Up until recently, he went back to Zambia every year to visit with family and take in the food and culture. In 2018, he even proposed to his wife Janice while on an African Safari. “We were on a Big Five Safari. Protected by five guards, we were able to walk alongside the lions and see them with their cubs. We needed to be careful, but it was the perfect setting for the proposal.”
They have been partners ever since, in business and in life, although Janice tends to prefer working behind the scenes managing the details. Salt N Sear has continued to grow but when the pandemic hit, things had to shift. “Our business changed, but in some ways for the better. People have always wanted plated dinners, but with COVID, we started to get more bookings for home catering. With stringent protocols in place, we can now go in and prepare custom home-cooked meals for our clients.”
Chef Jacques has also been receiving increasing attention in the media. He has been featured in several local publications and recently was approached by Jillian Harris to cater her wedding. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, that event is on hold but it did not stop her from raving about him and his food to her massive Instagram following @jillian.harris, even generously sharing her platform with him. “We did a two-day takeover event on her social account, which was so engaging and fun.” Chef Jacques shared his Beer Crust Pizza Dough recipe which became an instant hit.
Chef Jacques is quite hopeful as he looks towards the future. “I plan to hire full-time staff next year, especially as things start to pick up over the holidays.” However busy he gets though, he will always make time for his volunteer work with Camp Moomba—a peer support and education program for youth living with, and affected by, HIV in BC. “I have been a camp leader volunteer for many years, but with COVID we have to do things differently now. I am planning to offer the kids cooking classes online in December.” No surprise that it all comes back to making good food and teaching the next generation to love the process as much as he does.