Rising Stars: Meet the 2017 OHI Top 30 Under 30

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ASA PROVEAU
owner/partner/brewmaster,
Brothers Ale House Guelph 

Before he was even old enough to drink, Asa Proveau dreamed of brewing his own beer. He recognized early on the need for finely crafted beers in the Canadian market and in his senior year of high school he, along with his twin brother Colton, began to set their plan to open a microbrewery in motion.

He attended the Brewmaster and Brewery Management program at Niagara College while Colton enrolled in Business Administration at Brock University. He gained valuable experience working in some of the top breweries in Ontario, including Sleeman Breweries Ltd., Muskoka Brewery and the Niagara College Teaching Brewery. After six years of planning, Brothers Brewing Company was born in 2014.

The 24-year-old Proveau has developed a number of popular brews, including his signature American-style pale ale Tropic Thunder, which has been selling out in pubs around Southern Ontario for the past four years.

“From those early days of trial and error of brewing in his parent’s barn, Asa is now an accomplished brewmaster and widely recognized in the craft-brew world,” says Michael Bevan, an early investor in Brothers Brewing Company.

The company’s next venture is the opening of its first brew pub this spring in the historic Petrie building in downtown Guelph, Ont. Brothers Alehouse will showcase Brothers Brewing Company creations and will also support other craft brewers and artisans by offering guest taps and an outlet to bring their products to market.

KEVIN SINCLAIR
executive chef, Thompson Hotel, Toronto 

Cooking has always been part of chef Kevin Sinclair’s life. The Toronto native remembers cooking alongside his mother as a child, preparing traditional Jamaican dishes in the family kitchen. He went on to work for Sandman Hotels as chef de cuisine and The McEwan Group as chef de partie before heading to Paris to work with legendary chef Alain Ducasse and study at Le Cordon Bleu.

In 2014, Sinclair returned to Toronto and joined the Thompson Toronto as the chef de cuisine, but was quickly promoted to executive chef in 2015. In this role, he worked to create new culinary flair and maximize new revenue streams while creating growth within his department and increasing employee engagement. “In 2016, chef Sinclair increased food revenue by 19.9 per cent — the highest grossing year for the hotel,” says Frank Guerreiro, director of Food & Beverage at the Thompson Toronto, adding this was accomplished through new revenue streams such as Uber, Fooddora and citywide food festivals.

In his role as executive chef, Sinclair is responsible for seasonal menu creation for five culinary outlets, scheduling of 40 employees, designing operating procedures, financial analysis and forecasting and public promotion of Thompson Toronto through television, radio, magazine and festival appearances.

CORI MURPHY
pastry chef, Lavelle Restaurant, Toronto

After completing the Baking and Pastry Arts Management program at George Brown College, as well as the Modern French Pastry Arts certificate at École National Supérieure de Pâtisserie in Yssingeaux, France, Cori Murphy quickly launched into Toronto’s restaurant industry. Since graduating in 2010, Murphy has already played integral roles in the openings of three Canadian eateries, including Patrice Pâtissier in Montreal, Alo in Toronto — where she was responsible for four courses on chef Patrick Kriss’s celebrated tasting menu — and Lavelle in Toronto.

Murphy specializes in Instagram-worthy modern interpretations of French pastry. In her current position as pastry chef at Lavelle, she is responsible for managing the roof-top restaurant’s pastry department, including ordering, costing and hiring, as well as executing brunch, lunch and dinner services. In addition to the restaurant’s à la carte dessert menu, Murphy also designs tasting menus and special-event menus, including a recent collaboration with Cacao Barry.

