Service with style – Montreal Paralympian savours new career


MONTREAL – Ever since he can remember, Paralympic swimmer Brian Hill has been enchanted by food. Of course, everyone needs to eat to survive, but for Hill he learned that food was more than sitting at a table to refuel for the next few hours.

It is a conduit for creation, celebration, learning and sharing.

That passion has translated into a unique new business for Hill and his partner Karine Thomas, a member of the Canadian synchronized swimming national team.

Chef @ Maison ( is a service that provides groups – whether families, companies or just friendly get-togethers – a unique dining experience in their own homes.

As the company title indicates, Hill and Thomas go beyond regular catering. They produce and deliver a seven-to-eight course meal. Those dishes can include smoked scallop with cured lime ceviche and braised leeks with goat cheese parfait. In addition, the service includes the pair detailing the background for every course and its ingredients.

“It really adds to those special occasions such as anniversaries and gatherings,” said Hill, who puts a focus on homegrown and local produce in his recipes. “And we feel if we can gain the trust of our clients that they will want a service like this for those special moments.”

As international athletes, Hill and Thomas have travelled around the world and gained inspiration not only from the various cuisines but how people celebrate food in other countries. Hill was a member of Canada’s Paralympic swimming team and competed at four Paralympic Games, earning three medals.

“This whole philosophy of sharing food is something we’ve seen in many countries,” said Hill. “It’s kind of gotten away from us in North America so that’s what we are trying to bring to people here as well.”

Hill describes his dishes as a modern approach to familiar foods. They are prepared using a mix of modern and traditional techniques.

“It’s been going really well so far, and everyone just loves the experience. If they are curious and want more information on their food they can receive that. We show people a side of cooking they may not have seen before. It recreates the experience of a high-end restaurant in their own home.”

Hill is doing his culinary internship at Maison Publique in Montreal, regarded among Canada’s top restaurants under renowned head chef Derek Demmann.

Anyone who has ever worked in a restaurant or watched the countless food shows on TV knows the culinary business can be merciless. Hill says their careers as international athletes have been instrumental providing him and Thomas with the discipline and dedication to pursue their goals to the highest levels.

“In both high performance sports and the food business you are challenged all the time and there is a lot of pressure,” said Hill. “Karine and I understand the drive and determination that’s needed to excel. You do what it takes, no matter how long.

“It’s ingrained in us.”

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Twitter: @chefatmaison

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