Our Story

 

     Chef Mike Speer started out in the music industry and like all musicians he needed a job that paid actual money.  That’s the means to the end.  Working in kitchen after kitchen, restaurant after restaurant just to pay the bills in order to pursue his musical dreams, cooking eventually became his passion.  Fortunately for Chef Mike, he grew up in a foodie household.   His father, a papered chef in the 70’s, liked to spend time with his family around the stove which introduced Mike to culinary techniques and high end dishes at an early age.  “I knew how to make a béchamel sauce at age 6 because that’s how my dad made broccoli taste so good.”  After several years travelling coast to coast in Canada with his band he decided it was time to take cooking seriously and attended culinary school.  He effortlessly graduated at the top of his class due to the extensive 20+ years’ experience in the restaurant industry and landed his first executive chef job only 2 months after graduation.  He spent 3 amazing years running the food and beverage program at Hidden Lake Golf Club in Burlington before deciding it was time to take the next major step in his career of owning and operating a food truck.  Chef Mike brings culinary tastes and experiences from some of the best local restaurants in the area like the fine dining of renowned Blacktree Restaurant and Burlington’s hot spot Spencer’s at the Waterfront.  As well, Chef Mike has had the opportunity of working under celebrity chef David Adjay, formerly of Restaurant Makeover, at Brassai, a trendy downtown Toronto destination.   Since then Mike has spent his days pursuing what it is that people desire most when it comes to food and making sure he nails it every time with the best and freshest local ingredients.


     Sous Chef and business partner Morgan Smith (aka: Moe) has been long time close friends with Mike ever since they first met when they both attended the Vancouver Island University Jazz program.  Morgan, much the same as Mike, spent his early years working in kitchens to facilitate being a musician.  Working his way up the ranks at some of the best and busiest local pubs and grills Morgan quickly developed a love for food and the food business.  “One day you show up for work and 2 guys just quit, next thing you know you’ve just been moved up the ranks and have to work a new station with a new menu.. Trial by fire, that’s the kitchen world.”  Morgan’s early love for food as well as his unrelenting penchant for being a great host comes from his mother.  Morgan’s mom has the recipes we all want and the skill to make it perfect every time.  Morgan’s desire for the new and undiscovered in food gives him the courage to try anything and everything.  He brings this outside-the-box approach to the menu creations of 494 which has become an important factor in the quest to keep reaching for the next new and exciting dish.