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Meet 10C Changemaker: Pi

Posted on: February 5, 2024

Richard Pi Reyes (he/him), is the founder of Guelph-based Pivate Chef!

Cooking became a passion for Pi at a very early age. He grew up in a Filipino family where food is more than just something to eat, it was a significant aspect of culture and community. Pi has always loved food and what it represents for him: love.

Chef Pi’s culinary career began at the age of 26 when he started as a dishwasher at Earl’s. It was not long until he got a job as a cook at Grandville Island Hotel, which only made him determined to learn faster and work harder. Armed with passion and experience, Pi became a sous chef and then a chef at various corporate restaurants and high-end resorts, including boutique resorts like Poet’s Cove, The Elora Mill Hotel and larger chain restaurants such as Oliver & Bonacini and Prohibition Gastro House.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Pi was asked by friends to cook food for their parents that lived in his condo, as their meal program stopped delivering. He would prepare food and then leave it by their door to eliminate any physical contact. His neighbours (and their families) were grateful. Word started to spread, and more requests came in. Pi quickly realized that he loved this model of preparing meals – he could be home with his son, help out the community, do something that he enjoyed and maybe even make a living out of it. Soon came the time where Pi had to make the choice (easier than he thought it would be!) to leave the corporate world and start Pivate Chef.

Pi needed to find a kitchen he could use to continue his work and establish his business. One day his wife saw 10C on social media and mentioned it. They stopped by while out for a walk together. After touring the space, he instantly fell in love with the Nourish kitchen – the equipment, the care and cleanliness, and the system that was in place for members working in the food industry.

Pi strives to be an example that you can do what you’re passionate about without sacrificing time with loved ones and with yourself. He is working every day to change the stigma of what it means to be a chef – the work hours, toxic environment and most of all the unrealistic expectations.

Today, Pi cooks and delivers approximately 150 weekly meals, teaches cooking classes, caters events including anniversaries, family parties, weddings, and business meetings all from the Nourish Kitchen.

What started out as a way to help has become the foundation of his business: providing fresh, elevated, home cooked-meals prepared with a lot of thought and heart and at an affordable price.

Pi is a changemaker because he is building a social enterprise focused on smart, affordable menu planning with reusable containers and teaching his peers to do the same. He’s coaching fellow Nourish Kitchen members with business skills, food preparation techniques and redefining kitchen culture.