The reward of a job well done
*This business has closed. The Outaouais Tourism’s team would like to thank Christopher and Jesse as well as the Rustiek’s team. Thanks to their passion and their implication, the Rustiek has greatly contributed to make the Outaouais region shine.
Christopher and Jesse fell in love … professionally. After their respective journeys through the world of catering, they met at Bistro St-Jacques. Three years later, in March 2016, they opened Rustiek.
Christopher works in the kitchen, Jesse serves out front. The duo is on the same wavelength when it comes to managing their gastropub. “We want to offer people a unique experience,” says Jesse.
When they launched their adventure, they were clear on their concept: a menu that couldn’t be pigeonholed and that reflected no one but Christopher. His influences? His grandparents. His grandmother on his father’s side introduced him to the secrets of Dutch cooking. When I ask Christopher to name some typical flavours of Holland, his face lights up. “Nutmeg, white pepper, pickled herring, Gouda cheese. I’d sit on the kitchen counter and she would explain everything,” he recalls.
His maternal grandparents taught him the importance of fresh food, seasonal vegetables. “They had a huge garden. Nothing beats the taste of a bean you’ve picked yourself. My grandmother still calls to tell me: ‘Cucumbers are in season! Go buy some!’”
Rustiek’s menu changes three times a year, according to seasonal availability and market arrivals. The guys are proud to do business with a couple of dozen local producers. These relationships are precious.
“When you deal directly with producers, you can see how hard they work. They want to please, they ask us to tell them what we want. For example, right now they’re growing baby peppers for us,” says Christopher. “It’s a real exchange. We encourage them, it makes them happy. In fact,” he adds, “it’s good for everyone: for the producers, for me, and for our customers!”
Customers often compliment Christopher, the chef. “When someone puts my work into words, when they describe the combination of flavours, it gives me goosebumps. You forget about your 14-hour day. You know you’ve done a good job.”
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