The secret ingredient to all food that Chef Gilles Haché prepares is as much a spiritual one as it is culinary. “Connecting with people… when you really connect with people, that’s what is special,” he said.
Gilles is the youngest of 17 children of a French family of Acadian descendant, in which gathering around the table for meals was central to everyday life. “Gathering around the table to share a meal, making people happy, that is my trademark. Food is central to my life today as it was then. I try every day to give back the love, compassion, tenderness, and kindness that was special to me growing up.
“We did not have television till I was ten years old, no phone till I was 14. My mother would bake bread, sometimes 20 loaves at a time, twice a week, and pies, and there was always food for visitors.”
Gilles is a professional chef whose culinary skills are in growing demand in the area. He is the owner/host of the Auberge Gilles Bed and Breakfast in Eugenia. And he has been instrumental in the Christ Church Anglican Outreach program that has offered monthly dinners for the past year and a half, and weekly breakfasts since December. Moreover he holds a degree in theology and is completing studies toward a Licence in Theology.
The Christ Church Anglican Outreach program was presented the special merit award for exceptional effort within the community by a volunteer organization during the Meaford Chamber of Commerce 2019 Community Awards, on Saturday, March 30.
“The Anglican Church is blooming,” he said. “It is an open door for everyone and everyone is welcome at the table. I want to practise my faith within the the Anglican Church as a priest for special ministry. It is extremely important for me to be involved in the community in which I live. As a priest, I would work in a specific area such as chaplaincy, education, or social justice; or work with the poor and sick, helping out wherever needed.”
Gilles is proud of the Christ Church Anglican’s Outreach breakfast and dinner programs. He is aware of the attention it has garnered in the community and among area churches. “We (the Outreach team of volunteers) believe we can make a difference,” he said. “I take time to go to each table to greet people. I know the difference we are making.
“We are really reaching out to people, leaving everyone with a sense of how important they are. No judgment. No questions asked.”
Food served up with love, tenderness, and compassion is a pastoral commitment that Gilles believes could be practised widely. “There is no reason, I believe, that restaurants and other groups could not offer meals free of charge or by donation. If I was in the restaurant business, I would challenge other restaurants to offer outreach meals once a week. I am ready to lend my input.”
Photo: Professional Chef Gilles Haché in the kitchen of Auberge Gilles Bed and Breakfast in Eugenia. Gilles's presence in the area extends beyond his Chef At Home and catering services to include an outreach breakfast and dinner program that he and a team of volunteers offer at the Christ Church Anglican in Meaford. The outreach program was presented the special merit award for exceptional effort within the community by a volunteer organization, during the Meaford Chamber of Commerce 2019 Community Awards, on Saturday, March 30.