Rob’s resume came through my applicant program in the spring of 2014 and it seemed like a diamond in the rough. Here was a person with extensive culinary experience living ten minutes away. I called him immediately. It actually took five or six calls. With no cell phone, Rob isn’t exactly easy to reach. At about 10 pm, Rob answered. The next day, we sat in the the greenhouse at Kredl’s and chatted about food and everything else for about two hours. Needless to say, he was happy to accept a position in the cookhouse, before moving into our deli kitchen, once the expansion was completed. Rob has a level of horsepower and creativity that is hard to find in today’s workforce.
Rob was born in Saint John, NB and grew up in Rothesay. At the age of 16, Rob moved to Halifax with his family. His father, a shipyard worker, ran out of work in Saint John and was offered a position in Halifax. Once Rob completed his final year of high school in Halifax, he moved to Grand Prairie, Alberta and started cooking at a restaurant named Earl’s.
As a child, Rob was instilled with the worst of food values. They consumed everything from TV dinners to Kraft Dinner to fast food and sugary cereals. He literally ate the worst of food the 80’s and 90’s had to offer. At the age of 18, at Earl’s, Rob tried real garlic for the first time. This was the catalyst that expanded Rob’s mind. From there, every new food was rediscovered. Every taste had to be tried. There began Rob’s rapid education in everything food. It became an obsession. He became a flavour chemist and thought about food day and night. His experience at Earl’s set the stage for what Rob wanted to do the rest of his life.
At 19, Rob moved back home to Halifax. While he had been introduced to real food, his diet had only moderately improved in healthfulness. Rob’s years of poor eating began to show in the form of eczema all over his face. As you can imagine, this made it difficult for a 19 year old to date. Rob was given cortisone as treatment, which is known to be harmful. He was told he would have to use it for the rest of his life. To Rob, this wasn’t acceptable. After four years of putting steroids on his face, Rob started to piece it all together.
Rob started his culinary apprenticeship at the Delta Halifax, where he worked for five years. He feels he had good reason to leave. A new restaurant was on the horizon in Halifax. It would be called the Wooden Monkey. Rob was so inspired to be part of the beginnings of this new restaurant that when the owner, Lil MacPherson approached him, he jumped at it. Rob helped to open the Wooden Monkey from conception to opening day.
Rob worked with Lil for three years before crossing over to work with her mentor, John, who owned a bakery called, The Big Life, which is a macrobiotic bakery. This widened Rob’s food knowledge. While working here, Rob ate the healthiest he had ever eaten. His eczema disappeared. The idea of food deepened and he became inspired to get even closer to the roots. After a failed attempt to buy the bakery, Rob regressed to some more simple employment at a well known pub for a few years.
Yearning for the true meaning of food, Rob bought 113 acres of land on the Kingston Peninsula with his wife and son. They moved there in 2013, with the goal to build a self-sufficient homestead. Rob took a break for a year. He shopped around for employment in the culinary world in Saint John, but couldn’t find anything he was satisfied with. That’s when I met Rob.
Rob has fully integrated as a staff member at Kredl’s. After spending most of a summer in the cookhouse, he instilled the culinary flare we had been missing. Our cooking practices improved and efficiency was raised. Once the deli kitchen was completed in the expansion, Rob joined that team, quickly becoming assistant manager.
Rob loves working in the deli because he gets to cook with raw and real ingredients because our philosophy holds that it is just the right thing to do. Also, he really likes our bacon. Who wouldn’t want to work around bacon. He says there is only one bacon he’s had better than what he makes at Kredl’s. He has loved learning about charcuterie and butchery, things he didn’t really get to do as a chef.
In a way, Rob’s story is about his search for the meaning of food. With his homestead under construction, Rob feels that he is finally in the right place, building what he has been searching for since that day he tasted garlic. In fact, he grew 2000 bulbs of his own garlic in 2014.
Other than garlic and bacon, Rob loves dandelion, sourdough bread, mushrooms and anything fresh out of the garden. He really enjoys making homemade pizza with all the ingredients from his land. Rob loves autumn because he can make an incredible soup from the fall harvest. He loves the challenge of cooking meat over an open fire. He lives by the idea that less is more and aims to cook with that principle.
Rob has perfect vision, almost never gets sick and refuses to signup for Facebook. He is an analogue guy living in a digital world. When he isn’t at Kredl’s, Rob coaches his son in hockey, where he has an inability to bite his tongue. He loves to garden, forage and going to potlucks. Rob swims almost every day and takes his three dogs for walks. He also has two cats.