“Cori has been a part of my team and the company for almost a year and she has shown nothing but talent, drive, dedication and passion,” says Romain Avril, corporate executive chef, Trademark Hospitality. “I am really pleased to count her as one of my team leaders and I look forward to taking her under my wing, as well as having her help me with the growth and success of the company,”

ALEXANDER McMAHON
general manager/wine director, Fauna Food + Bar; wine director, Bar Laurel, Ottawa

For Alexander McMahon, a dishwashing job led to a hospitality career encompassing a multitude of foodservice positions along the way. He worked his way through the ranks of some of Ottawa’s top restaurants, including Beckta Dining and Wine, Back Lane Café and El Camino. During his time at El Camino, McMahon pursued his passion for wine by completing the advanced level of the WSET program before joining the opening team at Fauna in 2014 as the restaurant’s wine director/service manager. McMahon was asked to expand his role and take on responsibility for a second restaurant when chef/owner Jon Svazas opened Fauna’s sister restaurant, Bar Laurel, in Summer 2016.

Ever dedicated to learning and growing his career, McMahon recently took a leave from these positions to accept a three-month internship at Noma in Copenhagen. “Noma was a life-changing experience that helped teach me organization, lessons in hospitality and humility, as well as exposed me to vast categories of food and wine of which my knowledge was previously limited,”

McMahon says of his experience. Upon his return, he received a promotion to general manager at Fauna. McMahon is also responsible for organizing and hosting Ontario’s first natural-wine symposium — Wines by Nature, held in July 2016 at Fauna, which featured seminars by wine experts including Ann Sperling of Southbrook Vineyards.

“As wine director for both Fauna and Bar Laurel, Alex has come into his own,” says Steven Robinson, GM/sommelier, Atelier Restaurant. “Now, with the ability to curate his own wine lists with autonomy and creativity, Alex has established these businesses as the source for quality low-intervention and natural wine in Ottawa.”

FELICIA DeROSE
executive sous chef, The Chase Fish & Oyster, Toronto 

After starting her career as a line cook at Toronto’s Oliver & Bonacini Café Grill, Felicia DeRose quickly rose through the kitchen ranks during her subsequent positions. Within five years of graduating from George Brown College’s culinary management program, she had already landed a job as chef of Toronto’s Origin North Restaurant & Bar. In 2015, DeRose joined the Chase Hospitality Group (CHG) as executive sous chef of Colette Grand Café, where she assisted in the development of both savoury and pastry menus, while focusing on staff development.

DeRose made the move to CHG’s The Chase Fish & Oyster, becoming executive sous chef of the ground-floor concept at the company’s flagship restaurant. “While her title is technically executive sous chef, she is the true culinary leader of the kitchen in every sense,” explains Tyler Shedden, culinary director, CHG. In her current role, DeRose is responsible for the development of the restaurant’s seasonal and special-event menus. Beyond her culinary prowess, DeRose has been heralded as an exceptional mentor to her staff. “It is Felicia’s ability to teach and motivate that I admire the most. Her team respects her, improves under her tutelage and thrives under her warmth and humour,” says Alexis Davis, director, Talent and Culture, CHG.

NOAH BEDARD
lead baker & charcutier, The Drake Hotel, Toronto 

From coffee to cooking, baking to pastry — and most recently charcuterie —Noah Bedard has spent the last 12 years honing his culinary skills. But three years ago he found himself struggling with his passion for the industry. “Luckily I found The Drake. I was able to discover the amazing world of baking,” says Bedard. It was in baking that he found his perfect fit and rekindled his drive. Bedard was part of the opening team for Drake One Fifty, first as a pastry chef and then making pizzas on  his way to achieveing his goal of joining the baking team as a bread maker. He trained under The Drake’s head baker, Jonas Grouplijonas before moving  over to the restaurant’s Commissary kitchen.

When corporate executive chef Ted Corrado began developing The Drake’s charcuterie program, Bedard worked closely with him, learning all aspects of the craft. He now oversees the charcuterie program for the entire company and will play a lead role in the new 8,000-sq-ft. Drake Commissary set to open soon.

“[Noah is] consistently learning and seeking culinary knowledge,” says Corrado. “When he’s not at The Drake, he spends time taking wine courses, reading cookbooks and attending culinary events to further develop his skills. He is committed to his craft.”

Volume 50, Number 2
Written by Danielle Schalk & Amy Bostock 

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