The good thing about being in the hospitality industry is that my values and principles line up with the industry's. You must have an immense amount of empathy, humility and even courage in some of your actions.
I went to Ryerson University's Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. I have a bachelor of commerce.
University prepared me for a lot of things, mainly time management and problem-solving as well as working well in groups and leading team members. That last point is huge at Ryerson. They want to build the leaders of tomorrow. I told myself I wanted to get the most out of my schooling and subsequently the most out of my work experience, and I think that's what led to my success here at Oliver & Bonacini Restaurants.
In 2005, I emailed Michael Bonacini and asked if he would take a few minutes out of his day to meet with me. I didn't think anything would come of it, but the next day he called, and I was sitting across from him at his desk two days later, talking about Toronto and how he got started in the industry. That conversation made me switch my major from I.T. to hospitality and tourism.
I'm passionate about cooking, service and the customer experience. This is one of the few industries where you can deliver a service, instantly figure out how much someone enjoyed that service and then tailor a recovery if that service has gone bad.
But the best experiences for me revolve around training. Taking people who don't know anything about a particular wine, educating them and then watching them deliver that information to a guest is phenomenal. It makes me almost euphoric.