At the age of 29, Jennifer Wall has already accomplished many things during her impressive culinary career. She works as co-owner of the popular Supply and Demand, recently opened in the heart of Wellington Village's bustling restaurant row, but perhaps her most remarkable feat is the fine art of juggling! Between her roles as a restaurateur and mother to four-year-old Kinley, the vibrant young woman is an inspiring example of today's working mom.
Have you always worked in the restaurant business? I started out in high school peeling potatoes at a diner in Florenceville (NB), then attended Algonquin's culinary program and have never looked back. I met my husband Steven (co-owner and Chef of Supply and Demand) when we first worked together, and when I realized he was "the one," I knew that our life together would be all about making choices. It's essential for couples in this business.
Were you able to enjoy some time at home with your baby? I didn't go back to work until Kinley was 19 months old. I worked Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights at town and we had great sitters. I really felt like having those weekdays at home with Kinley made things saner for our whole family.
Running your own restaurant must mean a huge time commitment. It sure does. Kinley spends two full days a week in preschool and then she is with me. She has come to view Supply and Demand as a second home. She packs a bag with books, toys, videos, slippers and a stuffed animal. She loves just being amid all the action or out running errands with me. We make sure she has special time here every day with Steven, and she usually has staff dinner with us and the whole crew before either her babysitter or I take her home for bedtime.
What makes it all worthwhile? We get to do what we love and Kinley can be a part of it. We want the business to do well, but more important to us is doing something that makes our daughter proud of our hard work. Equally important is showing people that we can run a restaurant that values and respects employees, plus takes care of them in terms of benefits and outside training.
What about the downside? I experience my share of guilt. I guess it's inevitable when you have so many balls in the air that a few are going to get dropped, and I am learning to be OK with that. When I see how happy and easy-going Kinley is, I realize that everything's probably fine and this lifestyle is likely making her more resilient!
Do you ever imagine a different life? No. This is the life I gladly chose. I love going the extra mile to delight customers. There are lots of moments of joy for me at work, and just as many - or more - moments of joy with our daughter. I truly believe that being happy at work enables me to be happy at home.