Working in the Hakka Chinese food space since 1987, Joanna Liu’s family created a flavourful home away from home for newcomers in Toronto, at Yueh Tung Restaurant.Read Bio
At Club House for Chefs, we have seen and come to understand the impact recent circumstances have placed upon the foodservice industry. Chefs and restaurateurs have been forced into unpredictable situations involving heavy menu changes, door closures, staff cuts and operative pivots.
On our platform, we've pivoted as well and have made it our mission to keep the conversations going with our community. Each week, we will share chef stories, challenges, how they’re changing their businesses and adapting them to the new industry. Through these interviews, we hope to provide valuable insight, guidance and advice for chefs by chefs.
Chef Jeremie Falissard – Barroco Group, Montreal
As soon as restaurant dining rooms were forced to close, Chef Jeremie Falissard immediately jumped into action to keep his customers fed and his staff serving in the safest way possible.
“We immediately adjusted by being able to provide takeout from Fugazzi and adding some Foiegwa items,” said Falissard. “I would’ve never thought we would do that one day, but people need to eat.”
Chef Falissard has also reduced the restaurant’s menu prices with a main goal of providing to the community because of how much they give throughout the year. He also provided all Barroco Group employees a 30% discount to further assist them.
As for advice for his fellow culinary colleagues, Chef Falissard shared this message:
“This is a time to be creative. Now most chefs have the time they always wished they’d had to step back, research, study, create and adapt. Stay strong and focused through this because it might bring the best in us. Our goal is to give people an amazing experience in hospitality and this time should be a time to inspire ourselves.”
Chef Alessandro Vianello – Kitchen Table Restaurants, Vancouver
Kitchen Table Restaurants’ Chef Alessandro Vianello is taking a strength-focused approach to his operational pivots.
While providing a meal program to provide food to the staff he’s had to lay off in the recent weeks, Chef Vianello is also continuing to provide menu items to customers and working with his team in other ways.
“We are still providing takeout and working on some things that we can do to come out of this stronger. I think the biggest challenge that we had to face was dealing with laying off our team. It wasn’t easy at all. We are like a big family at Kitchen Table.”
In the meantime, every one of Chef Vianello’s restaurants is offering takeout options except for the Pourhouse. As difficult as it can be, he sees opportunity in this situation.
“Adapting and evolving the business is a must; looking for interesting products that can be manufactured at the store level to offer new options for guests. I also think there needs to be a community piece to all of this because we are all in this together.”
Chef Vianello advises his fellow restaurateurs to adapt their menus to be able to offer options that are more conducive to takeout or reheating at home.
“The goal should be to create something that is reminiscent of your brand so it is at the front of peoples’ minds but offer something that will hold up during transportation.”
Chef John Vetere – Brushfire Smoke BBQ, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Meanwhile over at Brushfire Smoke BBQ, Chef John Vetere and his team are working hard. They are providing their community with a new, accessible takeout menu, which is available on location at Niagara Oast House Brewers.
Chef Vetere’s customers will also receive $5 off any food item when they purchase an Oast growler or 4-pack. All payment is made at the front door, followed by pick-up at the takeout window.
As an extra precaution, Vetere’s team is happy to provide curbside pick-up to anyone’s car by request.
Chefs let’s keep the conversation going. Submit your story to CHFC@McCormick.com.
We’re all in this together.