YEDaily: Anthony Benda

After finishing a degree in journalism, Anthony Benda was not ready to leave the social service industry for a comparatively anti-social job as a writer, so he went on to create Myriade, a coffee house that offers some of the best brew Québec has to offer. Setting the bar higher than any other Cafe in Montreal, check out some of the day-to-day challenges Anthony faces in today’s YEDaily…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell. 
I own and operate Cafe Myriade in Montreal. My job is to work with the roasters whose coffees we serve to assess their coffees weekly and provide feedback to them to improve the raw product we use to serve. I train and calibrate a staff of twelve baristas to execute a consistent service of the highest quality coffee possible. Most importantly, I constantly have to evaluate our brewing methods and service methods to see if there’s a means to improve on what we’re doing. My goal is to maintain the best coffee service in the world, nothing less.

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
I opened Myriade in fall of 2008 after working in quality-focused cafes for six years in Vancouver and Montreal. I finished my degree in writing but didn’t want to leave the social and dynamic atmosphere of service for the anti-social life of a writer. I enjoyed working in coffee and the challenges it presented on a day-to-day basis to maintain quality, and recognized a void in Montreal’s culinary environment – there was no one cafe focusing on serving great coffee. I wanted to set the bar higher than any cafe had previously – in Montreal, in Canada, or anywhere really – and that became the goal on a day-to-day basis.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part is working with my staff who are a second family to me. Many have been with the cafe for more than two years and all invest themselves into the cafe to an amazing extent. It’s a pleasure to come into work to be alongside them each day. The most challenging part, on the other hand, is tasting and criticizing the coffee we’re serving. It can be exhausting ingesting the amount of caffeine we do, and the need to remain objective is paramount to providing reliable feedback to our roasters.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In five years I’ll still be in Montreal, probably still very much involved in the hospitality industry and likely still in coffee. I would like the opportunity to expand on Myriade’s reach through creative service outlets, but not likely a second traditional cafe space. I appreciate dynamic and evolving spaces that can adapt alongside our ideas for improved coffee and service.

What does success look like to you?
Keeping the integrity of my personal goals and professional goals intact while maintaining a happy lifestyle. That doesn’t mean I need to make a certain amount of money or own a certain number of cafes, instead it’s more being able to look forward to going into work each morning and enthusiastically embracing the challenges of surpassing my own standards.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Winning the Canadian Brewer’s Cup was important to me, but most of the milestones are intangible and difficult to explain. The most memorable experiences have been customers’ relations of their experiences at the cafe and understanding that I can have a positive impact on different people’s everyday routines.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Don’t sacrifice any part of your goals or visions to accommodate somebody else. If you’re confident in an idea, execute it well and other people will appreciate it as well.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
We raised $3000 for the Humane Society when they were hosting 600 rescued dogs at a temporary dog shelter in Lachute, Quebec. Animals are important to me, it’s easy to take up a mantle to defend the interest of living creatures that can’t as easily defend themselves.

What to you is notable?
Anything executed with passion to the highest standard of someone’s capability.

You can follow Anthony on Twitter @cafemyriade