

Josh Bishop

Cigar Reviews

My name is Des Hammond and I live in Redditch UK. I started smoking cigars in 2013 while I was on vacation in Ibiza. It was a beautiful evening and I was offered a Cohiba; this is what changed my life. Since then I have developed a great love for cigars. When I get to relax and smoke a cigar, I feel like I am tasting the history of generations. A cigar to me is like a motion picture with the most interesting script.
 
In 2020, I decided to start my own cigar reviews channel called The Cigar Cabin. I wanted to record and share my passion with the world. Reaching out to people with my experiences has become such a great part of my life; there is so much to enjoying a cigar, and often I feel it deep in my heart.
 
On my free time, I like to share moments with the best gift I could have ever asked for, my 3 1/2 year old son Teddy who is everything to me. As for “me” time… stress is always relieved on the golf course while enjoying a cigar with friends, along with a glass of a smooth amber whiskey.
 

Des Hammond

Cigar Reviews

My life has been a punctuated series of obsessions. So it goes with autism. I have always been fascinated by cigars. The way they look. The way they smell. The class. The distinction. It harkens to a different time…a better time. What started as an awkward hobby in college in the 90’s exploded into a full on geek-out. It was another label on my mantle, another degree on my wall. Mathematician, comedian, lawyer, philosopher, screenwriter, cigar nerd. Like the others, I didn’t choose it. It chose me.  
​When the world ended in 2020, there wasn’t much to do other than smoke cigars, so I turned my obsession up to 11 and had my first Cuban cigar. After that, there was no going back. There was so much more to cigars than I had any idea. So much to know. So much to share. This led me to create my show, ‘The Gentleman and The Scholar’, with my best bud, John Welsh. In that show we showcase not just cigars but the culture itself. Good people, better sticks, and the best time. We want to spread our love of the entirety of cigar culture with the world, and so far it seems like the world is pretty okay with that.
​Cigars are more than a hobby. Certainly more than a vice. They are a culture. They are a way of life. A cigar is a 90 minute vacation. A time to reflect. A time to relax. A time to live. And a time to love. Once properly understood, it makes sense why we spend what we do on them. There is nothing I love more than sitting on my patio with my wife while we smoke cigars. It is the new sexy. In a time where everything is a trigger, a cigar is the ultimate relaxant. Find your sexy. Grab a stick.

Dr. Alex Z Stanford AKA The Scholar

Cigar Reviews

Hi, my name is Just and I have been a lifelong film fan (especially but not limited to horror). I have been long-time musician that even dabbled in stage a little bit, I finally got into the film-making scene in 2020 and hope to continue my passion in any way that I can whether it’s writing, producing, directing, or acting. In 2020/2021 I am working with Cheevies Film Productions. As well, I have worked on one project for Breaking Fate Entertainment. I’m planning to further my education in 2021. During the summer months, I run a charity group called Mowing for Heroes that provides free basic lawn care to disabled veterans and first responders.  As far as cigars, I have been smoking for about 18 years now. I also have an extensive pipe collection, switching off between smoking tobacco and using them to smoke the last nub of my cigars (if you haven’t, try this). 
Interests include: anything outdoors (camping, bike riding, shooting etc.), drinking whiskey, sports, cooking, and collecting movies and memorabilia. Family is very important to me and I credit everything I have and give a huge thanks to my beautiful wife and our 5-year-old son.

Justin Bower

Cigars in Cinema

My name is Jessica Q aka StogieChik.
I am the CEO and Founder of NV Media Advertising Agency based out of California, servicing national and international clients since 2016.
I tried my very first cigar on national television at the age of 21. Fast forward to about two years ago, I really became more fascinated with cigars as I started hanging out with the local cigar group where I live. We would meet up a few times a week to share experiences, discuss business and smoke. In June of 2020, I realized I had an obsession with cigar flavors, shapes, blends and decided to start my StogieChik Instagram page and share all my pictures and videos with the cigar community. I love Cubans and NCs. I hope to travel the world visiting cigar factories after the pandemic slows down. In the meantime, I enrolled in the Tobacconist University to build my knowledge of the wonderful world of cigars. Follow my journey on Instagram @StogieChik and find my calendar and other goodies at StogieChik.com. I can’t wait to share my reviews and experiences with you all.

Jessica Q aka StogieChik

Cigar Reviewer

       I’m just an old German boy from Nebraska who was dropped on his head at age 2, and found himself living here and there around the world. Mostly near coastal waters, so I learned to swim early, I guess just to make sure, Dad took me to a pool around the same time and tossed me in the deep end with the idea it was either sink or swim. I’ve been chasing those deep ends ever since, so when I take an interest in something it is all in, there & no dipping toes in for me.

       I currently live within a five minute walk off the Chesapeake Bay in coastal Virginia where I can pursue some of my other favorite pursuits like salt and freshwater fly fishing, cycling and swimming.

