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Unapologetically Canadian
Unapologetically Canadian

Episode 14 · 1 year ago

39: Finding new ways to feed people with Jo Notkin

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This week, I interview food entrepreneur Jo Notkin about her life as the owner of Zoe Ford catering, her experience on Top Chef Canada and her appreciation for Montreal. Also, today is the last day for Canadian entrepreneurs to apply to Startup Canada's export challenge. 

My name is Tracy Ariel and I am unapologetically Canadian. Hey, Tracy Ariel here, and it is Wednesday, September nine. As I record this, I am busy preparing for the farmers market later and today is also the day of the final deadline day for the start up Canada export challenge. And so this is a great challenge because in order to compete, business owners have to put the description of their company into a video and so that the judges can determine who they want to sponsor. For they get FIVEZERO dollars if you're a start up and you get twenty Fivezero dollars if you're scaling up, and so a lot of people have been starting to put videos in. This has been going on since June, and so I looked at three of them. The first one was Ross chocolates, out of pork cook at living BC, and he just did a very the and it wasn't the founder or anything, it was one of the employees. He didn't even introduce himself, but he was talking most about vote how Ross chocolates has been in business for twenty two years, providing sugar free chocolate to mostly the people with diabetes, and they distribute some of their profits to nonprofits that work with diabetes and diabetes reacharch and things like that. But most of all, they who ride chocolate for really good quality chocolate that's sugar free. And so, after watching this video, I have CELIAC disease. So although I don't knee sugar free chocolate, I'm trying to avoid sugar because there's lots of diabetes in my family as well, and so I really wanted to order some of the chocolate. So Ross chocolates, congratulations for you. At the other end of the spectrum, out of Vancouver there was AWC, which is a water company. They create water works in their building and then they can be shipped all over the world. Instead of actually creating something that to make fresh water on site, instead of having to build a big, huge production plant, they actually build a mobile like a long that it's not mobile because it gets placed in the location afterwards, but it's almost like those houses. You know. You actually create a water work site, complete and ready to go, and then you put it wherever it's needed and you don't have to worry about local construction materials or problems on the local site. Or you know, if you have to dig down into swamps and things, so it can be putting into almost anywhere in the world. This was a fabulous video. The owner actually had all the different directors of each part of the company speak and you really got a sense that this company is doing good things in the world and you, and I'm you, really want to support them. And it was full video production with all of the kinds of everything that they're doing shown online on screen. I was like this is awesome and of course, my favorite and because she's a friend of mine and appears I went to university with her, she is the founder of cultured could coconut in Halifax and she did another straightforward talking about how she founded the company, how she began, how she created this coat kept for dairy free Ke effer in order to help her own health problems and then she brought it to the local farmers market and now she's created a company and she's just scaling up into a brand new building. It was really fun listening to Lynda talk about her business success and I'm really looking forward to seeing how these three competitors do in the competition. Of course, the competition they'll be regional sites where they'll look at all of the regional companies and they'll pick a winner from each region and then each region will go to the national site and we'll have a winner for Canada. So I'm really looking forward to that and I'll let you know how it goes. As it goes and today the interview that I have...

