By Gia Miller

Photography by Justin Negard

Waiters/waitresses are the world’s oldest influencers – they tell us what to eat (and drink) whenever we dine out. And we often take their advice without watching hours of their videos to determine if they’re trustworthy. We sat down with some of our local influencers to get to know the folks who influence our choices.

Alex Duarte Server & Bartender, 8 Years
Truck, Bedford

What was your first job at Truck?
I was born in Guatemala, and I came to the U.S. in 2009 when I was 16 years old. I’ve been at Truck since 2015 – I started out in the kitchen and running food. And, after three years of hard work, I got promoted to be a bartender. It was a big step for me, though, because I was still scared to talk to people. But I was only a bartender for one day, and then I got promoted to be a server. Now, I bartend on Friday nights and serve tables the other nights.

What is it like being an influencer?
It makes me feel good when people take my recommendations – they trust me. And then, in the end, they’re very happy and they thank me.

What is your number one rule when making recommendations?
I ask people what they like, and we go based on that. Did they come in with something in mind? Or what do they want today? If they ask me for seafood, I’ll recommend some dishes with seafood. If they like beans, I’ll tell them about the beans special and explain the different types of beans because we have three different types of beans.

What’s your best recommendation?
I recommend the beef brisket burrito all the time. Not because it’s the most expensive dish, it’s just so good. And I also recommend the fried oyster taco. But if someone orders the oyster taco and other tacos, I always recommend they have the oyster taco first, when it’s still crispy. Every time I recommend those two dishes, people try them and fall in love with them.

What’s the coolest thing that’s happened at Truck recently?
Celebrities come in here all the time. Recently, a very big celebrity came in, and he was seated in my section. I didn’t know who he was at first – my boss told me. He was nice, but it was crazy here. Someone posted right away that he was here, and a ton of people came. The paparazzi were outside and then all these teenage girls came. They were trying to take pictures and trying to come in and take pictures of him. My manager had to keep them all away.

What’s your favorite dish?
The brisket burrito. The flavor of the brisket, combined with the sauces it comes with makes it delicious.

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Justin is an award-winning designer and photographer. He was the owner and creative director at Future Boy Design, producing work for clients such as National Parks Service, Vintage Cinemas, The Tarrytown Music Hall, and others. His work has appeared in Bloomberg TV, South by Southwest (SXSW), Edible Magazine, Westchester Magazine, Refinery 29, the Art Directors Club, AIGA and more.

Justin is a two-time winner of the International Design Awards, American Photography and Latin America Fotografia. Vice News has called Justin Negard as “one of the best artists working today.”

He is the author of two books, On Design, which discusses principles and the business of design, and Bogotà which is a photographic journey through the Colombian capital.

Additionally, Justin has served as Creative Director at CityMouse Inc., an NYC-based design firm which provides accessible design for people with disabilities, and has been awarded by the City of New York, MIT Media Lab and South By Southwest.

He lives in Katonah with his wonderfully patient wife, son and daughter.