From maintenance worker to restaurant owner

As good as the chef and as tasty as its dishes may be, a restaurant without impeccable service just isn’t worth its salt.

Because it’s constantly subject to all manner of vagaries, service in the restaurant business is a daily challenge. Customers’ moods, special requirements, a dish that arrives late, an unexpected rush, a power failure and on and on... just the kind of challenges Mélanie Blanchette was happy, even eager, to take on nearly twenty years ago and that still exert the same pull over her today.

Her first experiences in the restaurant business were as a “girl Friday.” When she wasn’t studying professional writing at Université Laval in Quebec City, she worked in a restaurant, cleaning toilets, washing dishes and mopping floors.

One day, an Irish pub hired her as a waitress, a job she’d never done before. Turns out, her first day was to coincide with St. Patrick’s Day. Never one to shy away from a challenge, she thought, “Why not?”

She discovered she liked both the environment and the job. So she enrolled in a university management program with the goal of one day owning her own restaurant. In 2010, her dream became a reality when she and long-time partner, the talented chef François Nadon, opened Bouillon Bilk, a small, barely 1,200 sq. ft. restaurant with a dozen employees that soon grew to accommodate 90 guests.

Once that challenge was crossed off her list, she was ready for another. In May 2016, the duo launched their second restaurant, Cadet, also on Saint-Laurent Boulevard, a few steps from its “big brother.” Cadet serves mainly tapas, whereas Bouillon Bilk is more renown for its fine gastronomy.

Either one is a delectable experience. And each can vaunt its five-star service, of course!

1595 Saint-Laurent Blvd.

www.bouillonbilk.com

1431 Saint-Laurent Blvd.

www.restaurantcadet.com