Job Burns, a business student at UNB Saint John, has started his own catering and personal chef company and he has incredible passion and enthusiasm for what he does. In the following exclusive interview with The Baron, Burns talks about his business, his experience as a student at UNB, and his passion for cooking.
How did you start out in the food industry?
Job Burns: The short answer [is that] I started my cooking career at the age of 16 as a dishwasher [for] the Vintage Bistro & Lounge. [I had only spent] two weeks in their dish pit when the head chef suddenly gave the owners a week’s notice that he was heading to Australia. Knowing that I had done some cooking at home and enjoyed it, the owners asked if I would be able to do some prep work and plate dishes [after the last chef left]. Within a month, I was [the Bistro’s] youngest prep cook and within six months [I had] started taking the opening shifts, [working the] weekend rush, making batches of ribs, soups, [and] desserts. I became the Bistro’s sous-chef shortly after I turned 17.
It was while I was a UNB student that I started Busy Day Cooking & Catering. I [had been] working for Costco [through] the College Student Retention Program, pulling weeds between the cart corals, and I thought to myself, “I can’t do this for the rest of my life. What do I love to do?” The answer was cooking. I went home that night, pulled out my business plan assignment from Dr. Dewar’s Intro to Business class, and started to build Busy Day Cooking & Catering.
Can you tell our readers about your business?
JB: Busy Day Cooking & Catering’s primary service is our In-Home Personal Chef Service. We provide our clients with 4-5 entrees, lunches, snacks and breakfast for the entire week in just eight hours. The service also includes a planned healthy menu and [a personal shopper-like service], who gathers the supplies needed for the menu and any personal items that our clients require.
BDCC’s entrees are designed to be prepared in the same amount of time as a frozen pizza or frozen lasagna without all of the preservatives found in packaged foods.
Secondary services that we provide include event catering and in-home dinner party services. If interested, your readers can check out our website for more information!
What do you hope the future holds for Busy Day Cooking & Catering?
JB: Growth! Currently, I am feeding 5 families a week and my weekends are a mix of catered events and dinner parties. I can’t wait to graduate, hire my first full-time employee and work on the business rather than in it.
Busy Day Cooking & Catering [incorporated] on March 16th, and from there it’s [been] full steam ahead. In the future, I really hope that more university students take an interest in the service; if four students/roommates split the service they could have 5 healthy meals, their weekly lunch, snacks and breakfast for roughly $80.00 a week, without the worry of finding time to wash pots and pans, plan what to eat, or stand in line at grocery stores. BDCC gives our clients more “thyme” to accomplish the things that they need to do.
What is your favourite dish to prepare for your clients?
JB: Busy Day has a couple of entrees that our clients have dubbed our signature entrees: our maple glazed salmon with Italian roasted baby potatoes and sautéed asparagus; and our brie & bruschetta stuffed chicken breast. I love preparing these dishes in particular because I know that people love them.
Are there any celebrity chefs that you admire/take inspiration from?
JB: Gordon [Ramsay]! I love watching his YouTube videos, tutorials, and highlights from his reality shows. [That being said], I’m terrified of him – but you have to admire how specific and high his standards are. It’s what makes him a great chef!
Interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Burns was also kind enough to share the recipe for one of Busy Day Cooking & Catering’s signature entrees, for any of you bold chefs out there willing to give it a try. After all, he did say he’s hoping to hire a second chef in the future, and practice makes perfect!
Maple Glazed Salmon
You will need:
- 2- 7 ounce filets of salmon
- ½ cup of maple syrup
- 2 tbsp. butter to oil 8×8 pyrex dish
- ½ tsp. oregano
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- ½ tsp. onion powder
- 2 sprigs of green onion (diced)
- red, yellow, orange bell peppers
- red onion
- Prepare your pyrex dish with a small amount of butter and preheat oven to 425ºF
- In a small bowl whisk together ½ cup of maple syrup, oregano, garlic powder & onion powder
- Dip salmon in mixture & place in prepared pan, and pour excess over salmon
- Top salmon with diced green onion
- (If using peppers & onion)
Organize peppers in an alternating pattern of onion & bell pepper over the salmon.
- Bake salmon for 20-25 minutes
- Remove salmon & flip onto plate with peppers & onions underneath
Ask the Cook is an 8-week segment by AbbyLee Cook. Abby has a diploma in Nutrition and Foodservice Management from the College of the North Atlantic and is currently in her third year studying Applied Management in Hospitality and Tourism. She is a trained cook who has worked under award-winning chefs in St John’s, Newfoundland. Abby has a passion for cooking and baking and enjoys educating her peers and younger generations about food and tourism. She also does custom-order baking in her free time. Any suggestions or questions relating to the culinary world can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this article said Burns was a UNB Fredericton student. He is a UNB Saint John student.