A recipe for suc­cess

Chef Garry Gosse of Til­ton earns his place in culi­nary in­dus­try


Climb­ing out of his truck at Har­bour Breeze Cater­ing in Har­bour Grace, Garry Gosse laughs and apol­o­gizes for be­ing a cou­ple of min­utes late.

Grab­bing three hang­ers of cloth­ing and a large tro­phy out of his ve­hi­cle, the 36-year-old heads up the front stairs.

“I have three meet­ings to­day and for each one I have to wear some­thing dif­fer­ent ,” he smirks as he bal­ances the tro­phy on his chest and holds open the door.

It’s been a hec­tic few weeks for the popular chef and busi­ness owner from neigh­bour­ing Spa­niard’s Bay. Just two days prior, Garry came home from the 32nd an­nual Chefs Gala ball and din­ner at the Sher­a­ton Ho­tel in St. John’s with the prov­ince’s most pres­ti­gious award in his in­dus­try.

The Culi­nar­ian of the Year award is given to a chef who has not only con­trib­uted to the cooking in­dus­try, but also has made a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on their com­mu­nity.

“I wasn’t told be­fore­hand,” Gosse ex­plains dur­ing a chat in his of­fice. “When I heard the bio, I was a bit taken back. It’s an hon­our to get cho­sen among your peers.”

While at­tend­ing high school at As­cen­sion Col­le­giate, Gosse helped his dad in his garage fix­ing cars. He en­joyed it, but it wasn’t the ca­reer path he wanted to take.

A fam­ily friend told him about the ex­cit­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties that would await if he went to culi­nary arts school, and Gosse thought it might be the right path for him.

“I went from chang­ing oil to cooking oil,” he laughs.

Right out of high school, he left home and headed to Prince Ed­ward Is­land to at­tend Hol­land Col­lege.

Although he found the first year of the pro­gram a strug­gle, Gosse knew it was the ca­reer for him once he com­pleted his work place­ment at Terra Nova Lodge.

Grad­u­at­ing from the culi­nary arts and the pas­try arts pro­grams with honours, Gosse be­gan his ca­reer in P.E.I. but soon found him­self in Ber­muda as a chef de par­tie, also known as a line cook.

Af­ter spend­ing four years in Ber­muda, the tourism in­dus­try slowed af­ter the Sept. 11 World Trade Cen­tre at­tacks and he re­turned to Canada.

It wasn’t long be­fore an­other op­por­tu­nity be­came avail­able for Gosse back in Ber­muda. He worked as an ex­ec­u­tive chef at a re­sort restau­rant, but the dev­as­ta­tion of Hur­ri­cane Fabian closed the re­sort down, and Gosse packed his bags to re­turn home.

Upon re­turn­ing to New­found­land, Gosse and his wife, Lori, opened the Har­bour Breeze.

“We didn’t know the chal­lenges we were go­ing to face,” he says.

The cou­ple were work­ing 16- to 18-hour days, sleep­ing on two cots in what is now the of­fice.

Start­ing with a small staff, the busi­ness has blos­somed over the course of 10 years. Out of its 54 em­ploy­ees, seven women have been there since day one, in­clud­ing Theresa Greeley.

“Theresa has been my go-to per­son from the be­gin­ning,” Garry ex­plains. “She’s been a big part (of the busi­ness).”

But he says all the mem­bers of his staff are im­por­tant, be­cause they are the rea­son the busi­ness is still go­ing.

“My staff is ev­ery­thing to me,” he says.

Garry also cred­its his cus­tomers for Har­bour Breeze’s suc­cess.

“Suc­cess is only mea­sured by hap­pi­ness and if peo­ple around you ap­pre­ci­ate what you’re do­ing.”

The next step was to grow the busi­ness even more, so Garry added school cafe­te­ria cater­ing in 2007-08.

“Two con­tracts blos­somed to 10,” he ex­plains. And it just grew from there.

Garry also stars in a tele­vi­sion pro­gram on Eastlink called Grill­works where he demon­strates cooking bar­be­cue. His chil­dren, Brooke and Luke, have been spe­cial guests on the show.

Garry is not only a great chef; he is known for his gen­eros­ity.

Some of the or­ga­ni­za­tions he has been in­volved with in­clude the Canadian Can­cer So­ci­ety, the Dr. H. Bliss Mur­phy Can­cer Care Cen­tre, the Trinity Con­cep­tion Pla­cen­tia Health Care Foun­da­tion and the Kid­ney Foun­da­tion.

He is in­volved with the Daf­fodil Place Cooking for Life pro­gram, giv­ing cooking demon­stra­tions to those with can­cer, and has been a big sup­porter of fundrais­ers for lo­cal schools and or­ga­ni­za­tions.

He also vol­un­teers as a mi­nor hockey coach, has been a vol­un­teer fire­fighter, helps or­ga­nize the Bay Roberts Seafood Fes­ti­val and is the dis­trict rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the Restau­rant As­so­ci­a­tion of New­found­land and Labrador.

But the most im­por­tant thing in Garry’s life is that he is a dad and a hus­band. “I’m a big fam­ily per­son,” he says. One of the big­gest com­pli­ments he has ever re­ceived came from Ed­i­ble Road Trip, an on­line blog of food cri­tiques.

The blog­gers re­ferred to Garry’s meal of maple-mo­lasses braised pork belly with a fig and tomato ketchup and turnip puree as “one of the most Canadian dishes we’ve come across.”

But no mat­ter how far his suc­cess goes, no mat­ter how big his name gets, he is still a proud, small town New­found­lan­der with a big ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the art of cooking.

“Who would have thought lit­tle old Garry Gosse from Til­ton would be where he is,” he ex­claims. “I’m very pas­sion­ate in what I do.”

Photo by Melissa Jenk­ins/The Compass

Har­bour Breeze Cater­ing owner and chef Garry Gosse has been named the prov­ince’s Culi­nar­ian of the Year.

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