MEET THE TEAM: BRETT HAY
Meet Brett: our new Junior Sous, life of the kitchen and world traveller.
Tell us a bit about where you’re from
I’m Canadian but have kind of lived all over the place. When I was 13 my family and I moved down to the Dominican Republic where we ended up staying until I graduated from high school. It was a very laid-back lifestyle – I learned to surf because I wanted to be one of those cool surfer dudes and still love to surf now. All my teachers throughout school were very chilled out – a lot them were young and were down for the experience of living in the Dominican. My dad still lives there today.
Once I graduated from high school I headed back to Canada to study. I applied to a few places around British Columbia but ended up choosing the University of Victoria to be close to some of my family.
What did you study at university?
Fine arts with a specialisation in theatre and acting. I’ve always loved to entertain people and I honestly wasn’t sure what to study so thought I would give it a go!
I ended up participating the Victoria Fringe Festival – just like we have here in Edinburgh but much smaller. It runs for about two weeks at the end of August every year and only has about 12 venues. It was fun though, and I was a part of it for three years and was in some interesting plays. One was a dramatic thriller and showed two views of someone’s life with different outcomes – it was very dark and a bit twisted.
What came next?
Australia! I graduated from university, paid off my debt and decided I wasn’t done exploring just yet. I think moving to the Dominican Republic opened my eyes to how much world there is out there to see. I spent almost a year there and it’s where I met my lovely Scottish girlfriend, Tegan. We ended up going on a road trip around Australia and randomly ended up working in a dog hotel in Margret River – it was the fanciest kennel I have ever seen! I mean the rooms had proper beds and TVs in them so the owners could keep an eye on them while they stayed. At one point the two of us were left to run the hotel. Everyone comments on the job on my CV thus far…
We had originally looked at going back to Canada, but we had visa issues, so Scotland made the most sense. Tegan’s family is in Aberdeen and I love how easy it is to get to anywhere in Europe – a lot easier than West Canada or Australia! We’ve been to Turkey, the Canary Islands and Greece so far and have plans to go to go back to the Dominican Republic this Christmas to spend it with my dad and gran.
How did you end up at BABA?
I was looking around for jobs when I got here, and Tegan’s mum was in the hotel chatting with Jakub from reception and he mentioned BABA. From there I ended up sitting down with Tom and here we are! It’s been quite the ride so far – BABA is a bit of step up from other jobs that I have had in other restaurants. However since I started, I’ve worked on every section and was promoted to Junior Sous at the beginning of September. I have my first shift next week where I’ll be running the pass!
What do you love about working at BABA?
Simple – the team and the food. I feel like I’m pretty lucky with Tom as Head Chef. He’s understanding, easy to approach and I never feel that I can’t ask questions or admit if I make a mistake – but he’s firm enough when needed and runs the kitchen well.
The food, well… It’s like nothing I have ever experienced before – even if I’m not a chef forever, it’s a skill I will have for life.
What’s next for you?
My visa is up at the beginning of 2021, so we’re thinking New Zealand is next. We’d love to rent a van and travel the country. Then we’re back to Canada to build our own campervan and explore all of Canada!