Today’s Notable Young Professional is Chef Brianne Nash, who runs the cooking school at Toronto’s renowned Nella Cucina Kitchen and is also a former Chopped Canada winner. We caught up with her to find out what inspired her career and where she sees herself in five years…
Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
My job is all about teaching people what I am passionate about! I think everyone should be comfortable in the kitchen – we all have one, after all.
Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
I started helping out at Nella Cucina with classes on a part-time basis and really enjoyed teaching. When the opportunity came up to do it full-time, it was a no-brainer!
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
It is really rewarding when someone walks away from a class feeling more comfortable in the kitchen. To me, it means I’ve done something right. It is always challenging accommodating the different learning styles of a class, but it has taught me a lot of patience.
What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
Being a chef has its late nights, long hours, and own lifestyle. Teaching has given me a bit more time with friends and family as I’m not always working nights and weekends.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In five years I would love to have something to call my own, but if that doesn’t happen I am always happy when I am cooking – and that’s what’s important to me!
What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
Working in Spain was a big challenge for me; there were language barriers, foods I had never heard of, and a whole new team to fit in with. Once I had completed my stage I realized how much I had gained. I am a lot better at jumping into new situations now.
What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
Success to me is doing what you love. I am blessed to have found something I was passionate about at a young age and be able to continue doing it as a career.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Competing on Chopped Canada was a pretty big milestone. It was so rewarding to win the grand prize and be able to spend it on things I couldn’t afford before that.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
I think it is so important to be open-minded in any career. You never know who or what could inspire your passion along your journey.
Where is your favourite place to wine/dine in your city and why?
One of my most memorable meals was at Edulis Restaurant. I absolutely love the décor, food, and atmosphere there. I also love a good Jacobs & Co. steak – Chef Danny is amazing!
When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
I still love to cook even when I’m not working, and it’s even better when I’m sharing it with my good friends and family with a nice glass of wine in hand.
Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
I love to travel to new places when I can and experience the cultures, foods, and lifestyles. I always get inspired when I travel somewhere new. Spain, Hawaii, and Vancouver are a few spots I really enjoy.
If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
“Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys. Something about that song makes me feel alive.
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
I have a sweet spot for the elderly. Both my nans are in there 90s and they have been a huge inspiration and drive behind my life. I could definitely see myself working within that industry.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
Right now we are working with Daily Bread Food Bank to feed the hungry in our community. We are offering a discount when you bring in some food items for our drive.
What to you is notable?
Notable is how many great up-and-coming chefs we have in the city of Toronto. We are constantly growing and expanding with new restaurants.
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