It all started when I took a photography class in grade 10. An excited feeling washed over me as we were driving downtown Kitchener to pick out my very first camera. It was a Minolta X 7000 manual. My life was changed. Everything was a moment, and each frame filled with new subject matter. That’s when I learned an appreciation for photography.

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Minolta X-7000 Manual

Quickly this hobby became part of my everyday life.

The first thing I packed for every trip was my camera and gear.

I later developed a pop-up business where I sold my art, photography, jewellery and cards at local markets.

Being raised from a half Polish and half Guyanese background, food was always the essence of my family upbringing.  Meals were extravagant and no one ever hosted a dinner that left hungry bellies.

Due to the diversity I was exposed to, my range of flavour profiles and ethnic seasonings, shaped the way I cooked and enjoyed food from an early age.

I have always loved to partake in every aspect of the dining experience. This interest fueled a growing curiosity about the restaurant industry that could only be quenched by diving in.

In my early days I managed a Dairy Queen that taught me many useful tips in quick service. Then after a few retails jobs, I decided to try something totally new, by serving at Cora Breakfast and Lunch. In my time working there I had the privilege to be trained very closely with industry leaders (and brothers), Rob and Tony Theodosiou.

After a brief hiatus from Cora, I decided to expand my beer and beverage service knowledge by working at . There I fell in love with beer. The idea of pairing food with beer excited me and I excelled in suggesting these pairing to guests. The possibilities were endless.

For one reason or another I still found I was craving more.

Then, out of the blue,  my good friend and colleague,  Andrew Beckford, of  suggested I apply at a new place opening in 2014 called , where he was to be Executive Chef. I jumped on this opportunity. There I learned the idea behind using craft ingredients. Proof’s extensive wine, cocktail and beer offerings paired with their astute menu was just what I had been searching for.

I quickly learned everything that was encompassed in a full service dining experience.

Opening proof was an experience that I was so fortunate to have and still fondly remember. During my few months there, something started brewing…quite literally. My years of friendship with Rob and Tony Theodosiou brought me a chance I could not deny. The Theodosiou brothers offered me the opportunity to Manage at their new brewery, restaurant and beer shop, Abe Erb.

Named after the Founder of Waterloo, Abraham Erb, who created Kitchener-Waterloo in 1857, Abe Erb encompasses a “time before technology saturated the earth”; when things were done the old fashion way with “blood, sweat and beers”. Being born and raised here, I identified with this aspect of the new-concept brewery.

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Ashileena Nabbi – Abe Erb Uptown Waterloo

Currently the General Manager at  Uptown Waterloo, but deep down I’m just a foodie and lover of all things beer!

My passion for food, beverage and the overall dining experience, is what drives me.

I’ve worked in many industries over the years but have finally found where I belong, the service industry. Creating great guest interactions, in the end, is what drives any business. I hope you find these tips help you in your conquest to create the perfect dining experience!