...is with Joe Natkin and she is a woman who competed in top cat chef Canada earlier this year. She didn't win, but she went to like the sixth of the seventh level and but she became famous because of her jewel box brownies and she's now shipping those runnies all over the country and everybody who's tasted them since they're amazing. I can't eat them to they Kenny Bluton, but they look great anyway. I did a story about her based on this interview for the Montreal are so I'll include that in the show notes as well, so you can see how I took this very long range interview about her experience in Talk Scheff Canada and put it into a story and I really hope you enjoy it. Hi, my name is Joe, not Cain. I'm the chef owner of a catering company called Zoe Ford catering. That's been around almost eleven years now, based in Montreal, and we cater all over the Montreal area and beyond and we now ship our amazing Pantry of baking mixes and other treats across Canada and it's I just finished the season eight of top chef Canada, which was incredible and crazy and fantastic and and it being forty four and being on that show is it's quite something. Yeah, well, because we're we're talking now. It's July Fourth, which is happy Independence Day to all those Americas, but we're actually I don't know when people will be listening to this particular podcast episode, but you the talk shelf was just in April. It's not that long ago. The trap shop was in April and we filmed it in the fall. So it feels like, you know, I've I mean I've had to keep the secret secret since last August, so it feels like forever to me. But it's because I went and I looked at I I watched the introduction of all of you and it's like it's really a fun because it's online at the moment. I don't know if it'll be still online. Yeah, like forybody year. Oh it will be for you, awesome. So I highly recommend going and then checking it out. So and so, can you just talk a little bit about what made you do it and because you've been in the catering business for for eleven years? Yeah, what made you decide to apply that? Or did you apply or did they come out recruit? You know, they definitely didn't recruit me, although they did recruit one of the other girls on the show. ME, maybe a couple of the guys, I'm not I don't think so. I actually did it. It decided to choose me like this. It's actually a very funny story. I was talking to a friend and he said, Oh, a friend of mine wants to apply for this show. What do you think? And I said I have watched like pretty much every episode of top chef US Canadian all over the place, and it looks completely crazy to me, just absolutely crazy. So if your friend wants to apply, I'm sure. I'm sure it'll be crazy. And then my phone overheard me and put up an ad that I should apply. And now it was like I was having actually just a one of those weird days, you know, kind of like a rainy day where you're maybe kind of like a grumpy and I was just like, well, I wonder what they even ask, like just a real curiosity, and before I knew it I'd sort of filled out the whole thing and very by accident, and then I hit I hit sends and immediately, immediately, I was like, oh no, just absolutely immediately, I felt like I felt like they might choose me because I'm older and I'm a woman owner of a business, and I know, which is cool, built my career on making beautiful things to all those things tend to make for good television. And then they called me the next day and they said we'd like to interview you and I said, oh no, and then I didn't give me really what year. Yeah, but you know, I think there's something to kind of...

...not carrying in a way, like just because you're more yourself. And then I went in for an audition and then they called me and they said we'd love to have you on the show and I was like, what have I done? And then you did it. So it was last autumn, so you were in like before covid before any of this, because this episode aired basically after the shutdown yeah, it was almost weird watching it because everybody was hugging and it was like so connected and like this. It was very weird timing for this episode, for these those to air. It was. But I will say that it did something that I think you know, because none of us could be together at parties or dinners or restaurants. It really brought people together because every all everybody was talking about or thinking about is like Monday night. You know, I got to get my work done, so like Monday night and I got it. The kids are going to make popcorn and Monday night. And it was really I felt like it's saved a lot of us who were, you know, still wanting to be in this food world but sort of obviously like isolated. And everybody just looked forward to and talked about and they said, I wonder what happens next week, and it kind of in a way was just a magical time for it to happen, even though I wonder what would have happened had it not been lockdown mode, you know, but we'll never know. We will't and and it was I mean, I don't want to do the spoiler alert, so I won't say what actually happened to you, but you did go through. You were cut off in the first show and you do you know, that was my goal, my gold last week one. One you didn't win, but you did very well. I mean we're there for a very long time and it was happen. And so do you still talk to any of the other chefs who were purchase all the time? Really all the thing? You actually because you didn't know each other going in right? Nope. Nope. And I didn't know the Montreal chef, although we have a lot of friends in common. So really we just have never met. Yeah, and he's incredible. So yeah, I'm in touch with him. I'm touch with Adrian from Toronto and Stephanie, who lives in no Scotia's opening a restaurant. So we're all into we're all in touch, but those are my main, main people that I'm going people have become friends with it. Yeah, can you talk a little bit more about what happened? What changed because of your experience there? Has You? Have you changed at all? Yeah, you know, I wouldn't have thought. You know, sometimes some days I think about like wow, a year ago I was like I would never in a million years do that and now that I've done it, I'm like, I can't imagine not having done it. It really I think. I think I went on the show particularly because I'm not trained, I'm self employed, I employ people. I don't have that much interaction with other chefs like on a day to day basis. So I just do my thing and and in my own little bubble. So I think there was a lot of questions for me, also based on the fact that this is like a second or third career for me. I just didn't know it what I was capable of or where I ranked in terms of like capability. So I think what I got out of the show is real I was like, Oh my God, I can do so much, whereas before you're really just going on like friends or clients or you know, there's just there's sort of small world. You know, you know you're you're capable, but then you sort of you sort of see what you can do under pressure and I think it really shifts your consciousness about your ability or your confidence or all of that stuff. Yeah, well, because it maybe we can talk a little bit about what your business is then, because you've been around for eleven years, which is a long time in the catering field. Yeah, and you know, I sort of dipped in and out of it a couple times. There was a point where I left to help open a catering company in Calgary. So I'd taken like a break for six months and then kind of came back to it. So that's really that was about four years ago. That's when really it took off, and before then, you know,...

