Nicolette Novak – Your Hostess
Nicolette goes out of her way to make certain that your visit to The Good Earth is truly exceptional. No detail is too small nor request too outrageous to be given due consideration.
A lifelong native of Niagara, Ontario, Nicolette is one of the area's best resources. She always has one ear to the grapevine to uncover what's new and exciting in the community. Her enthusiasm and passion for what she does has earned her many well deserved accolades as well as many fans among her vast clientele. Time spent with Nicolette is time well spent.
As many people over the years have observed, Nicolette is The Good Earth! Her wit, sense of fun and genuine caring are just some of the ingredients that have made The Good Earth such a success.
Therese De Grace – Executive Chef
Although she was trained in Toronto, Therese (pronounced like Charisse, in Cyd Charisse) was "schooled" in Europe at a Michelin Star Hotel. The time she spent working and traveling in Europe shaped the foundation of her cooking style and her work ethic. Returning from the metropolitan cities of Europe, Therese found Toronto suddenly felt like a town – a collection of wonderfully ethnic neighbourhoods butting up against each other flaunting their cultural heritage and cuisine. It was within these multicultural communities that she discovered her true culinary inspiration and style. She found herself moving away from her classical roots in French cuisine, these exotic spices and simple applications showcased ingredients in new and exciting ways. The food was the focus not the technique.
Therese has long been a fan of the Niagara region with its the built-in connection to the food and the environment in which it grows. She calls it a wonderland, so close yet worlds away from Toronto's concrete jungle. Hailing from generations of Italian farmers, is it any wonder? Her earliest memories centre around her Nonna's kitchen and her Nonno's fresh produce. "They are the inspiration behind my love of food and my appreciation for simple ingredients that are composed well."
She comes to us blessed with a diverse practical education where she worked with some awesome chefs – as she says: some famous, some not so famous and some whose fame should only be in their head. Yes, Therese is Good Earth material through and through… and her cooking skills and finesse bring a new dimension to The Good Earth's Bistro, cooking school and events.
Kara Wille – Official Wine Wench
Kara loves to describe herself one of nature's gluttons, she claims to never stop thinking about food, wine and all the good things that exist to be consumed. After spending 15 years in the not-for-profit arts sector, raising money for organizations like the TSO, Opera Hamilton, Brott Music Festival and Soundstreams, Kara listened to her true calling, got out of fundraising and wriggled herself into something of more interest to her gustatory system. A long-time fan of The Good Earth, she joined the team as a part-time weekend wine-wench in June 2011 and quickly made herself at home. Now, we simply can't get rid of her.
That's why she is now our full-time wine wench, Kara happily spends her days talking to good people about good wine, often somewhat cheekily – "Real Men Drink Pink!" is a favourite catchphrase of hers when cajoling men into trying the Rosé. She loves a good Riesling, is a champion of Ontario Pinot Noir, and is slowly coming around to Chardonnay. If you visit with her at The Good Earth, she promises to never make you drink a wine you won't like, but she will ask you to try everything.
Mike McColl – Pit Boss
Where there is smoke, there's fire and you can count on it being tended by our own Pit Boss, Mike, stoking the coals! If you can light a fire in, on it or under it, Mike will find a way to churn out deliciously simple dishes from it.
On the road to his passion for fire, Mike cooked his way through Germany and Spain working with Michelin Star Chefs and soaking in all the uncomplicated, yet fine, local cuisines. He worked with Michael Olson at Inn On the Twenty and spent 2 years slinging lobsters, crabs and deep sea creatures, at Toronto's Rodney's Oyster House. Then comes the smoke, the fire and the flare. 6 years of experience with Celebrity Chef and Cookbook author Chef Ted Reader had Mike cooking and eating his way around North America from rib joint to burger shack, in search of the perfect spice rub, the perfect smoke ring or the wackiest side dish.
When Mike is not sending smoke signals from the Good Earth kitchens and gardens, you will find him either at his own food company "General Chefery" or behind the camera capturing his kitchen colleagues in action. To date, Mike has shot 6 cookbooks, including The Good Earth's own fabulous cookbook "The Good Book".
Mike brings his fearless food fanaticism to The Good Earth Team and we look forward to another year of incendiary culinary chaos with our Pit Boss.