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Above: 15 years after arriving in Canada, chef Jérôme Ferrer is at the helm of a food empire. Right: Zahra Al-Harazi, a survivor of two civil wars, eventually cofounded a million- dollar design studio


community. “To drive entrepreneurship, I mentor young entre- preneurs who can meet, attend conferences, exchange ideas and conduct business in designated areas in some of our stores. These hubs are essential in a world where we live internationally and consume locally,” he says.


Jérôme Ferrer: chef “I traded in the blue of the Mediterranean for the blue of Quebec,” says Jérôme Ferrer, a native of southern France and one of the world’s most respected chefs. His story is inextricably linked to that of Ludovic Delonca and Patrice De Felice, his fellow countrymen and long-time partners, with whom he settled in Montreal in 2001, penniless but with a head full of dreams. Fifteen years later, the trio is at the helm of a food empire worth tens of millions of dollars and that has between 200 and 300 employees. No one could have predicted such


success — certainly not these newcomers. Victims of a financial embezzlement that robbed them of the proceeds from the sale of their restaurant in France, they toiled at odd jobs in Montreal day and night for months to raise the capital needed to open their own restaurant, Europea. “We barely had enough money to pay two months’ rent,” says Ferrer. “We wanted to come back with a vengeance. As an immigrant, I had lost all my bearings. I had to relearn everything in record time, from cultural patterns to the health care and tax systems. Fortunately, the tax system here is far less daunting and complex than the one in France,” adds Ferrer, who was named Grand Chef by Relais & Châteaux hotels and gourmet restaurants in 2011. After “three years of suffering and hard work,” Europea


received numerous distinctions before becoming a member of Les Grandes Tables du Monde — an association of 170 fine restaurants on five continents — in 2013 and then ranking


JUNE/JULY 2016 | CPA MAGAZINE | 35


Gordon Hawkins/KlixPix


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