...it was it was always word of mouth, trying to get people to know who I was. And so we cater you know, big and small events, mostly sort of medium sized events, and they were from like a hundred to three hundred person cocktail parties, a lot of corporate a lot of kind of fifty person baby showers and engagement parties and forty birthday parties, that kind of thing. But the goal is really always this very beautiful food that really is for everyone to enjoy. So it's nothing to out there. I often wonder if I've limited myself because I love to do a lot about their things, but you know, you can't do that at a party for fifty people because you want everyone to leave happy. But we're not catering anything right now. I don't know if we'll go back to catering. We're doing what we were sort of segueing anyways, to wanting to open a shop. Sort of like for it, I should just say, because we didn't actually introduce it, it's Zo were for it, although we will at the Begin Ye, yeah, Zoe Ford catering. Yeah, so we were going to open a shop. So I think it was just, you know, perfect timing for us to be doing stuff, that we could deliver people's houses, that they could pick up stuff that you can enjoy like any time during the week. We call it the Zoe for Delhi because it's like, you know, I want to scoop of this and a scoop of that and a little chicken and a some grablocks and you know, it's kind of a mix and match. And you waving deliveries then, so we you do deliveries? Yeah, we do some deliveries on Saturdays. People can pick up on Thursdays and Fridays. We you know, we try to expand as much as we can to make it convenient for people and it's I mean it's been a lot shifting, but it's also kind of cool to be able to be in a pressure situation where you have to shift and see what you can do. Kind of like those challenges. So it's been great. So when did you start doing that? Because in April we were still shut down. You couldn't even do that. Right, we did do it in April. Oh, you were able to do it, and I can get it the first week of the lockdown. I'm trying to think, probably, yeah, the first, second teak of April. Yeah, I think we got going first or second week of April. Yeah, we were. I mean it was hard at first because we would wash everything down and you know, it was hard to shop for anything and you know, it was like a Hazmat suit to go shopping. We were very, very careful. Yeah, so we're still careful, obviously, but you know, you you now understand the parameters a little bit more. So yeah, you will. And also just getting used today, because I run a farmer's market and we started doing deliveries as well, as soon as we were allowed to, because we didn't know if we'd get to have the farmer as it turns out we could have the farmer's market as well, but with no artisans, just with the food, okay, and so it's like six instead of twelve, but it's a very small thing. But I mean, we started doing delivers to and it was just really fun to figure out, okay, how can we survive through this anyway and also promote local food, which is important. Yeah, so important, so important. I mean we were there were times where we were trying to buy something and they were let we were trying to buy end dives and they said, oh, we haven't had any shipments from Belgium for three weeks, and I was like, Oh, of course, this is what you this is this is the this is the system we've built that, like all the things we depend on, sort of come in from other places. So, yeah, it definitely had me thinking a lot. But I like that idea that it's like you know what, well, what now? You know, I tell myself in the beginning you can cry for like five minutes a day and then you got to move on, you know. And and I think there were a lot of restaurants that were sort of feeling like, we'll wait and see what happens, and I just felt like there's no point in waiting. A lot is going to be different for a long time. What does it look like? You can't really lament what you can no longer do. You just sort of have to like move forward, and I think that is something that comes from the show. It's like, okay, you know, you're on the show and you're like, I'm going to make this great Broccoli dish, and well, there's no Broccoli. So you have twelve seconds to pivot and have a...

