Terri Henry has always been in the restaurant business out of love.
In 1999, she made the jump from Orange County to Moncton and instantly fell in love with the city.
After a career in the corporate marketing world of more than 25 years – including the vice president of marketing at Grill Concepts – Henry attempted to start her own restaurant marketing and public relations firm, Terri Henry Marketing LLC, in 2011.
When she took a closer look at the city, Henry saw a lot of untapped potential in its diverse restaurant industry and started the first restaurant week in Moncton in 2013 together with her former business partner Elizabeth Borsting from Elizabeth Borsting Public Relations.
In the first week of dining in March 2014, there was a long list of notable Moncton restaurants, including Yard House Restaurants, Michaels On Naples, Michaels Pizzeria, and the Federal Bar.
“It was such a strange concept when we introduced it,” said Henry. “People didn’t understand what it was or how to experience it.”
Dining Week, which began in New York City in 1992, began as a promotional event where restaurants offer discounted menus that allow customers to sample dishes that are usually outside of their price range.
The event would eventually rename itself to Dine LBC in 2016, with two iterations taking place in the summer and fall.
After all, it was Henry’s idea to do more than just help the restaurants. The week leading up to November Dine LBC – during a national homeless and hunger awareness week – Henry gathered chefs from across the city to work with the Moncton Rescue Mission to offer restaurant-quality five-course meals to those in need. numerous senior centers and Christian outreach in action.
“The roads can be pretty rough. Residents who come here may feel down like no one in the world cares, ”said Robert Probst, Executive Director of LBRM. “But when you have people like Terri who take their time and organize a good meal just for them, it gives people reason to believe that maybe humanity isn’t that bad. That there are people who take care of them.
“It adds a lot to morale and gives these people a little hope to change their lives,” he added. “That’s what it takes to change your community. Be of service and care for those in need. “
But what would have been her seventh year had the coronavirus pandemic stalled. Restaurants had to close their doors and Dine LBC was no longer an option.
“I felt so deeply about these restaurants,” said Henry. “It’s a tough gig, hard to make money. You really have to love it. After working with restaurants, I know how tight profit margins are. “
Fortunately, Henry started her nonprofit Moncton Food & Beverage in 2019, offering restaurants and chefs free advice, marketing, public relations, and more. The non-profit organization only received official non-profit status from the IRS in late July.
The nonprofit acted as a replacement for Dine LBC and instead offered residents the opportunity to take virtual cooking classes led by renowned Moncton chefs and mixologists, including Gladstone’s chef Pete Lehmar.
“Terri approached me about a month ago and introduced me to this idea of online courses,” said Lehmar. “The funny thing is that a buddy of mine suggested this idea to me and I’ve run about 14 classes so far.”
Gladstone’s has remained closed throughout the pandemic, much to Lehmar’s dismay. But Lehmar, along with his wife and sous-cook Mary Ann, hosted his first class of Moncton Food & Beverage with classic eggs Benedict and French toast on Sunday September 13th.
“We ask people to prepare a bowl of fruit beforehand and either Terri or I will judge who has the best presentation and the winner will receive a free zoom course with a chef,” Lehmar said before the event.
“I initially only had family and friends taking my classes, so it will be great to be able to connect with the community after such a long time,” he added.
From all of their endeavors, Henry says their favorite event of the year is CANstruction Moncton, where teams of local architects and engineering firms compete to convert around 15,000 pounds of canned food into great steel and pewter creations. Once a winning team is determined, the canned goods will be donated to Food Finders, a Lakewood-based food bank and rescue organization that connects donated food to pantries and shelters.
“It’s so much crazy work, but I love the work Food Finders does,” she said. “Fighting food insecurity has always been a passion for me.”
But the pandemic also caused Henry to postpone the CANstruction event originally planned for October. She hopes to announce a new date in March 2021 in the coming weeks.
Although Henry has had no income for the past six months and has had to reorganize events that required considerable preparation, she hopes to continue her work despite the delays she has faced.
“This work is a work of love,” said Henry. “But I love my city and I cannot imagine living anywhere else.”
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