Mike Kanellis is a Canadian Dream
vol 9 2000
by the editor
The first time I was introduced to Mike was at another friend’s restaurant – I had only been in Canada a short while myself, so, little did I know that he was the owner of a most prestigious restaurant and the proud and successful realizer of a Canadian dream. He was extremely courteous, very modest and helpful, and did not hesitate at all to support my-at the time-budding Cross Cultures.
Emmanuel ( Mike ) Kanellis came to Canada in 1964, from a southern peninsula of Greece called Peloponnesos. He grew up in a village where his father did mixed farming. He has three sisters and four brothers. Already two of his brothers and a sister had come to Canada when he, just out of military service, was job searching. Realizing the difficulties Mike was having finding work, his brother suggested “why don’t you come over, I’ll take you to a restaurant .. you can get a job washing dishes”
So, the young man came with little more than his hopes, dreams, and willingness to work hard.
Sure enough, he started his first job only four days after arriving . . . washing dishes! Any other job, at a factory or store required a minimum knowledge of English.
He worked twelve hours a day, six days a week and was paid fifty cents an hour, for ten months. Then he moved to another restaurant where he got the opportunity to start cooking and learning to be a chef, he was also teaching himself English.
But most importantly, with his pioneer spirit, he set the plan to realizing a dream.
Mike came with an open mind, to learn and to work hard “the people are polite and eager to help you even if you don’t speak English, they go to every effort to try to understand”.
At first he had to memorize the menu, and watch the Chef very closely, “learning a lot, from A to Z”. Meanwhile he was economizing, in every possible way he knew how to, in order to put money aside.
He had earlier realized that Canada was full of opportunities, and he planned to work hard to move up from the sink to brighter horizons.
As Mike moved from full-time Chef, to managing the entire operation, observing every detail, and formulating his own way of handling matters and viewing prospects of growing and improving the business, he soon was ready to be an owner, and the opportunity presented itself from one of his previous employers, who approached him offering to sell him his restaurant.
Mike was now 27 years old, and had only been in Canada for four years, but he was ready to take the new challenge .. and although he ran that place for nine years, he constantly faced a problem with parking space, so it was natural that when he found an advertisement for his current location (14,000 sq.ft), he overlooked the concerns of some skeptics regarding its history. Offering top quality service and food at excellent prices has kept people coming back for more!
Mike now shares his pride, as well as most details of his Golf’s Steak House and Seafood with three sons, Tom, George and Gus, who work with him.
Mike still works a double shift almost every week, he checks on everything, all the time, and you will only find him in his office early in the morning or late at night, otherwise he is attending to his customers, and making sure everyone is satisfied.
To work so hard one must also rest hard. Mike enjoys travelling .. “I’d like to visit all those places I learnt about in school”, and of course he does return to Greece often