...choice. You're making something else and it better be amazing and there's no excuses like if it doesn't turn out well, you can't be like, you know, on national television, well, there wasn't any Broccoli. You just have to move on and and and Kudos to you even more if your whole plan was based around Broccoli. There's no broccoli and you win anyways. You know, it's a kind of mentality. So I don't know, maybe in some way it prepared me to sort of say like, no matter what, you sink or swim, no matter what's your choice. You know so well, and you said that you've expanded to deliveries across the country. How is that work? Well, we yeah, so, you know, we had a bunch of plants that we were going to do to coincide with the show, and then when we realize, okay, the none of those plants can go into effect. I had a friend who used to produce a food television show in the US and he said to me people will always want like a piece of you, so you should sell like tshirts or aprons, and I was like, well, I'm not really a t shirt kind of girl, so maybe I'll do some like of our baking mixes and that way, you know, we could we could kind of still be in people's houses and, you know, share our delicious food with them. And we started chipping across Canada and once, you know, the show was on, and I won't I won't spoil anything, but once there were some excitement in the show around baking, it just sort of took off and people are loving it. And what I love about it is that we're going to kind of build a whole community around it about using what you have, which is something we called Zoafine. Anytime we're in the kitchen and we have to do let's say, a hundred of something, I'm like, I love this recipe, but we have to zoify it, and it really means creamlining something. It really means using what you have. You know, if you have like red wine, vinegar, but you don't have white wine vinegars. Like, how do you manage with what you have to get the most amazing result and how do you sort of like, you know, pair down your time so that you want an amazing result, you don't want to be in the kitchen the entire day. That's the art of zoafying and that is what we're trying to like share with people. You know, I think people think of like baking mixes, like, Oh, I didn't make it from scratch. I'm like, we just started it for you. You know, you have finished it and add stuff to it and blaze it and like do whatever you want with it. So that's sort of our next you're getting the presentation. We created the flavor. If you didn't make it from scratch, who's to know? Oh, that's so fun. So what can you talk a little bit because it's for we're going to be I'm going to be doing a profile on your for the Montreal or as well. Can you talk a little bit about your attachment to Montreal and what's been happening here, because you said you went out to Calgary briefly and then you came back, and can you talk a little bit about your relationship to the city as your business, as a businesswoman. Yeah, we hard to be a business woman anywhere. Yeah, yeah, it's hard to be in business. It's hard to be in business as a woman, it's hard to be in the food business. I mean I've really picked the Trifecta of difficult things. You know, I lived in Toronto for ten years, actually, from one thousand nine hundred and twenty nine. I've lived in Calgary, I've lived in Rhode Island, Boston, but you know, I always ended up back in Myntreal and I would always say the same thing because I have moments where Montreal drives me bananas when the language laws come in, because I think, because then anglophone. I want to be bilingual. I like that about the city. I like that about, you know, Quebec, that we do have the opportunity to be French and English and it's amazing. I love all the French but I would never want to be like one or the other. I love that I can be in the in the middle, but that can be challenging when you're running a business those language laws and being an English business owner, that's always a challenge where you're like what you know, my clients are all English and how much French do it needs to be there? So that's always you know, that's my bone to pick with Montreal. But I always ended up back here and one of the reasons I give people they say, well, why did you end up going back? And I'm like, you can get a a really amazing cuissent on any street corner,...

