Sarah Bennetto O’Brien is the owner and chef of Scapes, a delicious gem located in Borden’s Gateway Village. We recently caught up with Sarah to get the scoop on what Scapes is all about and how her adventure as an entrepreneur is going.
When it comes to creating food and feeding people what are you most passionate about?
I'm definitely most passionate about using the best local, organic, free-range, produce and meats that I can get my hands on... and using them to create hearty and wholesome real food meals! I believe in a strong community of local producers and consumers that support each other in making sustainable food choices.
Who or what has inspired you to follow your passions and take the leap to becoming an entrepreneur?
I'm so very thankful to have several entrepreneur friends who have helped to walk me through some of the more challenging aspects of starting up your own business! I've also worked for some amazing small businesses in a few different industries, and have absorbed as much knowledge as possible from them. It's the daily routine of an entrepreneur that makes it so different from just having a 9-5. The day doesn't really start or end, you're using all of your skills (while constantly evolving and learning new skills) and all eight of your octopus arms to keep things in check. I'd suggest being pretty stellar at your profession before you take the leap... and then being very open to learning about 800 new things about everything else as you launch and run your empire.
Scapes billets itself as fresh, local takeout. What kind of menu items and take-away foodstuffs can folks expect to find at your establishment?
We have switched over to our winter menu now, which is a bit smaller than our summer Gateway menu, but there are still plenty of local-food choices! There are our hand-pies, which is basically a really flaky butter pastry folded over a savoury meat or vegetarian filling. It's been keeping the staff of Borden area businesses happy for months now! We also have traditional fish cakes and maple baked beans with mustard pickle, large organic veggie salads, fresh soups, baked treats to the max, gluten free baked treats from Sweet Freedom in Summerside, and a whole retail cooler of take-home meal options that change weekly. We've just started a Saturday supper pick-up option, and this week it's a free-range beef lasagna with organic tomato sauce and local mozzarella with a local apple crisp complete with a buttery spiced local organic oat crumble topping. You can add on any of our soups by the litre too, or even a few cinnamon rolls to help make your Sunday breakfast just that much more awesome.
Congratulations on wrapping up your first summer of operation in Borden! Reflecting back on it, what were some of the most inspiring and exciting moments you experienced as a newly-minted entrepreneur?
HA! Oh man... well, the first day that I plugged in the OPEN sign was downright magical. I still get excited when I hear the door bell. It's an "I've built it, and they're really coming" sort of deal. The Borden public has been really amazing. The community has been super supportive and I truly adore my regulars, and the stories that many of them tell me as they grab lunch. I've even been asked to cater a weeding next fall for one of our regulars.. that's really a great feeling!
To be honest, I think that one of the most exciting moments was when I got to walk into the bank with my first cash deposit. Hard, really hard work, does pay off. You certainly can't get comfortable in that, since it's a constant evolution, but it's great knowing that I'm at this point where I can use my training and experience and passion to better the lives of my community.
What's in-store for you and Scapes in the coming months?
Snow! But really now, Scapes has a few exciting catering jobs between now and that rather large holiday season at the end of December! That's keeping me fresh and on my toes, creating custom menus for special events is always a favourite of mine. We are on our winter hours now too at Scapes, so we're open Thursday to Saturday 11am-6pm and Sunday from 11am-5pm.
Working with our farmer suppliers through the fall and winter months is pretty awesome too, keeping creative with storage vegetables is something that I believe every cook (home and professional) should enjoy!
What is the kindest thing anyone has ever done for you?
My days are filled with small kindnesses! I try to put my whole self into my food and customer service, and I feel like that comes back to me tenfold. I think the first big kindness we experienced at Scapes was when a huge storm blew the "Opening Soon" banner sign away from where I had it nailed to the front deck during renovations. We were outside sanding down the dresser that we now use as a retail counter, and a man walking his dog came up and told us that he'd found our sign and had been keeping it safe in his garage! So, a few days after the storm we had our sign back safely and re-attached to the deck (with washers this time!) due to the kindness of a stranger.
To find your way to Scapes, head to Gateway Village in Borden. Scapes is located along the main drag, at 105 Abegweit Blvd.
Winter Hours at Scapes: Thursday to Saturday 11am to 6pm, Sunday 11am to 5pm.