Benjamin Perez moved from Ontario to Edmonton to work as a sous-chef at Braven, the upscale steakhouse in the new JW Marriott.
Perez met Amber Edwards at Braven. They started dating. So, not only did he have a new job in a new city, but an exciting new relationship, as well.
And then COVID-19 shut down the hotel for weeks, and the work dried up. “I was losing my mind,” says Perez. “I go from working 12-hour days, five days a week, to nothing. I was bored.”
So, Perez and Edwards worked together and started baking out of their home kitchen. Benny’s Bread and Butter was born. Sourdough bread. Cinnamon buns. They advertised on Facebook.
“I woke up at 2 a.m. and baked for eight hours using my tiny little box oven,” says Perez.
One of their first customers was Tam Andersen, the proprietor of Prairie Gardens in Bon Accord. She liked Benny’s fare so much, she made them an offer; if they supplied bread to her, she’d give them a spot on the farm from which to operate. Plans are in the works to make improvements to the kitchen at Prairie Gardens, including a wood-fire pizza oven.
The baked goods can be ordered online at bennysbread.ca and are also available through the Good Goods Co. and Steve and Dan’s Online Market. Orders for Saturday delivery need to be made before Wednesday at 9 p.m.
“I’m going to keep this going,” says Perez. “I stopped working at Braven … I told them I want to see this through.”
Alberta’s move back to Step 1 did not include the closure of schools.
Meanwhile, Ontario shut its schools as COVID numbers increase.