Chef Spotlight: Heather Mauke, Executive Chef, Pepperwood Bistro Brewery & Catering
What inspired you to start cooking?
I have always been inspired by the joy and love you can share with a dish. Cooking with my family was the beginning of my career.
When & where did you start?
I started out like a lot of chefs, landing a high school co-op position. It was at Paradiso Restaurant in Oakville, where I worked for 10+ years. I learned so much!
What’s the first thing you learned to cook really well?
The first thing I learned to cook really well was probably Bolognese sauce
What is your favourite thing to cook?
My favourite thing to cook is Gnocchi Bolognese. Gnocchi from scratch and the sauce slow cooked (also one of my favourite dishes to eat!)
Who is your greatest culinary inspiration?
I’ve had the pleasure of working with so many amazing chefs in my life. All who have given me so much knowledge! None of them are famous but all of them are amazing! A shout out to my husband Erik Mauke who inspires me every day; Tim Everett for the beginnings and Andrea Mac for being one of the brightest!
What did you have for breakfast today?
I had apple juice, I’m not much of a breakfast person.
What is the best meal you have ever had? And what about the worst?
I ate the most beautiful Pork Chops, while on vacation in Italy… seriously I cried eating them.
The worst meal I ever had, is tough…. but I was once served a rotten beef dip, which was terrible!
If you have a day off, do you cook at home?
Depends on the day off, but the best is when someone will cook for me!
Burlington restaurant you haven’t tried yet, but want to!?
I’d like to eat at Rust, or also Son of a Peach! I’ve heard great things about both
What’s the biggest piece of advice you can give a young, aspiring chef?
The best piece advice for any young chef would be to stay positive, stay humble and work hard to learn every day!
If you could cook for anyone, past or present, who would it be for and what would you make?
If I could cook for anyone I’d cook for my dad. I really miss him. I’d make our special meatballs. We are the only two in our family that loved them!
Other comments or Career highlights:
The best part about the restaurant industry is building a second family! Chef life isn’t easy but if you find a place that feels like home, you’ve struck gold! Hold onto it!