After closing the retail store and retiring the ca - tering business, Chef Mark put all his focus back into the restaurant. Unbeknown to him, Gabrieau’s Bistro would face challenging times in the near fu - ture. The Covid-19 pandemic caused the indus - try to take a huge hit with lockdowns and dine-in restrictions. He handled it as best he could. He refused to close his doors completely and turned to take-out options for his local customers. Chef Mark and his kitchen staff looked at their menu and chose to keep their best take-out sellers in rotation. They made easy to-go meals that were convenient for the customers to pick up on their way home from work. Chef Mark said his cus - tomers showed so much support and thanked his staff members for continuing to stay open. “Peo - ple came in and bought gift certificates, just so we would have extra money in our till because they weren’t sure if we were struggling or not” he ex - plains. “That shows what kind of community we live in.” “We have a lot of knowledge in the kitchen because of the diversity of our staff” Chef Mark describes. He employs people from all over the world includ - ing the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, and Mexico. Many of his staff have work experience in other countries such as Dubai. “There’s a lot of fun in
here because I get to learn. I get to watch them do something I have never done before. And they get to learn from me because my background is more French, Italian, and regional Canadian cuisine” Chef Mark said. There is a lot of input from the staff regarding the menu. He says it’s motivational to watch them come up with new ideas. They try to source local ingredients as much as possible. Chef Mark explains that he sources products from Antigonish first, then provincially in Nova Scotia, the Maritimes, then anywhere within Canada.
“Those who supported us, supported us a lot,”
This method has worked for him as they want to support other local businesses and keep ingre - dients as fresh as possible. Chef Mark says he will tell his staff he needs new entrée and appe - tizer selections for the following week with these products. They will each bring in samples and as a team, they discuss what will go on the menu. The staff are incredibly involved in decision-mak - ing alongside Chef Mark. Gabrieau’s Bistro also puts on Indian Night, Sri Lankan Night, and other events that allow the staff to share their food cul - ture. “That’s one thing where we’re different,” he says. “We just want to have fun.” So, the next time you find yourself hungry on High - way 104, make sure to pull off in Antigonish for amazing food and a good time at Gabrieau’s Bis - tro. But in the meantime, be sure to follow them on social media to see what you’re missing out on.
“People came in and bought gift certificates, just so we would have extra money in our till because they weren’t sure if we were struggling or not. That shows what kind of community we live in.”
“We have a lot of knowledge in the kitchen because of the diversity of our staff.”
SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS MAGAZINE • VOL 23 ISSUE 3
VOL 23 ISSUE 3 • SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS MAGAZINE
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