Meet the Canada Team
I am a Canadian Chef that spent many years abroad. I worked in the hardest kitchens I could and did as many competitions as I qualified for. Weeks without time off became normal for me.
Our industry is one of service to others. We spend so much of our lives as Chefs making fantastic flavours and perfect cuisines. We focus on so many things aside from our own mental and physical well being.
During the pandemic the staffing crisis imploded, I had to re approach how to maintain staff. Around this time, I got involved in the Burnt Chef Project. The courses and programs equipped me with knowledge and empathy for helping my staff. At the time it was about making a workplace that nurtured my staff, but suddenly I realized I was changing myself as well. I began having structured time off with my wife, and spending time doing things I had forgotten I loved.
Chef Imrun Texeira is a Canadian Chef and has worked in some of the world's best and most influential restaurants, including 3 Michelin Starred Noma in Copenhagen. Most recently, he has been named as a recipient of the Top 30-Under-30 Award for hospitality leaders in Canada and as a rising talent in North America by The Art of Plating. Imrun was a semi-finalist on the Food Network’s Top Chef Canada Season 8 and a finalist on the Food Network’s Chopped Canada Season 3.
He is a strong supporter of the ethos behind The Burnt Chef Project, and is here to help spread the message to break the stigma of mental health.
We have to put the right practices in place to create the best and healthiest workplaces we can for our staff. We as ambassadors and chefs have the responsibility to be the change we want to see in the industry to create a better workplace for future generations to come.
I started my culinary journey in 2011 and it wasn’t long before I was instantly hooked. The fast-paced energy, long hours, and team work really appealed to me. Unfortunately, I was also hooked on the after work pint of beer, and this followed me throughout most of my career.
It was normal and acceptable-I could indulge without any judgements. As my career “peaked” my addiction took full force and took over my life. Once I accepted help, I began to see my career in a different light and I became inspired to become alcohol free. My love for food has always remained constant throughout the years but it is blossoming into something even more beautiful.
Since taking my life seriously, mental health has been a huge focus for me. I try to practise positive mental health and daily meditation. I want to help our chefs enjoy a quality of life outside the kitchen.
Before going into business for myself, I had a long and successful career with Cactus Club Cafe restaurants- operating in various roles and markets that helped to make Cactus restaurants a household name in Canada.
Today I am the creator of Benchmark Sixty - A one-of-a-kind restaurant financial optimization agency designed to support restaurateurs to increase their
profit margins by understanding data, implementing benchmarks, and using metrics to improve productivity. This platform has helped hundreds of restaurants start on the right foot, land on their feet, or position for solid growth moving forward. It has been battle-tested during the challenging Covid-19 restrictions.
My business goals are focused on doing what I can to improve the overall state of the restaurant industry. Having grown up in it and witnessing firsthand the challenges it and the people working in it face, I want to make it better for the next generation.
Born and raised in Scarborough, Ontario, my hospitality career started at the age of 16. My first position in a kitchen was at the CN Tower in Toronto. After studying culinary management at George Brown College, I had an exciting career working in various roles around the world for Marriott Hotels & Resorts. I met my wife and fellow hospitality professional, on the job in 2009.
After 15 plus years in hotels & restaurants I left to pursue something else in the IT world with Oracle/MICROS doing implementation services for major hotel brands across North America. After 5 years the restaurants were calling my name and drew me back in.
Today I am a proud business owner of a Café & Catering company with my Wife as well as an Event Rental Company. The demands of which are both rewarding and equally demanding and challenging.
I look forward to working with the Burnt Chef Project to get awareness out to the world about mental health in hospitality.
I am a chef and owner of MilkCrate in Edmonton Alberta. I am trained in mental health first aid, as well as psychological health and safety. We try and educate our team members, guests and communities about the mental health struggles that takes place in the restaurant world, through social media and one on one conversations. Kitchen culture in Canada is new relatively to our commonwealth friends. But the issues that pose stress to us are the same.
Mental health will play a huge role in the future for restaurants and hotels and this project will be an integral part of that world.
Hospitality needs to change. Being a part of the Burnt Chef Project is an incredible way to access resources, materials and networks of people who are dedicated to this cause. This is a great honour and I am proud to be here.
Timothy James Bleau
I began cooking at fifteen in a small, fine-dining restaurant in Airdrie, Alberta. At 17, I traveled to New York where I attended and graduated from The Culinary Institute of America, where I was first introduced to the topic of sustainability. While there, I was able to work in some of the world’s top kitchens. I now live in Calgary, AB and work for the River Café Group.
I have a huge passion for environmental and social sustainability. Working in restaurants has opened my eyes to why mental health is an important topic; now more than ever. Being only 21, I feel that I have an obligation to help foster a change in our industry, breaking stigmas on mental health so that the culinary industry can continue to thrive.
As a Head Chef in Edmonton, Canada, and a dedicated member of the Edmonton branch of the Canadian Culinary Federation's Board of Directors, I've embarked on a transformative evolution within the culinary realm. With a career that ignited at 18, I've journeyed from the front of house to the illustrious role of a sous chef. Now over a decade, my career in hospitality has been spent with two of Canada’s well recognized dining brands which were instrumental in my ability to recognize the possibilities of a healthy lifestyle and career.
My culinary voyage has a resolute purpose: to challenge norms and eradicate the entrenched stigma surrounding mental health in the industry. Passionate about reshaping the narrative of a chef's life, I've embraced the mantle of an ambassador with The Burnt Chef Project, advocating for a culinary culture that values well-being, balance, and mental wellness over arduous hours.
Together, let's sculpt a future where chefs thrive amidst a harmonious existence, transcending the glorification of exhaustive schedules and forge a path towards a healthier, holistic, and vibrant culinary world.
I'm an experienced cook, working in food and hospitality since 2006. I've had many opportunities in that time, and learned firsthand about everything from handmade pasta to modernist cuisine, from seafood to southern barbecue, from grilling steaks to pastry, and plenty more besides. I've also had more than my share of mental health problems.
I am autistic. I have been hospitalized for mental health issues. At my worst, I would spend all of my time outside the kitchen drinking, not caring who I hurt or what relationships I damaged - with family, friends, and colleagues. All I was concerned about was feeling numb instead of overwhelmed and afraid of the world.
All of the support I've received has made me determined to give back. I want to do my best to help others be their best self - and to help anyone struggling find their second chance, like I have.