       My background is in Fitness, Sports and Aquatics with my education in Business Psychology and minor in Philosophy. I currently am working toward a Masters in Divinity for a chaplaincy in hospice care, which is the field I currently work in when I’m not chasing new deep ends. Plus someone’s got to keep all you heathen grounded!

       With that said I am a Cigar Sommelier with the IACS, daily pipe smoker & Coffee specialist. I also know my way around a good Scotch, which is my drink of choice (I like it neat) when I’m not drinking coffee or a good craft beer. I’m presently growing a small coffee roasting and cigar pairing business for the 757 area. I’m big into Jazz Vinyl, Film Noir and reading, mostly crime fiction and philosophy among a myriad of other deep end interests. I’m not sure Chris and Susan knew what they were getting themselves into when they got me! I’ve got to say though, I think they’ve really hit on an important sector of the cigar culture with catering to us regular working Joes who enjoy some of the finer things, but aren’t able to drop thousands of dollars on that rare box of Cubans.

 

Scott Thieman

Cigar Sommelier

       In 1987 in the foothills of southern West Virginia, a fucking legend was born. I was raised on a steady diet of moonshine, pepperoni rolls, and real country music. Guys like Keith Whitley, Mark Chesnutt, Alan Jackson, and Tracy Lawrence were the soundtrack to my childhood. 

 
        I rebelled against that and at age 16 took up the guitar thanks to inspiration from Metallica’s James Hetfield. I spent years obsessed with all things metal and blues. Deep down that old lonesome, country sound always beckoned to me and I finally heeded its call.
 
        Now I’m a crusader for all things true country. If you’re looking for articles about the bedazzled skinny jean wearing douchebags who dominate country radio nowadays, best look elsewhere. If you wanna hear real artists who write about real life, I’m your guy. I hope you enjoy my articles and take time to check out the songs I suggest.

Matt Hatfield

Music Review Columnist

I’m Lauren, from Arkansas, USA! A fairly new cigar smoker. I prefer Connecticut, Habano, and Sungrown wrapped cigars, but I love trying anything new. People might know me as the girl that smokes wearing different countries flags that are sent to me  I’m on Instagram at @ladyoftheleaf_

 

Lauren

Cigar Review Columnist

Jon Gjebrea
Founder of Noble Cigars

       Born in a small Mediterranean country, Jon’s recollections of good cigars have stayed with him since his youth. He will never forget the impressions of his first cigar. “Notes of excitement and eagerness to learn more, with strange feelings of coming of age …”. That was his main reaction while smoking his first few puffs.
Living for many years in different places all over the world, Jon always has had one vision: to make people enjoy the simplest moments in the best way possible. That is what he has set to achieve with “Noble”.
        His passion about cigars started with the sole feelings of enjoyment. Later, it became an idea and now, a lifestyle.
Jon is pleased to share with you his passion through this journey.
NGCS is proud to have Jon as a part of the team.

Jon Gjebrea.

       Hi, I’m Josie. I was born and raised in Sunny California. I’m a Cigar Sommelier from The International Association of Cigar Sommeliers. You can find me hosting events from the West to the East Coast. I love pairing my cigars with refreshing libations. Check me out on Instagram @whiskeygirl_josie or my Site

Josie

Contributor

        Josh Ward. Born of peat moss and tobacco smoke this troubadour turned heathen can be seen ravaging his way through the world of whisky, sharing stories told by golden spirits. His teachings often mistaken for the ramblings of a madman with a look to fit the part. Fuelled by the tears of his enemies he’s been known to gain sustenance by licking the salt from the cheeks of his adversaries. Perhaps more akin to the likes of a voodoo priest but this minister has a more menacing agenda, for his church welcomes the sinister and sinners alike. The Not Gentlemanly Cigar Smokers seemed like a fitting home for an apparition doomed to roam the earth as a Whisky Heathen, the curse only lifted after he’s tasted it all.

Josh Ward

Whiskey Expert

        Ty Brandt. The devilish comedian bound to the ghost of a samurai by ritualistic penance and hell bent on consuming the world’s tobacco stock. A pagan through and through with a stare able to force submission from even the most righteous of beings. Known to wander the fog and mist as a spectre searching for the smoke of the finest cigars. Spiritual in a sense, he can pass through you while your only proof of his existence is the chill in your breath. A masterless Ronin cursed to walk the earth as a Whisky Heathen, answering to no one and defiant to all who oppose.
 

Ty Brandt

Whiskey Expert

        I’m Garett, your neighborhood backyard Smoker/Grilling Pro. No, seriously, I’m the best on the whole block! 
 
        Five years ago for my birthday, I was gifted a Big Chief Smoker, basically just a big tin box.. and this is where I first dipped my toes into the Smoker World. I was instantly hooked. I pushed that bad-boy to its absolute limit! Smoking as much meat as it could fit. After a few years, I upgraded to a Canadian-made Black Earth Grill and that is where the mad science really began. 
 
       Whether it’s an intimate dinner for two or feeding a 50 person party, you can always find me firing up my smoker and concocting new ways to enjoy traditional and not so traditional cuts of meat. 
 

