For the past few weeks, my family and I took a trip to Toronto, visited with family and ate like savages. It was an amazing time; great to see old friends and family and what a luxury to be surrounded with such decadent food. Well, vacation’s over, I’m back in Vancouver and I’m back to work.
I’ve had a few interesting inquiries this week, so I figure it’s time to announce my next project. First and foremost, I’m NOT opening a new restaurant, not here in Vancouver and definitely not in Toronto. I’m actually taking a break from the restaurant game. Don’t get me wrong, I love the restaurant business; I will likely miss it too much and will probably get back into the mix someday soon. But, it’s all I’ve done for the past 15 years and as much as I love the action, it also takes a toll. With a wife and two young kids at home, my priorities have changed slightly and I’m making changes in my life that will put my family and healthful lifestyle first. As a chef, when I was at the restaurant, I felt guilty about not being a better husband/father and when I was at home, I was always constantly thinking about work and I felt guilty for not being a better chef. Well, I’m tired of the self-imposed guilt and am seeking some work-life balance that centers around my love of cooking. What I have stumbled upon is an opportunity that allows me to stay deeply rooted in the Vancouver restaurant industry, while I use my diverse skill set to grow a different kind of business. I have partnered up with an iconic Vancouver food company, La Grotta Del Formaggio, and have accepted a position as the Corporate Chef of LGDF Wholesale Division.
La Grotta Del Formaggio is probably best known as the renowned delicatessen/specialty food shop on Commercial Drive, which was opened by Fortunato Bruzzese in 1979. In November 2012, a second La Grotta deli was opened in Donald’s Market at the River Market in New Westminster. What many people outside of the restaurant industry don’t realize is La Grotta also has a thriving wholesale division that has been supplying Lower Mainland restaurants and retailers for the past 8 years. Domenico Bruzzese has been leading the efforts at LGDF Wholesale Division; business is booming and it’s an exciting time for the company. Later this year, LGDF will be launching a newsworthy new wine division and we will be representing/marketing a select group of Italian wineries here in the BC marketplace. Thrilling times indeed; I’m ecstatic to be joining the team and look forward to facilitating the growth of this long time family business.
Though my role at LGDF is multi-faceted, one of my main duties will be to service lower mainland restaurants and boutique retailers. I will take my experience and knowledge base as a results driven chef to help restaurants and retailers source products that are unique, delicious and cost-effective. LGDF is known as a specialty importer of quality Italian goods, but with current demand for a local products, I look forward to seeking the best of local producers and adding them to the LGDF lineup. The dining public’s tastes continually change with the times and I intend to help find new quality products that satiate these demands and make them available in the BC marketplace.
Personally, I’m very excited. I still get to play with food everyday, I’m staying involved in the Vancouver restaurant industry and I am on my way to finding my ideal work-life balance. If you are interested in finding out more about LGDF, in particular Vancouver chefs and restaurateurs, please do not hesitate to contact me directly. LGDF is here to help and I am here to help facilitate that. Stay tuned because in the not so distant future, we will be announcing a plethora of upcoming LGDF tastings, demonstrations, paired dinners and special events. Exciting times indeed.