Our Team

We are products of this historic community that has welcomed people from all walks of life. Growing up here or moving here generates an immense admiration and appreciation for what is harvested here – from land to sea. The team at Founders House will showcase the best of local in all aspects of our operation – the food, the drink, and the people!

Everyone who works at Founders House Dining & Drinks is here because they share our passion for all things local – the food, the drink, and most importantly… the people!

Laura Hamilton

Laura Hamilton

General Manger

Laura had her first taste of the tourism industry scooping ice cream for Cam and Jan Albright at Dunromin Campground when she was 12. She instantly fell in love with the people who visited and fell in love with Annapolis Royal and that love led her to pursue a degree in Tourism Management.

At the Digby Pines with Valerie Carty is where she first put her knowledge to work before leaving Nova Scotia to travel from Newfoundland to Alberta – gaining experience and life lessons along the way. Like so many Nova Scotians she leapt at the chance to come home as soon as it arose, taking a position at a prominent Halifax hotel where she headed their guest service department.

After stepping away from the industry to focus on her two small children, she carried an ache in her heart to move back to Annapolis Royal. Laura says “There is something about this place – an energy that draws your soul here – and both the first peoples and the founders of our communities would tell you that feeling has been nurtured here for many lifetimes”. The development of the Fort View Golf Course gave her an opportunity of a life time – to bring her family here and fulfil Laura’s dream of sharing this place with others so they can fall in love with this place too.

Founders House Dining & Drinks is that place, where everyone is welcome at our table and where everyone can fall in love with Annapolis Royal…all over again or for the very first time!

Chris Pyne

Chris Pyne

Corporate Chef

It all started when Chris was fourteen standing behind the line for the first time working for the family business…he knew he was going to be a chef one day and has never looked back since.

His apprenticeship and first taste of fine dining started at one of the top restaurants in Calgary, AB – Rush Restaurant. Becoming part of a professional brigade, Chris was the youngest cook on the team and the restaurant had just been awarded best fine dining establishment in the city. It was here that he learned the importance of seasonality, quality and how to respect ingredients and food.

That was followed with three more years in Calgary, working for Chef Michael Noble at NOtaBLE, under Chef Justin Labossiere who mentored Chris as he graduated from the culinary program at S.A.I.T and achieved his Journeyman and Red Seal certification…all by the age of 21.

Working in the United Kingdom brought him the experience of working for one and two Michelin star Chefs Anthony Demetre and Marcus Wareing in London. Following family roots, he accepted a job in Wales at Restaurant James Sommerin and quickly became the senior Chef De Partie. While there, the team earned a coveted Michelin star for the restaurants’ first time and were also awarded restaurant of the year. Back home in Canada Chris put his own stamp on casual fine dining at Michael and Marion’s in Ontario.
Chris says “With family ties here in Nova Scotia, coming to Founders House is like coming home.” Fresh upscale comfort food made with seasonal ingredients from our local farmers and fishermen – its elevated rural dining rooted in our sea and soil.

Bryce Heron

Bryce Heron

Chef de Cuisine

Bryce started his culinary career in Toronto, Ontario at the historic Windsor Arms hotel while pursuing his culinary education at George Brown College. He worked at a variety of notable restaurants in Toronto, including Biff’s Bistro, Auberge Du Pommier, and One Restaurant.

Seeking a new challenge in 2014, he left Toronto for London, UK and went to work for Marcus Wareing at his eponymous Michelin starred restaurant in Knightsbridge. Working at Marcus and traveling through Europe afforded Bryce many unique opportunities and gave him a “real world” education on food, wine, and culture.

A trip to Italy in 2016 prompted Bryce to learn more about Italian food and upon his return to Toronto he joined the Bar Buca team as Jr Sous Chef. Eventually he moved on to Eataly in Toronto where he worked at their Trattoria Milano restaurant and perfected his butchery skills at their butchery counter.

Now as the CDC of Founder’s House, he hopes to use all his experiences and training to create an array of everchanging dishes that celebrate the abundance of fresh ingredients the Annapolis Valley has to offer.

I always say that I don’t believe I’m a chef. I try to be a storyteller. – Jose Andres

Brent Goertzen

Brent Goertzen

Maître d’

Despite Brent’s storied past from copper mining in Northern British Columbia, to farming in the Gulf Islands, and studying kinesiology in New Mexico, the allure of food and wine has been impossible to avoid. Lucky enough to have worked with teams at award winning restaurants, world class wineries, and renowned resorts his career path has led him to the next wine region in Canada, Nova Scotia.

Taking the plunge into Nova Scotian life in August 2020, after driving almost 6000kms from Tofino, Brent took a position at Benjamin Bridge Winery in the Gaspereau Valley. Guiding guests through the story and the sparkling wines that they are so well known for his love affair with Canadian wine was empowered and emboldened.

Joining the team at Founder’s House (after harassing ownership until they gave him a job) in November 2020 Brent quickly found his footing in both the community and the restaurant. His love of wine lent to a natural fit as he began to expand the wine program here in 2021. His constant search for the best wines that Nova Scotia has to offer, along with international wine representation has bolstered the pairing of food and wine that Founders House has become known for.

The future is most definitely sparkling in Nova Scotia, whether this matches his personality or not, Brent’s storied past has led him to this region on the precipice of global discovery as another great food and wine region.

Careers

Our team is critical to our success. If you have a passion for people and a passion for our community then we may have a place for you in the Founders House family. Specific jobs will be posted here when available, but you are also welcome to email us with your resume and a cover letter telling us why you want to join the Founders House family.

Could you be our missing ingredient? We’re in search of world-class team members to help us become a destination restaurant!
We’re passionate about delivering locally sourced food and beverages prepared in inspiring ways, while delivering an extraordinary customer experience, and you MUST share that passion. If you are an experienced, creative individual who is self-motivated and hard-working, then we want to hear from you!

If you are interested in joining our team

For more job opportunities at The Whiskey Teller Restaurant, click here.