Brett McDermott

Avenue Calgary’s 2016 Top 40 Under 40.

Photograph by Jared Sych. Photographed at the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning at the University of Calgary.

Age: 32

Job title: Chef and Owner, Our Daily Brett

Why he’s a 2016 Top 40:

McDermott is a born-and-raised Calgarian who, in five years, has grown a small kitchen-table catering service into a bustling storefront with 20 employees, while maintaining a community-minded approach.

Good, honest food. It’s a simple promise, but one that Brett McDermott delivers on daily at his boutique market and catering service, Our Daily Brett.

Launched in 2011 as a small catering company run from his kitchen table, McDermott has grown the business into a bustling storefront operation with 20 employees in just five years.

The 32-year-old chef and owner calls the 14th Street S.W. market, which opened in 2014, his “creative project,” having developed the current model around the space. “I didn’t have a solid plan when we first opened,” McDermott says. “It’s been a really organic process.”

The market offers a variety of healthy selections in its small-batch salad bar, sandwiches and grab-and-go dinners that change daily and are showcased on the market’s Instagram page, a visual smorgasbord that serves as testament to McDermott’s prior pursuits in marketing.

While Our Daily Brett is a food-focused endeavour, McDermott’s community-minded values extend beyond the walls of his own shop. Last year, he allowed his store to serve as a pick-up location for a B.C.-based community-supported agriculture program. He also supports the idea of his business as a gathering spot, contributing to the walkability and character of the neighbourhood. Plans are in place for an express version of ODB called Neighbour to launch next year.

Entrepreneurship is a key element in the success of Our Daily Brett and something that McDermott is passionate about. He has donated his time to Momentum, a Calgary-based not-for-profit that encourages women in entrepreneurship with funding and resources, by appearing as a panellist for a session on starting a small business. McDermott and his wife also created a 2016 charity calendar depicting the owners of 12 Calgary-based brick-and-mortar shops (Shop Boys) that raised $5,000 for Momentum, while promoting the local business community.

A born-and-raised Calgarian, McDermott says he’s seen an exodus of friends leaving for larger cities over the years, but, for him, setting up shop just doors down from his childhood home was a natural fit.

“I’ve always been a strong believer that Calgary is the land of opportunity,” he says. “When everyone’s working in oil and gas, it leaves all these other industries that people can excel in.” – Fraser Tripp

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