Chef Brent Maxwell has quite the impressive culinary resume: sous chef at Toronto’s Square, Canoe and Biff’s; and Chef de Cuisine at Luma and Spencer’s at the Waterfront in Burlington. He’s currently running the kitchen at East Thirty-Six, a position where he says the best and most challenging parts of the day are often the same…
Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
I am the chef at East Thirty-Six.
Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
The concept and idea behind the whole project. A new restaurant is always an exciting challenge. As far back as I can remember, I was always told I should be a chef or a veterinarian by my mother. Even at a very young age I was always experimenting in the kitchen and helping out.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best and most challenging are the same. There is really no routine. Each day is so different from the next. It keeps you on your toes and excited for the next challenge.
What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
I became a chef! Work/life balance doesn’t really exist. If I’m not at the restaurant, I’m probably at another eating; for pleasure and research at the same time.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I’m leaning towards owning a place. My wife Laura is also a chef, so it almost makes sense to go that direction.
What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
I can’t really point one out. Every day has its own challenges and obstacles to overcome.
What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
Success is whatever makes you happy. If you are happy with what you are doing, you will do well at it and financial success will follow.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
There’s so many to choose from. I just think working with great people you can learn from and teach is memorable as well.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Don’t run before you can walk. I’ve seen so many great people take on too much too soon and unfortunately not succeed. Being patient is a great attribute.
Where is your favourite place to wine/dine in your city and why?
Too many to name specifically. I find myself at Porzia a lot. Basilio was my former chef at Biff’s; I’ve learned a lot from him.
When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
Keeping active. Hockey, baseball, cycling, golf. It’s good to build stamina. It helps with being on your feet during the 16-hour days.
Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
New York was the last great place we went to. Ultimate dining weekend. France was great, too. Spain and Japan are next on the radar.
If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
That’s a tough one to narrow down. My music library is as vast as it gets. I think it’s more a daily thing based on whatever the day has in store for me.
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
Possibly a veterinarian. Always had a thing for animals.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
The Ocean Wise program and Seafood Watch are important to me. I’m a huge supporter of sustainable fishing (and other practices as well). Since I started cooking, I’ve seen many fish pushed to the brink, and through controlled and regulated fishing, they have come back and are thriving today.
What to you is notable?
Leading by example.
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#LYNL | (Live Your Notable Life)