...and what that meant to me was like there's like a real jois of view in Montreal that is about, you know, anywhere you go, like you can get a cheese or a you know, when I was living in Calgary, there were no fruit and vegetable shops. It was like grocery store and I and I think I really realized the Montreal has these kind of mom and pop fruit and vegetable stores. You go to the market and you know in other cities there might be strawberries in the grocery store but it's not the same experience as going to an outdoor market where every week, you know, you see the produce change throughout the entire season and those things to me and Montreal are like the most special. Really celebrates, like when it is a sparagus season, you know it when it is property season. You know, it is on every menu, it's an everything, it comes in the container that is from that era. So it you know, just that, just that there's a real attention to detail in the way we live kind of in that world of food has always been like the most special to me, like from childhood to now. So that's my like that's what makes me feel so good about Montreal. Oh, that's an I have CELIAC disease, so I can't actually eat gluten and I was so happy to find they have quissance that are gluten free. Pretty good part they looked pretty good actually. Oh, the map q ones are amazing. I don't know if you've ever had them, but they're actually no, it's not quite a regular quisson, according to my husband, who still eats both, but it's so close that I don't Miss Quest Up. Yeah, so it's actually see even you as a Montreal or it's like it's a steeple in the Diet. Yeah, exactly, exactly, but when you go anywhere else you realize that they don't have that the same way, or a lot of places don't have that in the same way, you know. So yeah, yeah, no, it's a it's a fabulous city and the diversity here is incredible to I mean, I'm actually from Toronto, so I moved to Montreal when everybody moved the other way, but I I'm I would just want to talk about the businesswoman thing, because that is being an entrepreneur in the city is is really fun because there's a creativity that that's there, but it's also a bit of a challenge, just in any place. Can you talk a little bit about some of the challenges you've overcome? Maybe you know something difficult that that you managed to I mean other than just having a successful business by itself, which is difficult enough. Do you have an anecdote of something that you actually accomplished that was hard? We'll tell you a couple of things. First of all, this is my third business. When I was eighteen I designed and manufactured jewelry for all those shoes and from my farm room and Toronto I shipped these huge boxes to the head office in Montreal and they would ship them across Canada, the US and Israel. So that was for two years from eighteen to twenty. I did that to pay for school and then I started a textile business where that business was written up in over a hundred publications. So I think the reason that I never and never flinched in being a businesswoman was because in my family it was flipped. My Dad played the role of the mom and my mom played the role of the dad, so to speak. So my mother worked all the time and my dad would drive us to birthday parties and skating and ballet and whatever, you know. So I and I took a course in university, I must have been in my early S, and it was about women in business, I think, or something to that effect, and in the class for the first half of the class I had like absolutely no idea what they were talking about. Women struggling, you know, to be you equal. I was like, what are you talking about? My mother works so hard, I have no idea what you're talking about. I really didn't know because my experience was always like here's this woman who was at the top of her field as an occupational therapist, and my father, you know, a ghost grocery shopping and whatever, and I really didn't get it till I was, you...

...know, my mid s. So to me I've never really looked at it like a businesswoman versus whatever. I will say that recently I've noticed that all the restaurants that are reopened and are doing really well and that are getting a lot of attention and talked about are all male owned. They're all mail run, they're all male owned. I can't, even though some are men and women, I cannot think of one that is like a woman chef running the show her thing, you know, selfmade and is really at the forefront, and that does bother me, and not not because I think women should be. I just think it's strange that it's not an even playing field in that regard. Right, right, in terms of the attention that people are getting, yeah, yeah, it's the guys. Is all the all the blogs that are talking about the restaurants opening, they're all ninety nine percent of them are these male chefts. Yeah, yeah, well, in terms of we were talking about the name of Zoe Ford. You actually have named your catering company after your grandmother. Such a cool story. Can you tell us talk a little bit about that? Yeah, so I actually came up with the name to name a company Zoe Ford. My Grandmother's name was Zoe not kin, which is my last name, but before that her name was esther find stone and a very good friend of hers, who is a famous American painter named to Russa Bernstein, decided to change her name so that she would sound more affluent and, you know, would be would be a better name to meet like doctors and lawyers with when they went from parties. But the name stuck. She was always known as Zoe the rest of her life. Nobody ever knew that she had another name. You know I mean in this time of, you know, black lives matter and talking about, you know, the the justice amongst many different groups of people, my grandmother was to hiding the fact that she was Jewish. You know to what degree I mean, I'll never know. You know, she was born in one thousand nine hundred and eight. You certainly didn't want to go around and be like yes, what, I'm Jewish. You know, I think you you still Doun't in a lot of ways and I think it's amazing what's coming to light now about, you know, what groups of people, what happened to them at whatever point, and I think there's a constant reminder of that in choosing this name, of like where you come from, what you've done, you know, how you integrate that into wherever you move to. So the name represents a lot of things, but mostly it represents a lot about my grandmother, who was like an unbelievable homemaker and cook. And do you know, went at a time when probably a lot of you know, sort of mothers and grandmother's were cooking certain type of food. My grandmother's cooking French food. You know, my grandmother was like a disciple of like Julia Child, and everything was just so in the China was just so and the silver was placed at a certain point in the table and every bit of it was perfect. And we used to call her house, which is your Westbount Park in or actually starring Murray Hill Park in Westbound Montreal, we used to call her as the old cookie farm, and it was because you'd go and any given time there'd be like a multitude of cookies to choose from, you know, like fresh baked cookies or brownies or whatever. We call it the cook the old cookie farm. Wow, that's there's a debate about who invented that cookie farm. Apparently I said it, but who knows? It's a wonderful like it alludes to so many wonderful things, like cookies on a farm, like you know. Oh, and you're telling you the logo actually comes from her, some of her handwriting, or so. I had a recipe book and because she was so prim and proper, like all the recipes are written longhand and Pencil and in a special binder. Yeah, and every single recipe, like I should write a book about it. Every single recipe. It will say, like, you know, Mrs Cohen's coffee cake and like you know Judeth leaves cheese blenses and like every it's every you know, at that time, now we just hop online, but at that time, like for you to get a recipe from somebody playing while you're playing cards or something. You know, I...

