He advocates for mental health in Edmonton’s hospitality industry
Job Title: Owner, Milkcrate
Steven Brochu realized he wanted to go to culinary school while working as a lifeguard at a resort in British Columbia. Living and working with the cooks at the resort, hearing their passion for the ingredients and the food they made, he thought, these guys are like pirates. So he enrolled in culinary school at NAIT, and cut his teeth in Vancouver’s downtown restaurant scene as a sous chef.
It was when he was teaching English in Taiwan with his wife that Brochu decided to make the jump from sous chef to chef.
“Doing a different job, just cooking at home in our little apartment in Taiwan was incredible. It made me realize I didn’t want to cook someone else’s food anymore.”
The reputation around chefs is “super toxic,” Brochu says. Like most people in the hospitality industry, he’s seen his fair share of substance abuse, sexism, racism and bullying in the kitchen. It was this experience that inspired him to start MilkCrate Listens, an online mental health resource for the hospitality industry.
He knew he wanted to be a different kind of leader, although he cringes at being called one. Brochu is a servant leader — all about serving the guest, and, just as crucially, serving his team.