Professionally and in brief I am:
A graduate of French Language and Literature Degree from University of Toronto.
I am a certified Sommelier in the Court of Master Sommeliers adding to my initial certification with CAPS Ontario (Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers). In the last 10 years I have had the great privilege of travelling to numerous wine regions, exploring and studying different wine cultures, the people and the factors that make them unique. I continue to expand on my global understanding of wine.
In rather short period of time and on different projects, I have been involved in all aspects of 'restaurant management'...with exception of the kitchen. I have been instrumental in the building of full wine and beverage programs, to being a General Manager, to teaching wine education, to building and opening my own wine bar & tavern and most recently working in one of Canada's top fine dining restaurants.
Mercatto, Bar Mercurio, Terroni, Midfield Wine Bar, George Brown College, Buca, George Restaurant, and currently Alo Restaurant
I was born into my parents household. A household framed and conducted in a Bajan or rather a Barbados manner. My mother well spoken, patient, diplomatic and caring and, what I learned only in my adult years, is that she possesses an innate sense of adventure and discovery. I think outwardly she was fearful when I would depart to go live abroad but she never held me back, and for me travelling allowed me to be myself, it allowed me to discover. My father, though seemingly rough around the edges and steadfastly bajan is self-taught in the world of the kitchen, mechanics and electronics and lives by the hard rules of 'common sense'. His many motto's include, 'don't get married and don't have kids' and 'one smart get caught at too smart door'. Yet here we are. My brother is a jovial hybrid of my parents and decidedly more friendly than I, Imagine!. What we both, and certainly myself take from my parents and their Barbadian heritage is the vital and necessary element of merriment, hosting, being true to oneself and continually striving to provide for those around you. Imagine when you first became aware that your father dj'ed and actually made his own 5ft high speakers, and that he could cook anything from island level spiced mac n' cheese, whole crab, and octopus to ox-tail and a whole goat for the family and/or for the 50 friends and family that would party until 4am on a Saturday night AND that your mother is a master of conversation and who at the same time as greeting guests and hanging jackets for what would be a house full of friends and family could easily prepare rice and peas, bake coconut bread and fry fish cakes (cod fritters) and chill down 'bajan souse' which is exactly pickled pigs foot and black pudding, all with relative ease. It wasn't until I lived in Paris that I learned that everyone does the same things and lives the same way - the pursuit of good food and good times with music and friends... It is the delivery that is unique. I found my way to the world of wine and 'western' styled hospitality' while living in Paris, France. Exploring neighbourhood markets and food stores while working in restaurants and bars, I was quietly observing this way of living from a Carib-Canadian perspective. I then realized that not unlike many of my Canadian West-Indian bredren, we all lived the same, this 'foodie' culture was simply coded different and was certainly open to different interpretations. I would endeavour to understand this particularly 'way' and then interpret in 'my own way', the art of hospitality.