...mean this is a big deal. You've got so and so's carrot cake or German chocolate cake or like you're that's grid, you know. Yeah, I remember as a kid, because it was before the Internet, my mother used to make monster dough, which was just her version of sour dough, because everyone would share their sour dough, but it was called monster doe because we had defeated every day. That's amazing. It was so yeah, you know that everybody would make a batchel cookies for Christmas and you'd all give one portion to everybody, so like you would all have nine or ten versions of cookies at Christmas, but you would have only made one of them. Yeah, love it stuff like that. It's really important. All those kinds of food traditions are really and then they're carrying on in your business. It's so fun. Yeah, absolutely, and I think that's why we started doing the baking mixes and we're going to expand in the fall. We have like about ten more that we're going to add going into like the holiday season. But they're all like my favorite recipes that every time I make them, you know, they just day so good. So what are they? Which? Which one is right now we have big time brownies, which are really like deep fudgie Brownie mix. We have charity cake, which is a very charity carrot cake. That's always a showstopper, it's so good. We have chocolate chippers, which is like, Oh, just a really classic but crazy delicious chocolate chip recipe. We have a spice scone mix. We had a debate about what flavor the scones should be. Those might change, I'm not sure, but they're fantastic. They're really good. We use we recommend using heavy cream in them to make like a cream thiss get, and they're like off the charts delicious. And then we talk to people about like adding, like I would add blackberries to that, and whatever is in season you can add to it. And then we have a spice mix that we call magic seasoning, which is just it's so fantastic. So we make something with it called magic chicken, but to be fair to everybody, vegans and Vegetarians, we just call it magic seasoning. We used to call it magic chicken rub. Now it's magic seasonings. You can put it on vegetables and Tofu and whatever whatever you have. Yeah, Saytan or whatever. Just to me. Yeah, so good. That sounds one elevating just thinking about magic seasoning. Second it's like it's like a dinner suit. It's funny because somebody asked us once we made it, we made it at a party, this chicken, and they were like what is this chicken? And I just right away I answer it's magic chicken, like there's no other waited. You can't really describe it. It's like all these crazy spices. I just like it's magic. Oh my God, that's fun and it's stuck yeah, Um, actually, let me get the basics down to. How many employees do you have? Where is your office located and people pick up food here, or is it all by delivery? So we well, we did used to have a lot of people working with us. We've always had sort of contract workers because it's, you know, catering is so seasonal. So right now it's just three of us. Okay, but that's fine because we're kind of paired down and shifting. anyways. We we get people to order by Tuesdays at five or they can call me and maybe squeak in on a Wednesday, and then that gives us time to like shop and prepare everything and then we do pick ups on Thursday or Friday at the kitchen. People can call and arrange a pickup time. All the ordering is online at so forcom, which is amazing. We've like really streamlined it. And then if somebody wants a delivery, there's a minimum of a hundred fifty dollars and then we deliver on Saturdays most areas in the city. It says it on the website, all the little details. But yeah, like if you're having people over on a Thursday, you can order on a Thursday and customize it so you have a little bit of everything and it's really fun and everything is like so delicious. I just did some deliveries today, like I put the Dorts the bag at somebody's door and I was like, I'd like to eat this enough to take for lunch. You know, I always know when I've hit on something special because I'm like, I'd like to eat that. It's just like an you know, like a like a childhood feeling of like looking over at your friend and being like I want that...

