Our Team


The voices behind “Yes, we can!”

With decades of service dedicated to the food service and hospitality industry, our professional team offers a wealth of talent and expertise for you to draw on when planning your next event.

 

Executive Team

The Team 3

Robert Risley, Chairman

The man who started it all back in 1974. Robert now spends a lot of his time with his wife, Alicia, on their horse farm on the South Shore, leaving operations to his unbelievably capable management team.

The Team 7

Shannon Bruhm, President

Details-man, workaholic, undefeated team captain of staff football and volleyball tournaments. Does hard work pay off? This climber of the corporate ladder began his career with RCR as an Assistant Catering Manager at Pier 22 in 1998, moving to Vice President four years later and to President in 2017. Enough said.

The Team 9

Elizabeth Newman, Vice President of Sales & Marketing

People person, animal-lover and creator of memorable events. Elizabeth has been having fun at RCR since 1994.

Corporate Staff

The Team 25

Ayla Lucey, Sales Manager

Before RCR, Ayla graduated from the Events Coordination & Tourism program at Holland college, and travelled many countries as well as many miles on the floor of the Waterfront Warehouse! Originally from BC, her heart has settled on the Nova Scotian ocean. Lover of food and a good adventure!

The Team 13

Cheryl Moser, Comptroller

Cheryl never thought she’d become a ‘numbers gal’ but she earned her business administration diploma from Dalhousie and worked for 15 years at a local grocery corporation where she watched, listened and learned. Now, after 15 dedicated years with RCR, she says that it’s all become second nature. Good thing, because Cheryl manages the accounting for all of the RCR restaurants, as well as the catering division and the Plaid Place retail store. Some accountants are only busy at tax time; this woman is busy all year!

The Team 12

Pam Carroll, Administration Coordinator

Well-equipped to assist in RCR’s Administration Office, Pam has worked as Assistant Manager at the Victory Arms Pub and as a Manager at the Waterfront Warehouse. She has also served, catered and waved from RCR parade floats. Pam is basically one of the poster children for the RCR Veteran’s Handbook!

The Team 42

Leah Moon, Catering Sales Coordinator

The newest member of the sales team is no stranger to providing the most memorable dining experiences. Originally from Nova Scotia, Leah trained as a chef in Toronto and has spent most of her career to date on superyachts and in private villas all over the world creating the most exciting menus and events for exceptionally discerning clients in all kinds of settings. Leah has returned to Nova Scotia, after seven years in Spain, where she is happy to share her extensive knowledge of food and wine to help clients and guests have the best experiences.

Culinary Staff

The Team 15

Darcey Brown, Chef de Cuisine at Waterfront Warehouse

A proud small-town boy from Wentworth, Nova Scotia, Darcy came to Halifax to pursue an education in Culinary Arts at NSCC. He started with RCR 13 years ago, working at the Lord Nelson Hotel & Suites, Onyx, and now as Chef de Cuisine of Waterfront Warehouse. Beyond his love of preparing seafood dishes for locals and tourists, Darcy appreciates working with local produce and seafood suppliers; and of course, being a dedicated husband and father.

The Team 14

Karen Campbell, Chef de Cuisine for RCR Catering

A native of PEI, Karen graduated from the Culinary Institute in Charlottetown and then spent the next several years working tirelessly in places where most people go to relax (Muskoka’s Cottage Country, Niagara on the Lake). Wanting to be closer to her family, she headed east to Halifax and arrived at CUT Steakhouse. She has proudly and most creatively contributed to the success of CUT and Onyx as Chef de Partie, Sous Chef and Chef de Cuisine. Now, years later, she’s still working tirelessly as Chef de Cuisine for RCR Catering and Offsites!

The Team 2

Umesh Chandra, Executive Sous Chef at the Lord Nelson

Graduating from Culinary School Bangalore in 1986, Umesh spent time with the Taj Hotels & Resorts before immigrating to Canada with his family in 1998—joining Sheraton Halifax and then working as a Banquet Chef in Casino Nova Scotia. Since joining us in 2004, Umesh has become the Executive Sous Chef of our Lord Nelson Hotel and Suites Culinary operation and plays a vital role with the RCR Culinary team.

