Stephen Parsons' leap of faith for the Trellis Café
PROFILE | By Clare Parsons
Born October 17, 1966, in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Stephen Parsons was just like any other child — and most adults — facing the big, scary world, not knowing what to do or where to go with his life.
Stephen came to Nova Scotia from Newfoundland in 1984 to study political science at Acadia University. Soon afterwards, Stephen landed a job and stayed with the same company for about 18 years. His job was to travel the world and attend trade shows to sell his company's communication devices to the military. Stephen eventually left his job in 2011, discovering that his real true passion had always been cooking.
Stephen and his family of four purchased a summer home in Hubbards, NS, in the winter of 2010. It happened by coincidence — or maybe fate — that the only restaurant in Hubbards was up for sale just one summer after Stephen had left his government job. It was almost a heaven-sent opportunity — the café being exactly what he wanted to do.
“I was scared. Of course I was scared. This was a huge investment, and a completely different direction with career paths. I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I had always loved to cook and knew it would be the perfect job for me. So I did it. And here we are four years later — business better than ever, and I’m happier than ever.”
Stephen’s biggest fear was failure, and making a bad investment. With the support of his family and friends, and passion for being in the kitchen, everything panned out perfectly. It was a leap of faith he thanks himself every day for taking.
“I really have to thank my family for the support they gave me in the decision. I have two families now. I have my family at my home and another family at the restaurant. Everyone that works at The Trellis is so friendly and supportive; I truly love going to work in the morning. I leave my first family in the morning, go to my second, and then come back to my first at the end of the day!”
So where did this political science major learn to cook?
“I’ve always known how to cook. My dad was the cook at our house when I was growing up, but I’m from Newfoundland so our food was a little different and plainer than most …. We lived off salt cod and potatoes. Nothing too fancy. While I was traveling with my old job to places all over the world, I got a taste for amazing cuisines. Paris, France, was my favourite place I think. Everything was absolutely delicious, from the coffee, to the bread, to the cheeses.”
Allan Reid, 27 years old and a resident of Hubbards, has worked at the Trellis Café since he was sixteen. He started out as a dishwasher, is now a waiter, and has always enjoyed his job. When I ask him how the transition was once Stephen took over and how he finds Stephen as a boss, Allan is all smiles.
“Steve is a great guy. [The previous owner] wasn’t really around too often. She was more like the front-woman who stopped by on occasion. Steve is not only a cook, but the owner, so he’s much more involved and it is easier to talk to him when something needs to be done because he’s always around. He is super funny and charismatic and we actually hang out outside of work. He’s cool for an old dude.”
When asked what qualities and things in the work place are most important to him, Stephen's answer is simple: “Honesty, loyalty, and hard work. Those are pretty self-explanatory. Everyone knows what they are. They’re three very important characteristics and I like to surround myself with positive people with a good energy.”
Stephen says that risks are a part of everyone’s life and that we should take them more often than not. Nothing feels better than when a leap of faith works out. Stephen had never imagined while he was in his twenties that this is where he would be today.
Stephen says that the most important thing in life is doing what you love. It makes the days worth it and gives you the extra push out of bed in the morning. No matter what you do, make sure you’re happy!
“Never limit yourself or restrict yourself to a genre of work or to a single passion. There are so many opportunities and choices in the world; you never know what you may end up loving.”