Once upon a time, in the former city of Hull, there was a naturally curious and food loving boy. His beloved mother introduced him to cooking early on in his life. She taught him how to make pies, cakes and the classic mille-feuilles à la Diane ! As a boy, he loved Easter for the chocolate it brought. However, unlike the other children, it was the recipes he could make with it as opposed to simply eating it that he enjoyed. Yes, he liked researching and experimenting with the ingredients of the time and with the famous chocolate bunnies. Over time, he read and tried more and more complex recipes.
In 2004, he met David Leluan (Small pleasures are so simple in Gatineau) who was working as chocolatier and pastry chef at the Casino du Lac Leamy. David quickly shared his passion and techniques with this young adult who had only one dream in mind: to have his own chocolate workshop. Without knowing the full impact of his decision, he decided to take a year off is job at the Casino du Lac Leamy. Thus started the headaches and many challenges ahead for the young chocolatier. With his certain success the only thought in his head, he forged ahead refining his products, techniques and growing his customer base. In 2006, enter a new mentor, Mr. Alain Fredette (Fredal Solutions). With his judicious advice and experience, Alain imparted wisdom upon our young entrepreneur. A few years later, a fortuitous opportunity with Mr. Andrew Aubrey of La Maison Aubrey, caterer, an impulsive and kind man, came about. Not only would Mr. Aubrey agree to share space, but also let our young man use equipment that he had yet to dream of having access to. Mr. Aubrey played a key role in Rochef’s destiny after a particularly difficult Christmas season at the end of 2008. Having experience in spades, Mr. Aubrey put Rochef back on the right track by giving it a swift kick in the right place and at the right time. Thus, Rochef was back on it’s quest for glory !
Next, Robert Pariseau, a techno-hippie joined Rochef. Due in large part to his charisma and epicurean knowledge, Robert developed a regular and very solid network of customers. He gave Rochef a vision for multiple products and opportunities that would develop years later. In March 2009, with the help and support of Mrs. Louise Bélisle (Belisle Automobile Ottawa), Rochef finally succeeds in winning over Farm Boy, a specialized chain of grocery stores in Ottawa known for their exclusive high end products. This would prove to be a turning point in Rochef’s evolution. At Farm Boy, Rochef would also meet Mr. André Bellemare (Farm Boy and Demu Lavel), the owner’s son. Mr. Bellemare would be a great asset to Rochef’s growth. After a considerable increase in sales at Farm Boy, the solid relationship formed would enable Rochef to further development and grow the business. Higher than expected volumes would require more working capital. Thus, Mr. Fredette, Rochef’s mentor, recently retired and looking for a new challenge, officially joined Rochef. Rochef would profit enormously from his great business sense ensuring the development, management expertise, financial acumen and, an important factor for Rochef, simply being a friend. With a new location and new equipment, Rochef doubled his efforts to offer the best in high quality, delicious chocolate and innovative products.
Many passionate people have been or are a part of the Rochef chocolate workshop team. They are former Casino colleagues, “testers” from the youth centre, family, parents of course, friends, acquaintances over the years, photographer, Mélanie Chassé, designers Angie Fisher, Fernando Forero, Pascal Potvin, Philippe Sabourin and Véronique Hébert. They are also mentors: Alain Fredette, Andrew Aubrey, Guy Béland, John Dallas and Lise Boudreault. Former, present and future employees and student placements: Patrice Boyer, Mélodie St-Cyr, Pierre Pernot, Carole Gates, Mélissa Gates, Gary Gates, Frédéric Gates, Francois Béland, France Maranda, John Dallas, Maude Phaneuf, Diane Poirier, Guy Béland, Micheline Poirier, Francine Poirier, Carole Thibault, Geneviève St-Pierre, Édith Rousson, David Carl, Matthieu Thibault, André Bénard, Marie-Eve Rioux, Mélanie Moore and I have certainly forgotten someone… Oh! Me! Roch Fournier! Thanks to all these people who have made and will continue to enable Rochef’s success. I kept my biggest thank you for the end. Thanks to YOU, my customers, for appreciating our products and philosophy. We have a lot of fun making what you enjoy tasting !