I spent my first 5 years in the food industry in Toronto, bouncing around (as many aspiring chefs do) from place to place, soaking up as much food knowledge as I could from whoever was willing to work with me. I helped to create a Caffeine Bean Bar located at the corner of Queen St. W and Spadina Ave. What I recall most from this experience was shopping every morning at Kensington Market to acquire the freshest ingredients in order to make five daily homemade soups for the café. I became known by other business owners and local patrons to Queen St. as ”Soup” / “The Soup Nazi” with reference to sitcom Seinfeld. It was a title I wore with pride.
I had a roommate that owned a recording studio and did sound for commercials/movie shoots etc. As fate would have it, one day the caterer didn’t show up to one of the sets. In a panic, my roommate asked me is I was able to help him out and provide food for the shoot. I raced to the market to shop, and with a limited budget, acquired a random mix of ingredients. With limited time and a hungry crew waiting to be fed, I started whipping up a bunch of food on the set, without any basic cooking equipment. Apparently I impressed both my roommate and his colleagues because they hired me to do catering for all their shoots thereafter. I created “Lion Share Catering” and started doing small movies/music video/commercial shoots until “SARS” hit Toronto in 2003. With the fear of spreading and contacting the virus, the film and recording industry in Toronto was hit hard and productions were put on hold. This prompted my move to Stratford, Ontario.
Here I spent about 5 years bouncing around, learning new skills from the talented chefs in the area and helping to open several restaurants in Stratford.
I didn’t plan to move back to Sudbury, but a visit home resulted in a decision to try an make a place for myself here in my hometown. Initially, I moved back to Sudbury with an well traveled skill-set, but couldn’t find a home for myself as a chef that cooked from fresh/raw ingredients, and there wasn't market for someone with my savory talents to work daily. In Statford, I became accustomed to working in a restaurant that prided itself on fine dinning and utilizing local, fresh ingredients. I went from working in a establishment where local farmers would show up at the back door of the restaurant with a trunk full of unique and interesting fresh herbs,sprouts, and veggies daily, to working in franchised establishments, cooking prefabricated food products from Sysco Foods. And although I appreciated being employed, these positions did not satisfy my love for cooking and creating delicious foods, nor did it utilize the skills I had to offer. So, I decided I needed to create an opportunity to showcase what I could do with fresh food and began to get involved with local producers/suppliers. Since then, I have established or worked to establish the following businesses:
Speakeasy (founded 2013)
The Motley Kitchen (Founded 2014)
Red House (Founded 2016)