“Fast forward 6 months and the restaurant opened. I was 21,went from the lowest level cook in my kitchens to now owning and running my own restaurant and kitchen.
Sink or swim – you only have these two options. I only had 1…swim.”
Occupation: Owner of St. Martha's Brasserie D'Orleans
I graduated from Sir Wil in 2009.
Not knowing exactly where I wanted to go (stuck between photography, auto-mechanics, marine biology and cooking as career options) I fell into the guided hands of my parents to take the University route and earn a degree rather than a college diploma.
I have the mind for the sciences, but through my first year at Dalhousie, I realized it wasn’t for me. I had found a job as the baker for my residence cafeteria and began working 12 hour shifts on the weekends to put some cash in my pockets…but I realized I was always looking forward to these shifts rather than the weeks of schooling.
I dropped out, came back to Ottawa, got my old job back at the Kelsey’s here in Orleans as a dishwasher and cook and applied for Culinary Management at Algonquin.
Fall of 2010 to Spring of 2012. I completed my diploma, hopped to the Rideau Club for some professional experience in the kitchen during this time and found opportunities to work at 24 Sussex and the Danish ambassador’s residence.
When the school year finished, I found a job at PLAY Food and Wine…but just as I did, I received an e-mail from a gentleman interested in speaking to me about opening a restaurant – What is now St. Martha’s Brasserie D’Orleans on St Joseph. We spoke for a few hours, and I recall going home to my parents’ house and telling them I was going to be a partner and the Chef of a new restaurant that was going to open – looking back at it, its crazy. It’s true what the say, it’s all about time and place.
Fast forward 6 months and the restaurant opened. I was 21,went from the lowest level cook in my kitchens to now owning and running my own restaurant and kitchen.
Sink or swim – you only have these two options. I only had 1…swim.
I worked 100+hour weeks, created the menus, recipes, costing systems, inventory database…you name it, I did it. I didn’t have the most supportive partners, they expected me to do it all. Something that for so long, I did not enjoy – But 5 years in (about 9 months ago) I realized it was time to move on. The business was such a huge success. We opened a second restaurant. Both $1million dollar businesses in ‘little old Orleans’ but I needed to find something new.
I walked away at 26 years old with the knowledge and experience as a
- general manager
- an accountant
- a marketing genie for food
I know how to read people, how to interact with them, manage people, create a team and most importantly, how to have fun doing it.
So I took a break, worked in the city at North and Navy, a fine dining Italian restaurant and just in the last 3 weeks started at Divino restaurant on Preston st.
I am their Chef and Culinary director. I run their restaurant and not only direct the food side, but manage service refinement and execution from all points.
It sums up to a crazy life-in a short span of time.