The Team 17

Erwin Palo, Executive Chef at the Lord Nelson Hotel and RCR Catering

Chef Erwin Palo was born in Angeles City, Philippines. He graduated from Culinary Arts and Technical Management at the Center for Culinary Arts Manila and went on to study BSBA, at Holy Angel University and Emilita W. Galang Culinary Arts Studio.
His education and experience studying under some of the world’s best chefs has led him to such hotels and restaurants as Double Tree by Hilton, The Westin Nova Scotian, The Marriott, Casino Nova Scotia, The Holiday Inn Harbourview and other properties across Asia
Chef Erwin’s passion for creativity and his competitive nature has landed him in some of the most prestigious culinary competitions across Canada and internationally. His accomplishments include: a Bronze medal in 2016 at The IKA Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany, Gold Place Grand Champion in the PEI International Shellfish Chef Challenge held at the Culinary Institute of Canada, two Bronze Medals in 2014 at the CCFCC Toronto Culinary Salon, Atlantic Provinces Chef Provincial Champion in 2011 and 2012 , in 2009 he was a gold medal finisher in the Atlantic Provinces Culinary Salon Team Competition in Saint John’s, Newfoundland, in 2009 he placed silver in Escoffier Culinary Salon at Humber College in Toronto, and in 2009 he won gold (second place) at the Atlantic Provinces Culinary Salon, Gold and Silver Medal at the 2008 Escoffier Culinary Salon in Toronto.

The Team 5

Dwayne Macleod, Executive Chef at Agricola Street Brasserie, CUT Steakhouse & Shuck Seafood + Raw Bar, The Cable Wharf

Dwayne was born in Brandon, Manitoba and grew up in PEI. Throughout his childhood he was exposed to a culture of food and small farming, which contributed to his passion for cuisine later in life. Since graduating from the Culinary Institute of Canada in 2003, Dwayne has traveled the country and worked with many amazing chefs,and created his own identity using natural and sustainable products. Always up for a little competition, Dwayne has won Best PEI Potato Chowder, The Great Canadian Grilled Cheese Cook Cook-Off, and McCain BattleApps Halifax.

The Team 45

Josh McCarty, Executive Chef at The Arms Public House

Growing up on the South Shore of NS, I first started cooking when I was young with my grandmother. With a single mother working a lot, getting dinner ready for when she came home quickly became a nightly routine. When we moved into the city in my teens, I took the first job I could get to start making my own money – a busser at Steak & Stein at the ripe age of 15. A couple years later I was offered an extra dollar per hour to move into working in the kitchen, and well, the rest is history.

I attended NSCC in my early 20’s, and have had the fortune of working for some really exceptional establishments here in Halifax throughout my career. Honing my skills at such places as Chives, Brooklyn Warehouse and Morris East, I was lucky enough to get to work under some of the best chefs in this city at the time. After almost a decade in the industry, I left the city and spent 3 years in the Annapolis Valley undergoing a Sustainable Farming mentorship. While never intending to become a farmer myself, I found it incredibly insightful to learn the processes and work that go into supplying restaurants with the amazing local products that Nova Scotia has become known for. After completing the program, I returned to the city and took over as Executive Chef of Obladee Wine Bar, where I quickly developed a passion for wine and the food that goes with it. After five successful years as the chef there, I came to RCR seeking a new challenge.

The Team 39

Ashley Nickerson, Chef de Cuisine at Agricola Street Brasserie

I grew up on the Little South West branch of the Miramichi River where we regularly would take pockets full of choke cherries to the footbridge and watch the salmon jump. Small town life led to some fond memories and great home cooked meals at my grandparents where I fell in love with fresh fish and partridge, all from a 2km radius. I eventually discovered my passion for cooking and went back to school at NSCC kingstec in Kentville NS. I was fortunate enough to do my summer internship at Cut steakhouse and was able to return with my diploma in hand to start my career. Now, 4 years later, at the Brasserie, I’m taking what I’ve learned along the way from many talented chefs and applying it to the memories of my grandparents kitchen to bring a love of fresh meat, fish and produce to the table. …and we at RCR like to say bringing a little ray of sunshine to any kitchen fortunate enough to have her beaming smile a part of.

The Team 40

Ahmed Abdelwahab, Chef de Cuisine Cable Wharf

Ahmed grew up in Cairo, Egypt and he moved to Canada in 2016, the same year that he joined the team at RCR. While he initially went to university for accounting, he has always loved the culinary arts and decided to eventually pursue his passion for cooking. He started his career as a line cook, and it was not long before his talent was noticed, and he went onto become a Chef de Partie at the Arms Public House. He is now their Chef de Cuisine. Ahmed takes his job very seriously and is always up to the challenge. As Ahmed’s career advances, he hopes to continue to hone his skills and see where his journey with RCR will take him next. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family.

Restaurant Managers

The Team 31

Aaron Beaudoin, Manager, CUT Steakhouse

With years of experience in Toronto (Buca, Ascari Enoteca, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment) we were lucky enough to have Aaron join us here in Nova Scotia thanks to his local wife (and gorgeous young daughter!). As manager of CUT Steakhouse, Aaron is a Certified Sommelier in the Court of Master Sommeliers – with favourite wines including the wines of Cote Rotie, Cornas, Hermitage, Barolo, Barbaresco & Gevrey Chambertin. His hobbies include guitar, photography and hopefully travelling to the food and wine regions of Spain with his family!