Garett

Smokin’ Food Review

       In addition to his love of cigars, Indian motorcycles, and beautiful women, Rob Otterstatter owns and operates Octane Social House, an experience-based coffeehouse restaurant, which brings people together by sourcing the area’s best food, beverage, entertainment, and education together for the benefit of community improvement. He holds an Ed.D. in educational leadership from Argosy University and is currently working towards opening a new cigar shop, Octane’s Inferno, in central NewYork In addition to his love of cigars, Indian motorcycles, and beautiful women, Rob Otterstatter owns and operates Octane Social House, an experience-based coffeehouse restaurant, which brings people together by sourcing the area’s best food, beverage, entertainment, and education together for the benefit of community improvement. He holds an Ed.D. in educational leadership from Argosy University and is currently working towards opening a new cigar shop, Octane’s Inferno, in central New York. 
 
 

Robert Otterstatter

Smokin’ Celebrity Reviews

        I’m Steve, and since the age of 10 when a copy of Metallica’s classic 1988 album …And Justice For All blasted out of my parents cassette deck and changed my life, I’ve been extremely passionate about music. Between playing in bands in my teens and twenties and transitioning to becoming a family man, collector of vinyl and other physical media and an “amateur audiophile” in my 30’s, that passion has never wavered. In fact, it’s grown in different ways. As the years pass, I become more of a fan and a student of different genres and styles. I can’t wait to share my thoughts on music and some album reviews. If you enjoy what you read, check out my Instagram for more reviews on music and other stuff I’m passionate about.

STEVE

Music Columnist

        Spawned from the Rattlesnake and Mesquite infested desert of West Texas, Flew supersonic bombers for the Strategic Air Command keeping the Soviet hordes at bay, climbed to the top of the Great Pyramid, Swam across the Suez Canal, Won the 1990 Grand Forks North Dakota Kareoke competion with an incredible rendition of ‘You’ve Lost that Lovin Feeling’, pushed Russell Crowe into a swimming pool, Smoked a Cigar with Motherfucking Shaft (the original), was kissed by Celine Dion, Drank a coke with Garth Brooks, Spanker of consenting women’s buttocks, and a self confessed Opus X Whore.

        On a more serious note, I travel all the time for work and during my travels I visit every cigar lounge I come across. I love to visit, take picture and compare lounges and that, is what I plan to bring to the NGCS community.
I’ll leave you with this;

       “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”

Hollywood Heard

Lounge & Shop Review Columnist

History 

Born and raised in Windsor Ontario Canada to an Italian father and Serbian mother. I was surrounded by great cooks and food brought my family together — whether it was my mom frying schnitzel, or my nonno (grandfather) cooking wild rabbit in the morning.

I studied culinary at St. Clair College, did my apprenticeship under Chef Michael Anthony, wrote and passed my red seal exam in 2012. I’ve worked at 14 different restaurants all the way from dish pit to executive chef in the busiest ‘3 location’ restaurant, taught culinary with the college, and now I’m the proud chef of a unique concept called Cortina Gourmet Market.

Inspiration 

I was always inspired by the food that locals eat in my city, especially the incredible street or fast food the area had to offer. It’s directed me on my culinary journey.

At the age of 14 I took a job in Little Italy (Erie Street) at a place called Magenta cafe as a short order cook making gourmet sandwiches and salads, doing dishes, making espressos and cleaning the cafe every night. I began to take it seriously when I started working with chef Michael Anthony. He is the reason I went to culinary school and dedicated my life to this at such an early age.

Most of my fellow chefs have left Windsor for bigger cities and more financially sound jobs. I’ve made it a point to not leave. We are small town with big city ideas, and I want to be at the front of the line when people hear about the food of our city.

Italian street food 

At one time during my career my passion for food was fading. Then I traveled to Europe where I found that passion again and started to study the local street food. I married the love of my life, Virginia, in her home town of Alcamo Sicily and then we travelled. When I came home I purchased my first denim apron from the Chef Works website and I can’t make this up, I started to break the rules in cooking traditional Italian.

  • I roast the pig like they do in China because it makes the skin crispier.
  • I’m making meatballs with sausage meat and fresh fennel.
  • I’m grilling mortadella on charcoal, treating it like corn beef.
  • I’m using linguini noodles instead of rice for my rice balls.

But the most important part of the food is the fact that everything we use comes from around us. That’s what Italians do best — they eat what’s around them. If it’s not growing during that season, then they don’t eat it. That is fundamental to sustainable cuisine and also quintessential to Italian street food.

Best tip to young cooks and chefs 

The worst mistake you can make is to lock yourself in the kitchen to strive for this impossible thing called perfection. I missed 10 years of my life with family and friends because I was looking for something in my kitchen I couldn’t attain. Chefs at all stages in their culinary career need to continue learning inside and outside the kitchen. Your technique and skills aren’t enough anymore. Keep asking questions, read more books, go on that trip, taste that food push yourself, don’t get comfortable.

Robert Bertozzi

The Chef