...sandwich, you know. So, yeah, meal envy, exactly. Yeah. And so where is your kitchen? It's in St Henry, Insane Henry. Oh, okay, not far from the water market, just a few blocks away. Yeah, yeah, Oh, so great. So you can go and get fresh stuff all the time then, all the time. And there any questions that I should have? I've been asking you about running a business in Montreal or things that you want to talk about. I mean this big pivot is sort of the crucial part of this story, I think, because it's it's so much has happened to you this year. Oh my God, I mean it's crazy. I think, like I think you know it's hard not having a storefront for people to get to know what we do, so we try to build a lot of our story on instagram. I do like a little cooking class once a week on Wednesdays, which is been fantastic. We get about a thousand views. Oh herder video, okay, and it's all about the art of zoifying. So, for example, this past Wednesday I did something called fake blueberry ice cream, which sounds fake, but what it really is is a non dairy, super fast frozen dessert. So it's essentially like this would be fantastic for you. You'RE gonna have to try this until I'm definitely gonna try it. You Speak Berries and you'll watch the video. It's so simple. Take Berries. Usually I would try to use raspberries or blueberries, like a juicy kind of Berry. If you're using strawberries, you might want to like chop them up a little bit smaller and then you use a couple egg whites and some sugar and you put it in your mixer with whisk attachment and you let it whip and it whips up into a beautiful thick morange and then you freeze it and that's that sounds and then you like breathe it overnight, you scoop it the next day, you eat it on a cone or in a bowl, like covered in fruits. I like to crush up chocolate cookies and put them on top, and I don't understand that you can eat so many cookies, like you're so slim. Me The other day I was like why did these pants seem like they're falling down, and I'm like no, they just can't stay up. So, you know, I have to watch. I'm always I'm always trying to watch. You know, it's like taste everything, eat nothing. That kind of theory, like always packing out everything. But so we do videos like that every week, every Wednesday, I try to post a video, always with something that's like, you know, I don't want to rush or recipe, but I also want to take a recipe that I know is going to be amazing and try and do it in a minimal amount of time so that I have time to either be with my guests or make it ahead if I know people are coming over so I have something special. I could make this on Tuesday and on Friday, you know, I don't have to worry about making dessert. So that's something we're doing and and also because we don't have a storefront, it's really hard to sort of like get across what we do, and I always say it's kind of classic with a twist. So we might do a Caesar Salad, but we might take it to the next level by putting shaved vegetables in it, or we might do, you know, some cookies and add something really interesting into it. or The scones we do might be like cheese and some kind of, you know, incredible herb that we find. So we're always doing something really familiar and kind of twisting it, like carrot cake scones we do. Sometimes those are those are ridiculous. Yeah, but like crushed hazel nuts on top, so good. So you know, I mean, getting people to know what we do and what we're about is always hard without a shop, but we really are trying to convey that with the videos and our online presence and we just love hearing from people. Every time I get an email from people that are like, Oh my God, my family is going crazy. Can you cook for us all the time? Like that just worms my heart to know end. And it's funny because I cooked for a family where she's like a nutritionist and I can almost guarantee she never put salt in anything. And so, you know, we send a meal and the family went bananas and she's like what's the trick and I'm like, honey, use this. Put little salt like will change everything. I love those conversations with our clients, though, you know, where they're like,...

