Emily MekoWhere did you grow up? 

Chatham.

What was your first job? 

Expeditor and salad bar cook at The Lighthouse Inn in Light House Cove.  I worked there because my family stayed at our Cottage in Lighthouse Cove every summer, but I was surprised to find how much I enjoyed the fun and energetic kitchen environment.

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? 

Going to the barn with my giant dog to ride my giant horse (and no, I never get confused about which one is which).

What is your favourite season? 

Spring.  It means winter is leaving and summer is coming. 

What did you do after high school? 

I went to University of Guelph to study Applied Human Nutrition. After my first year I returned to Chatham and started Eat What’s Good as a fun summer project that has grown steadily over the years with the support of the community. In my final two years of university, Eat What’s Good operated as my full time summer job.  After graduating with my BASc., and a certificate of Food Science I decided to pursue culinary training at George Brown College in Toronto.  Living in downtown Toronto for a year was a culinary education in itself.  With both my culinary and nutrition background, I returned to Chatham in 2014 to renovate and open the Eat What’s Good store front at 67 St. Clair Street.

What are you doing now? 

My days are spent operating Eat What’s Good.  You can find me in the kitchen most hours of the day, most days of the week.  It’s a fun job that provides new challenges every day.  Recipe development and testing, customer service, food styling and photography—there’s always lots of exciting things to work on at Eat What’s Good.  I’m always there, except for when I’m not, and that usually means I’m off with the dog or horse somewhere.

Name an experience that has positively motivated you.  

All nutrition and hospitality students at Guelph had to take a Restaurant Operations course that entailed working as a team to manage PJ’s Restaurant in the Atrium.  PJ’s is a student run restaurant on campus.  Students take turns managing the restaurant, working as cooks, servers, and dish washers.  Every team gets their own big day where they run the restaurant and direct their peers as staff.  The leading team names their restaurant, develops its concept, designs the menu, markets the event, and finally executes the long awaited day. Students feared or loved the course.  I was one of the latter.

Why did you come back to Chatham-Kent? 

I grew up in Chatham and my entire family is here. I had observed overwhelming support for Eat What’s Good these past few years and I wanted to bring Eat What’s Good back to CK. I see a growing community of health conscious people in Chatham-Kent with limited options for healthy take-out food. It posed a great opportunity. The abundance of locally produced food here, and possibilities for partnerships with local organic farms, such as River Bell Farms in Dresden, were also attractive for the type of food we prepare here

Why live in Chatham-Kent?

  • Great people

  • An abundance of locally grown food and growing support for sustainable agriculture

  • Two beautiful lakes on either side of us

  • Opportunity & untapped potential