Staff Spotlight: Drake Dev F+B Manager Jordan Malka

Posted by Drake, August 26, 2015

We had the opportunity to sit down with Drake Devonshire’s newest Food + Beverage Manager Jordan Malka, who joins the management team at our Prince Edward County outpost. We chatted with Jordan about on his passion for connecting community to food and becoming a part of the Drake team!

Ok let’s start from the very beginning. How + when did you find your way into the restaurant industry and how has that career grown over the years?
Born and raised in Toronto, I basically grew up on a rolling rack as a kid… my family was in the clothing industry. Funny enough I got into the restaurant industry because my high school went on strike when I was 18. And like most moms, mine wanted me to find a job and not make the strike an opportunity to sit around all day. So at 18 I got a job as a bartender; and yes it was legal, I had my smart serve. It was a little bit of a rough start if you could image, but I grew comfortable with the job and continued working there until I was done high school.

Bartending on a school night must have been a little rough…?
Ya it was… I didn’t get much sleep during that time but I enjoyed bartending so I didn’t mind.

Where did life take you after high school?
After high school I moved to Halifax to attend university. I also continued to work in the restaurant industry for the four years I was there completing my undergrad; at Chives + Seven Wine Bar. My experience working at Chives, a premium restaurant in Halifax, was great. I had the opportunity to form close relationships with the chefs and learn to appreciate the connection between community + local food.

What were the biggest differences between the Toronto + Halifax restaurant industries?
The demands and practices are actually the same, perhaps just on a smaller scale. Throughout my experiences I have learned one thing; if a restaurant embraces the connection between community + food, they will keep their satisfied guests coming back. However, there is a bit of a cultural shift between Toronto and the East Coast which slightly changes the food.

Jordan (2)

Jordan's Photography:

Let's guess, the freshest seafood you have ever had?
Yes, the seafood is amazing but also butter! The East Coast, and including Halifax, have a love of butter and add it anywhere + everywhere they can.

After you graduated university did you continue to pursue a career in the industry?
After I graduated I moved back to Toronto; it was actually around the same time Jeff Stober was opening the Drake Hotel because I remember the excitement around it. I ended up returning to the same restaurant I worked at during high school in the midst of their own expansion of opening a second restaurant. I learned a lot during that process as I had the opportunity to work closely with the owner and help build it from the ground up. My vision for the restaurant was a local destination for Italian comfort cuisine with a casual, familiar feel. After working for the company for so many years I am proud of the community we built together + what still stands today.

Flash forward a short period of time and you find yourself the F+B Manager of Drake Devonshire + the newest member of the Drake fam! Tell us about that.
For a while now, my wife and I have contemplated picking up our city life and moving to Prince Edward County, an area we quickly fell in love with after our first visit a few years back. The idea of owning a bit of property and enjoying some time outside of the city had been in the back of our minds but it wasn’t until about a month ago that the opportunity kind of jumped out at me. My wife and I met Drake Devonshire’s Chef Matt DeMille while visiting recently through some friends and we became familiar with each other very easily. It seems it went off from there really; once Matt put the idea in my ear that I should apply for the F+B Manager position at the Drake Dev I just couldn’t resist. Within the month I applied for the job, came to the Drake HQ to meet the rest of the team and now I’m here!

Jordan (3)

Jordan's Photography:

What are you looking forward to most working at the Drake Dev?
I’m excited to be working with a small, dedicated team that I already feel so comfortable and familiar with. I think working with Elisha Borud, Randall Reashore, Matt DeMille and the rest of the culinary and service teams will be great; we all share a similar vision of where we see Drake Dev’s future and we can build on that as a collective. Prince Edward County is such an amazing area to grow a relationship with the community of diners + local food growers alike; an approach to the restaurant industry that I’m passionate about as I mentioned before. I’m also excited for the new challenges, responsibilities + learning curves that will come with the position; the Dev is in its infancy and I have the opportunity to grow a lasting impressions with it.

TO to PEC…are you exited for the big move?!
I’m very excited! I looking forward to owning some property and starting something new. Prince Edward County is a rapidly growing community that has an amazing art scene and some of the best restaurant that take advantage of the fresh + locally grown food. As a kid, I spent my summers with family who owned a farm gardening and grew to love it; I’m looking forward to having a space so I can get back into it. I also really enjoy outdoor sports + activities and want to try a few new ones like cross-country skiing. I plan on dragging taking the Drake Dev team out with me to try it, they can think of it as a team building exercise!

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