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It’s been several years since I first met Tammy Brideau, the executive director of Food and Beverage Atlantic, a sommelier and all around foodie, and we’ve become fast friends. This woman is a culinary powerhouse. Her passion for food and beverages is unmatched and I’m so pleased to share space with her here.

Tammy Brideau’s journey within the food and beverage industry started in 1996 while working at a fine dining French restaurant in Bathurst, NB where she found herself inspired about different ingredients, flavour combinations, wine and scotch. From there Tammy went on to work in a Greek restaurant in Nigadoo, NB. This was the first time she was exposed to a different culture and its flavour profiles, which sparked her interest even more.

At this point, Tammy’s goal was to open a restaurant and she felt she might fare better in a bigger city, so she moved to Moncton. There she returned to school at CCNB to take a program in management of small and medium business. She did a mentorship with Group Culinaire, which is owned by Gilles Ratte. The company is an umbrella of many different restaurants, including Mediterranean, Italian, French cafés and more. Gilles was a great mentor and Tammy learned a lot under his guidance.

“What I didn’t know at the time was that many of my family members did own restaurants, loved to cook and were entrepreneurs. Turns out that it runs in the family.”

Tammy managed two restaurants and wanted to get a better vocabulary and understanding about wine so the next logical step (and a career highlights) was to obtain her sommelier designation in 2006. After a few years, Tammy realized it was a very demanding career with long hours and she felt it was time to move on from her dream of owning a restaurant. From there, Tammy’s work spanned various roles in the food and beverage, hospitality and tourism sectors. Having the sommelier course allowed her to become the first product advisor at Alcool NB Liquor and then she moved on to be a district manager at Atlantic Wines and Spirits and other wine distributors.

“Over the past 20 years my entrepreneurial, creative and local driven
spirit drove me to develop experiential activities, specifically creating food-
focused festivals and running a business for food and adventure tours. I got the amazing opportunity to be the executive director of the Shediac Lobster Festival and also created Ocean Festive Festival, ChocoLoco Festival and a food tour company called Taste This.” 

Tammy is also passionate about helping entrepreneurs attain their goals by always being there to lend a helping hand. She feels that is her strength and she also truly believes we should create more partnership and work together to accomplish things… everyone has certain strengths that makes a team a bigger force.

Her passion for both cooking and eating has led to her philosophy to try everything once, even worms and grasshoppers when visiting Asia. She also loves travelling to discover the different cultures in Atlantic Canada, Canada and the world, sharing new gems and success stories in our regions. People frequently reach out to her for suggestions of wine and places to eat and visit. 

By 2019, her love for food, wine and travel played a part in helping her find her way to the executive director role with Food & Beverage Atlantic. She says, “My passion for travel is always around food and beverage discovery. What new local restaurant can I try? What new winery/brewery/distillery/cidery can I visit? We are so lucky to be in Atlantic Canada, we have so much to offer.”

Tammy continues, “Since joining the FBA team, I enjoy every opportunity to meet local food and beverage companies all over Atlantic Canada, and learning about the hundreds of incredible and unique products we produce in our region.

“It’s very common to see me travelling around beautiful Atlantic Canada, eating and drinking amazing local product along the way, and always enthusiastically promoting our local food & beverage businesses.”

“My goal is to walk the talk. I just got married and I had my caterer go through our list of Food and Beverage members and do a menu focused on eight places we travelled to together by incorporating local products…it was a success, over 20 local food and beverage producers were highlighted and that makes my heart happy.”

When she isn’t working, Tammy’s favourite thing to do is, not surprisingly, cooking. She is frequently asked what her favourite food or wine is, and says, “It all depends on time of year, how I feel, what is left in the fridge that I can be creative with, etc. I rarely follow a recipe, but I do get inspired by them. I had to start writing what I was putting in recipes so I could do it again, since most of the time I wing it.

Of her friendship with me, Tammy says, “When I first met Alain, I was taken by his high energy and love for life with his funky glasses and kilt. A friend introduced us and I quickly realized he is an entertainer and amazing chef. He makes people comfortable and part of his world. We stayed in touch and when we were working together at the Shediac Lobster Festival, he understood my vision of bringing more of a local flair to the festival and bam, we did it. We then worked together at FBA (Food and Beveridge Atlantic) and the rest is history. A friend for life! We connected right away with food and he is like a big brother to me.”

Asked about what else Tammy is interested in tackling, she says, “I would love to take a culinary course to improve my culinary skills; nothing specific but overall.”

Tammy’s Hot Honey Beer Bread Yield 1 loaf

3 cups (750 mL) sifted flour
1 tbsp (15 mL)  baking powder
¼ cup (50 mL)  honey or hot
1 x 12 oz (355 mL)  can local beer
¼ cup butter cut into slices for topping

Mix flour, baking powder, honey and beer together. It will look super thick and lumpy, and that’s ok. Pour into 9x5 bread pan lined with parchment paper. Place sliced butter on top of dough and drizzle more honey on top.

Place bread pan on a cookie sheet to avoid drips from the butter and honey. Bake at 375°F (190°C) for 50-55 minutes. Serve with your favourite cheeses, preserves and meats. This bread makes the best grill cheese with caramelized onions and bacon.

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