Audi Stadis of Hill and Bay Food and Beverage has a story to tell, and it’s one of inspiration. It’s a story about a woman who was called “irrelevant” at a job interview after being a stay-at-home Mom, despite years of prior success in the workforce. This story is about a woman who found her second chance at success in the foodservice industry.
Six years ago, Audi Stadis had just about given up on finding a job in marketing, executive sales and finance. Despite excelling at previous jobs with Fortune 500 companies, she had bad experiences at interviews that left her feeling hopeless, lost and unsure of her next move. “I lay in bed for two months, feeling knocked out,” she says.
Audi decided to try her hand at cooking classes. Soon she was teaching cooking classes, which gave her the opportunity to showcase her talent. In 2012, Audi formed her own teaching and catering business, Hill and Bay, in Collingwood, Ontario, and she’s been going strong ever since.
What’s so great about her recipes?
Putting a modern spin on traditional family recipes, while experimenting with avant-garde and fusion styles, is Audi’s secret. Her quiches, which use a minimum of five cheeses, and organic and local ingredients foods, often sell out at the local Farmer’s Market, soon after opening time!
From red tape to self-doubt, challenges are aplenty for those starting out in the industry, and Audi was no exception. Finding out if she was meeting all the legal requirements on food production was a huge obstacle. “The government red tape was horrific!” she says.
Financing was also an issue, as overhead in the beginning is high while return is low. The worst challenge of all was self-doubt. “You wonder if anyone will like your food,” she says. Audi wishes she had an industry mentor who could have helped her navigate the business as a newcomer.
Audi’s greatest satisfaction comes from people telling her how wonderful her meals are. “That kind of feedback reinforces that you’ve done your job right, and it’s a real pat on the back,” she says. “It doesn’t hurt to make a few bucks along the way, but I’m not doing it for the money.” There’s nothing better for Audi than hearing customers say she’s their favourite chef.
Audi is taking a self-described culinary vacation to India and the Maldives to dabble in the various cuisines of the sub-continent, and see how she can bring them home to her specialties in Canada.
Follow her adventures in her blog, gosee.com
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Best part about being a Restaurants Canada member
As a member, Audi loves the volume-buying discounts offered by Restaurants Canada and Groupex. She also values the one-on-one guidance from the Member Services team. For example, a team member helped Audi source Nduja, a rare, Italian, organic, dairy-free, gluten-free spread. “It’s great to have that person on the phone helping you out,” she says. Audi also uses Restaurants Canada research to stay on top of trends. The hot trends in the annual Chef Survey made her decide to step up production of her vegan cranberry and lavender sauce. (The #6 hottest trend for 2016 is house-made condiments and sauces.) “Restaurants Canada’s list of trends validated that what I was doing was mainstream,” she says.
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TOP PHOTO: Audi serves up some tasty souvlaki.
MIDDLE PHOTO: Top sellers! Audi’s quiches use Gruyère, Monterey Jack and other tasty cheeses.
BOTTOM PHOTO: Audi took her mother’s recipe for cranberry sauce and gave it an adult twist.