...oh, we thought something was too spicy or whatever. You love that kind of feedback. It really helps us make stuff that people will enjoy for a long time to come or to share with their friends and family. So how do you, as you see the future unraveling in this very unknowing time? Do you expend your plan to extend the deliveries across Canada? Do you have what's your growth plan? You know, I like to think of it kind of like, you know, how do we how do we help people entertain all over the place? So the things that we can ship across Canada, like we're doing these crazy spiced, like sugary kind of spicy nuts, so those are going to go into our pantry. We do something called Cheesy cashows. Don't even ask, you just have to taste them. Their incredible. So that kind of stuff we do these olive flat breads that are like kind of crackers. All that stuff is going to go into the pantry this fall and we'll be able to ship that across Canada with all of our baking mixes that we're going to spend to and then we really just hope to kind of spread the word in Montreal and help people. You know, I always say like, as busy as we all are, we still all somehow want to cook every day, you know. So this in a way just makes it a little bit easier, having some stuff that is sort of has a homemade flavor to it. We really take care to make sure everything is super delicious, you know, loading your fridge up with that, like you know, over the weekend so that the start to your week is maybe a little bit smoother. So that's our that's our goal to kind of like help people ease through the week, especially as like kids are going back to school and probably people are going to feel crazy in the fall and then, you know, long term goals. I mean, we really love what we do and the food feel so special to us, so we just want to share that with as many people as possible. So how much of it can we get across Canada. We'll see. I hope a lot, but I love the interaction with people, so I hope that we get to put more in the Pantry and share more. And, yeah, yeah, and and and I guess you will open your space at some point. Again, I mean right now it's, like I say, every twelve minutes we start to think something new is for twelve minutes everything is stable and then you're like, oh, this too. Oh, now we can't get that anymore. Oh, we can't get this anywhere. Oh, okay, you know in they were reality show. You did a reality show last year, last fall, and then prepared you for life as a reality show. It really did. You just have to you have to just roll with the punches. You Do, you've just you have to roll with the punches and you also can't use as an excuse. You really just have to say you have two choices. You're either gonna figure out a way to make it happen or you don't. Both are fine. It's just that it would be very easy to say, Oh, we'll just close, but instead I think we have to work twice as hard and say, like, well, how do we really talk to more people or share with more people or, you know, make things that more people need right now. So it's like a it's like a brain shift all the time, and then you know what'll shift again and shift again and you're just we're just along for the ride right. Yes, and now you know my last question, which is, are you a Canadian? Do you consider yourself a Canadian? If so, what does that mean to you? I mean definitely Canadian. It's funny because when I was on the show, you know, people have seen reality shows forever and ever and I think they always equate reality shows with like people not being nice or people being conniving. And you know top chef Canada. I think someone on last season renamed it top friend. I mean it's like it's no Canadian being on that show. I was like, there's nothing more Canadian that. We're all helping each other out. I'm I'm sure the producers are like, could you guys fight a little bit? You can say something not nice about someone you know and of course none of us would, and that's you don't have assignment on top chef. I don't...

...know a Simon Cowell I chop ye, but I wish they did. I'm sure they they wish upthing like that would happen. There was very little of that that went on, if any, and I think like that to me is can you know, when I say like couldn't be more Canadian, then that's just people just being so nice, you know, and I think growing up I always like, you know, we summered a lot in the US and I think I was always my grandmother's American, so I think I always had one foot in either. But you know, Canada is a comfortable, happy place and I think as the years go on I realize more and more we're so lucky. We're really a lucky bunch to live here. We are. We're very lucky. Thank you very much. I appreciate your time. It's yeah talking to you and congratulations on your on your pivot. It's really cool. It's exhausting, but every week when we deliver food, I'm like, I just makes me so happy. Thank you for listening to an apologetically Canadian. This episode was brought to you by Profile Your Business. You struggle to Tell Your Business Story. Will Profile Your Business Dots ca a.

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