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.

The Team 8

Tahir A. Salamat, AHCIMA, Corporate Chef

Executive Chefs tend to use calculators as much or more as they use their spatulas, but Tahir is happy to put his spreadsheets away and jump into the action on a daily basis. The one equation he knows best is: International Flavors + Local Product = Delicious. This celebrated chef’s achievements include being named Nova Scotia Chef of the Year by the Association of Chefs & Cooks in 2006 and Chef of the Year for the Atlantic Provinces in 2007.

Corporate Staff

The Team 11

Nadine Poirier, Director of Sales

With a BBA in Tourism & Marketing from CBU, Nadine has worked for RCR for over 10 years in various roles, driven by the enjoyment of creating unique, memorable experiences for clients and colleagues. Now, as our Director of Sales, she’s growing and developing her talents beyond RCR too—including past President of MPI (Meeting Professionals International) Atlantic Canada Chapter, and member of CSAE (Canadian Society of Association Executives), as well as being an active member of Discover Halifax.

The Team 10

Missie Brown, Catering Coordinator

Born in Cape Breton and raised on stage, Missie has done it all with RCR from banquet serving, bartending, and restaurant supervising, to her new role as Catering Coordinator on the RCR Sales Team. A classically trained dancer, Missie loves how the ever-evolving world of food & beverage keeps her on her toes.

The Team 25

Ayla Lucey, Events Coordinator

Ayla is the newest member the join the Sales Team. Before RCR, she 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!

Culinary Staff

The Team 15

Darcy 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 at The Arms Public House

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 at the newly renovated Arms Public House.

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

Gary Hillier, Executive Chef at the Cunard Centre

With a camera in one hand and a chef knife in the other, Gary embraces his position as Executive Chef of the Cunard Centre. Loyalty, hard work and dedication are the qualities that he has brought to the table in the past 12 years with RCR. New challenges and “Yes we can!” are what keeps him here.

The Team 26

Dan Purvis, Chef de Cuisine at Bistro Le Coq

Hailing from Port Dover, Ont he has called Halifax home for 2 years now. Professionally trained at Niagara college he has worked at 4 Diamond Riverbend Inn & Vineyard in Niagara, Eden Restaurant in Banff & Mission Hill Winery in Kelowna. Dan is well travelled and has enjoyed the local cuisines of Vietnam, Thailand, France, Holland and NZ. His style of cooking focuses on seasonal and small farmers, and he loves a simple roast chicken with dijon and crusty bread and a nice glass of Beaujolais! You can find Dan on his days off eating ramen and playing the guitar or hitting the slopes with his snowboard in the winter months.

The Team 5

Dwayne Macleod, Chef de Cuisine at CUT Steakhouse

Dwayne was born in Brandon, Manitoba and grew up in PEI. Throughout his child hood 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 travelled 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.

Restaurant Managers

The Team 19

Melissa Carey, Director, Restaurant Operations & Private Dining

After working with RCR Hospitality for 17 years Melissa has transformed 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 18

Kyle Higgins, Manager at Waterfront Warehouse

From bartender to wine director and seasoned diner to seasoned server, Kyle has seen the dining table from every possible angle over his 15-year career with us. Although he took a break from the hospitality industry to study Human Kinetics at St. F.X.U., this Liverpool, N.S. native just couldn’t stay away when the restaurant world called him back. And he’s pretty content with this calling since high school Phys. Ed teachers don’t get to drink nearly enough wine.

The Team 30

Alicia Williams, Manager at East of Grafton & Bistro Le Coq

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. You can find her overseeing both East of Grafton and neighbouring Bistro Le Coq where she’s helping guests find their favourite dessert wine and cheese pairing!

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 21

Danielle McLean, Restaurant & Community Manager

Danielle is a veteran RCR Hospitality staff member, having spent the last 15 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 4

Jillian Soucy, Manager at The Arms Public House

Jill is a fire cracker that’s just recently joined the RCR Team. Jill graduated from St. FX with a degree in human nutrition and now dedicates herself to running the busy restaurant in the Lord Nelson Hotel. With endless energy and boundless enthusiasm, she prides herself on getting to know all our guests and exceeding their expectations!

The Team 24

Andrew Mullenger, Assistant Food & Beverage Manager at the Lord Nelson

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 and finally was promoted to food and beverage manager at the Lord Nelson Hotel. Andrew and Jill Soucy form the backbone of the service standards at this venerable landmark hotel.

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 F&B Manager at the Cunard Centre. Like many of the Cunard staff, 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 22

Noga Schwartz, Catering Manager, Cunard Centre

Noga has been with RCR since the spring of 2009. She started as a server at the Cunard Centre and was promoted to a beverage server shortly after, all while working her way through a Combined Honors Degree at the University of King’s College. After working as the Food and Beverage Supervisor at the Lord Nelson, Noga was promoted to Assistant Manager at the Cunard Centre in July 2015.

The Team 23

Stephen Sweeney, Facilities Manager, RCR

When there’s a logistical challenge within the company, two or three people have been known to say in unison “Call Sweeney!” We could easily sum it up by calling him “Handyman Extraordinaire” but of course he’s so much more than that. We firmly believe that every company deserves to have “a Sweeney”—and we’re lucky he’s been with us for the last 16 years.

Stay in touch with us!