I captured Al here, standing behind his hot sauce.
Ok, he’s sitting.
But look how happy he is!
He’s happy because his tastebuds are tingling from the sweet and spicy sauce that he helped create.
I also think he’s happy because of that beautiful plaid shirt.
Aaannnnyway, let’s step back from the hot sauce for a minute or two.
Let’s go back in time to when Al was a wee baby of sixteen. That’s when he got his first job: his first job ever and his first job in the food industry!
And that was sixteen years ago in Montreal!
In 2008, Al moved to Thunder Bay and started working immediately (again) with food. At that point he realized that this whole “food thing” could have the makings of a serious career so perhaps it was time for some formal training. Al attended the culinary management program at Confederation College and continued to get better and better in the kitchen.
After graduating, All worked for three years at The Sovereign Room then moved over to The Tomlin (when it opened) as Sous Chef.
I’ve dined many times with Al at the helm (at the Sov or Tomlin) and it’s never been anything less than perfect. No joke. This guy couldn’t cook a bad meal if his life depended on it.
Several years ago, Al was in a band called Inveigh. He toured around the country, making amazing friends and memories. He’s still a huge music fan but is definitely focusing more on the food part of his life.
Last year Al and his business partner, Nancy, branched out from the restaurant business into actually making a product for purchase. This is where we come back to the hot sauce…
If you haven’t tried it, you need to! It’s so good! The entire city is basically raving about this new local speciality! You can find heartbeat hot sauce at The Cheese Encounter, Daytona’s, El Tres, The Farmer’s Market, and Maltese.
I hope you haven’t lost interest, because there’s more!
I asked Al what is favourite food is to eat and he told me it was pepperoni pizza. He’s old school and that’s awesome! Can anything really top a good slice of peoperoni pizza? I bet he puts heartbeat on his pizza now…
I asked about his favourite foods to cook and he told me he loves working with slow roasted or braised meats with delicate sauces, soups, stews, and classic barbecue.
I like the comparison of Al and slow cooked food. Much like his favourite foods, Al himself has been brewing and braising ever so slowly over the past 16 years. He’s been working hard and gaining experience and now, he’s exploded all over the city in a flurry of hot peppers and spices.
Heartbeat took this city by storm.
So did Al.
Well done, Al! Keep up the amazing work you do for this city!