The Team 19

Melissa Carey, Director, Restaurant Operations & Private Dining

After working with RCR Hospitality since 2000, Mel has transitioned from her role of General Manager of CUT Steakhouse, Shuck Seafood & East of Grafton to focusing on the operations of all RCR restaurants with an emphasis on private dining. In her time with us she’s opened numerous restaurants, including the critically acclaimed Onyx on Spring Garden Road. With a B.Sc. from Dalhousie University, it isn’t surprising that Melissa took a keen interest in the science of wine and became a Sommelier in 2013. While her love of wine is obvious, she says what truly fulfills her is knowing her guests have had a uniquely memorable evening at any of the restaurants under her direction.

The Team 43

Carlo Catallo, Manager, The Cable Wharf

From Toronto Carlo has worked in some fantastic fine dining restaurants such as Galileo Ristorante ed Enoteca y Centro, Susur, and then Splendido. Carlo started his management/sommelier carrier at Splendido in 2001. He became the part owner in 2009 to much acclaim. Splendido was then ranked as one of Canada’s most acclaimed restaurants while he was also opening two rock ‘n roll cocktail bars named The County General. Carlo then pursued further management opportunities as Director of Hospitality for the Dabic Hospitality Group before he managed Paul Bohmer’s (Top Chef Canada winner 2019) self named restaurant on the super trendy Ossington Ave.

The Team 44

Krista Hickman, Assistant Manager at the Waterfront Warehouse

Coming from Saint John, New Brunswick Krista has over 20 years of experience in hospitality, this busy mom of two worked full time at the Saint John Regional Hospital in patient care while also working part time in restaurants. Kristi moved to Halifax with her family in 2021 and started at the Waterfront Warehouse as a Server quickly moving into a supervisory Role and then Assistant Manager. She’s always enjoyed working with the public and realized over time the restaurant industry is where she wants to be!

The Team 18

Kyle Higgins, Manager at the Waterfront Warehouse

Kyle has been working RCR for almost two decades! This Liverpool, N.S native was first server then manager of Onyx Restaurant (both locations!) before settling down by the Halifax Harbour at the Waterfront Warehouse. Did you know this St. Fx kinesiology grad also has the most amazing green thumb – check out his bounty of beautiful plants next time you’re down to the Warehouse!

The Team 21

Danielle McLean, Restaurant & Community Manager

Danielle is a veteran RCR Hospitality staff member, having spent the last 20 years with us. While learning the ropes at RCR, she also completed degrees in History and Spanish at Dalhousie University. Danielle has made it her mission to travel the world at every opportunity, seeking out the best food and wine wherever she goes. As an accredited sommelier, her favourite aspect of her job is helping customers discover new wines and making every dining experience unforgettable. She also keeps us involved in the community and has her finger on the pulse of the Halifax dining and social media scene!

The Team 41

Emily McManus

Emily started working for RCR as a food runner at the Waterfront Warehouse in 2017. Since then she has worked at multiple locations and in a variety of positions: supervisor, server, bartender. Finally finding her home on Argyle Street in fall of 2020! Emily holds a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Saint Mary’s University. Ultimately, hospitality has her heart and she’s excited to explore educational opportunities within this sector, starting with her sommelier certification through CAPS. Visit Emily at CUT and Shuck Seafood!

The Team 20

Jamie Miller, Director of Catering

Jamie hails from Nine Mile River, NS. Although computer networking sparked his interest, it was the food and beverage world that got under his skin. Over his fifteen years working with RCR, he’s been server, bartender, Captain, and Assistant Manager at various properties and now is happily settled in as the Catering Manager at the Lord Nelson Hotel. As well as running the show at the Hotel Jamie also oversees our catering and offsite division. Jamie says that he enjoys the diversity of locations, events and guests. None probably more so than in receiving a visit from Her Majesty the Queen in June 2010.

The Team 24

Andrew Mullenger, Assistant Manager, The Cable Wharf

Andrew was born and raised in Halifax and went to school in Newfoundland for firefighting. Starting at the Cunard Centre as a server, he worked his way up the RCR ladder as a bartender, banquet captain, food and beverage manager at the Lord Nelson Hotel and now he and Kyle are running the busiest seafood restaurant in the city down by the waterfront!

The Team 30

Alicia Williams, Manager, Agricola Street Brasserie

A local Bedfordite, Alicia has been with us since the launch of East of Grafton and quickly became a leader with her attention to detail and great attitude! An alumni of MUN, Alicia worked the busy bar scenes on George Street and Le Cellier Steakhouse in Walt Disney World. Alicia has her sights set on visiting the food mecca of India and hopes to plan a trip there soon. This certified sommelier has the best wine recommendations, make sure to ask her for her current favourite the next time you pop into the Brasserie!

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