Things have come a long way in the two years since Chinched first opened its doors on August 27th 2010. One of the most important people who has helped Chinched get to where it is today is our Sous Chef Jenn May. Without her creativity, attention to detail and perhaps most importantly her positive energy Chinched would be a very different restaurant than it is today.
Jenn was exposed to cooking at a very young age. She began to spend time in the kitchen baking with her mom at the ripe old age of 6 and graduated to cooking meals for her family by the age of 12. It was easy to see from an early age that Jenn had a passion for food, and more importantly cooking for others.
After spending a year at Memorial University she decided that wasn’t the direction she wanted to go and took time off from school to work and figure out what her next step in life would be. Given that she was still living at home and had some extra free time she spent most of it cooking for her family.
It was easy for everyone else to see (and taste) but it took being sat down by her Mother and Brother for her to realize that the culinary world was where she belonged. They told her that it was no secret she was a great cook and more importantly it was all she did in her spare time. Why not pursue a career in something you enjoy so much?
That night Jenn applied to all of the culinary programs in Newfoundland. The next day she received word that she had been accepted into Academy Canada’s culinary arts program and started two weeks later. She completed the first portion of the program at Academy Canada before moving to the College of the North Atlantic to finish the final two terms.
It took her a few months to adjust to the difference between cooking for your family and the world of commercial and fine dining. However once she became comfortable in her professional kitchen setting it was obvious to everyone that she had the passion and the talent required to be a successful chef. Throughout her time in the culinary program she completed two working internships both at the Delta Hotel, under Chef’s Brian Ramsey and Ken Morrisey.
Working in a hotel kitchen with 21 men was a new experience for Jenn but the confidence she gained from being able to hold her own was invaluable. After her time at the Delta she worked at the Red Oak Café in the Rooms. Finally, she realized she was looking for more of a challenge and decided to enter the world of fine dining.
While Jenn was completing her final term of the culinary arts program she met Shaun Hussey and Michelle LeBlanc; the owners of Chinched Bistro. Both Chefs had returned to Newfoundland to complete their Red Seals after fulfilling their roles of Chef de Cuisine in Sfoligia (Michelle) and American Seasons (Shaun) during their time on Nantucket. At the time Hussey and LeBlanc were working on Fogo Island with the Shorefast Foundation and at Nicole’s Café.
While they were in school they were keeping their eyes out for like minded talented Chefs for a project they had in mind for the future and Jenn caught their eye. When their work with Shorefast and Nicole’s was complete they returned to St. John’s to open their own restaurant and decided to try and track down Jenn for the second cook position. After searching for her unsuccessfully they posted a job ad online and as luck would have it, Jenn applied. The interview was a formality, she was hired on the spot and the rest as they say is history.
Writers Note: There was just too much awesome to contain in a single blog post. So stay tuned for Part 2! It will be online by the end of the week!