Marc Collyer, Executive Pastry Chef
I started working in kitchens while I was still in school, on weekends and holidays as a kitchen porter and prep cook, where I quickly realized that this would be a great career choice for me.
After finishing school, I found a work placement at a local country house hotel In Netherfield Place in Battle, England, where I completed my NVQ exams and began life as a chef. Though the hours were pretty crazy and the brigade small, it was a great place to begin and a real eye opener to the hospitality industry as a whole. It was also there where I discovered my love for all things sweet. I worked my way through the ranks from apprentice to Pastry Commis. I spent four good years there before deciding to take a leap and a real step up. So I moved to Bath, England, where I then spent fourteen incredible years at the Michelin starred The Manor House in Castle Coombe. During my time there I had the privilege of working under the tutelage and later alongside some incredible chefs, all of whom were able to teach and give me guidance over the years. Having not worked with people like Richard Davies, Rob Potter, Catherine Locke and Michael Topp, amongst so many others, I would never have gained the knowledge, experience or confidence to have risen through the ranks. Becoming the Head Pastry Chef was a highlight of my career to that point. My time there will always hold special memories and a special place in my heart.
After spending so many wonderful years there I knew it was time for a new challenge. I moved to the North of England to help out a friend for six months. Whilst it was a change to what I was used to, it was a great experience and I could expand my knowledge in the “savoury” side of the kitchen.
I was fortunate enough to have travelled to some of the most incredible places on Earth such as Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, New York, Rome, and Amsterdam to name a few, where I absorbed the local cuisines and flavors.
But it was also a very transitional period of my life; having gone through a divorce and a major road accident, I knew that I wanted to do something life changing. The right move at the right time came along. An old friend with whom I worked with at my first hotel contacted me about coming to Canada to open new hotel in the picturesque town of Elora. It was too good an opportunity to miss out on and it seemed like fate getting back in touch with a close friend from the first days of my career. I always had this lingering feeling from our early days that our story wasn’t complete just yet!
After spending a year successfully opening The Elora Mill Hotel and Spa, I realized that I was missing the thing I love doing most, Afternoon Tea. The petit gateaux, macarons, pastries, finger sandwiches, scones and everything that makes going for Afternoon Tea such an experience. At this point I was contemplating going back home to England. As luck would have it I stumbled upon my dream job, having the opportunity to work alongside some fantastic people, Geoffrey and Dominique. They share my love and passion for all things Afternoon Tea and have a wealth of knowledge and experience in traditional English Afternoon Tea service between them.
I am very much looking forward to opening the doors to The Wild Tart and hope to help make the restaurant a special part of this wonderful community in the years to come.
See you there……
Dominique & Geoffrey Wild
We are the Wild’s, a Swiss and South African/English couple with over 40 years of hospitality management experience between us. Our careers have taken us to some of the most incredible places on earth. We cut our hospitality teeth managing restaurants and hotels for some of the most prestigious companies in the world, including The Ritz Carlton Hotel company, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Red Carnation Hotels, Soho House, Fortnum and Mason, DO & CO International Airline and Event Catering and Sketch London.
Having met in Bahrain, we have been blessed to call Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt, England, USA, South Africa, Switzerland and now Canada home. Having firmly established roots in our local community, we aim to bring inclusive luxury experiences, building on a need for exciting quality food and beverage offerings in a community redefining itself.
Having initially completed my training and worked as a travel agent in Switzerland, I was curious about hospitality and the beautiful hotels I used to sell. I wanted to be part of them and see the world. That is when I decided to study hotel management at the world-famous Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne in Switzerland. Not long into my internship at the Ritz Carlton Bahrain, I was offered the once in a lifetime opportunity to run their prestigious steak house. This is where I met my wonderful husband Geoffrey. Together we decided to take on a new challenge and moved to Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt where I worked as an assistant restaurant manager of the fine dining restaurant Il Frantoio in the Four Seasons Resort. While living at the Red Sea, I thought what better place to earn a degree in Marine Biology, which has always been a passion of mine. From there our journey took us back to Europe, to London, England where I first started as assistant restaurant manager at the Michelin starred restaurant The Lecture Room and Library in the iconic Sketch London. I soon decided I wanted to expand my hospitality and catering knowledge and was offered the opportunity to work in the events management team at the historic and famous Fortnum and Mason. Famous for its royal links and high-end teas, this is where my love for Afternoon Tea started. I had the honor of being part of the grand reopening of the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon in honour of Her Majesty the Queen’s Jubilee, with Her Majesty the Queen, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge attending the festivities. Fortnum and Mason have been the official grocers of Her Majesty the Queen for several decades.
Another opportunity came along and I joined DO & CO Airline Catering and International Events in London. DO & CO caters first and business class meals for most of the world’s top airlines, caters exclusive events such as the Paddock Club at all Formula 1 races around the globe, as well as the private boxes at UEFA Champions League and ATP Tennis events. Being the personal assistant of the General Manager for UK and Germany, this gave me great insight into luxury hospitality catering. I had the chance to work with some incredible people in the worlds most stunning locations and was lucky enough to have found and establish my true passion within the exciting world of hospitality.
Having taken some time off to raise our two beautiful children, I am very excited to open our first restaurant and share some amazing experiences with you.
My love for hospitality started as a 10-year-old when I first visited the Gaborone Sun which was, at the time, a fantastic resort in Botswana. I went to hotel school in South Africa and when the opportunity arose during my final year, I accepted a job in London and my international journey began. I started with the Red Carnation Hotel group in the Chesterfield Mayfair, which was my first exposure to an historic building in a traditional British style and setting, I was in awe. Afternoon tea was one of the first new dining experiences I found and the pomp and parade around the service intrigued me. As an ambitious young man I was soon searching for bigger opportunities as I had a clear goal in mind of opening a hotel and working in a large resort. I moved to The Millennium Mayfair Hotel where two years later I met a hotel owner about to launch a hotel in the Middle East. As the hotel was also branded Millennium, my transition to Qatar in 2006 was seamless. Following a highly successful opening, I was given an opportunity to move to Bahrain with The Ritz Carlton, in hospitality. When the big boys come calling you go for it, so I made the move across the Gulf to Bahrain.
My trip to Bahrain changed my life forever as this is where I met the love of my life Dominique. After a year in Bahrain, my former General Manager offered me the opportunity of a lifetime, to come and be his deputy in a 2500-bedroom beachfront diving resort in Sharm el Sheikh Egypt. After only a year together, Dominique took a leap of faith and we moved and started our life together. Shortly after starting in Egypt, I was offered the opportunity to take charge of resort operations. During my time there we opened an additional hotel, four restaurants and a second spa. Shortly after we got married, the pull of Europe became too strong, so we headed to England where I opened a third hotel, a 580 bedroom city centre hotel with 3 restaurants and a coffee shop. Following a sale to Hilton, I missed guest interactions only a boutique hotel offers. I was done being a team leader and wanted to get back to my guests. Red Carnation was my first call and they were in the market for a Deputy Manager of the flagship Milestone Hotel and Residences, I jumped at the opportunity and spent 4 of the most fulfilling years of my hotel career with them. By this time, Dominique and I had moved to the countryside and were expecting Tyler. I knew my days of commuting 3 hours a day were numbered, so I joined the opening team of the Soho Farmhouse in Oxfordshire shortly afterwards and was rewarded with 18 months of the most entertaining experiences, learning the culture that drives the mystique surrounding this private members club.
Following the successful opening of the Elora Mill Hotel & Spa, I find myself with the opportunity to start a new chapter of our lives building on our colorful past to bring exciting experiences to our new home.