Local restaurateur Paul Desbaillets got his start in the business when he was 18 years old, as a busboy.
Now Desbaillets is a co-owner of the Burgundy Lion Group, whose establishments include the Burgundy Lion Pub, Bishop & Bagg and three locations of Brit & Chips.
On Friday, he added Global News Morning guest co-host to his list of accomplishments.
WATCH BELOW: Paul Desbaillets on Global News Morning
Desbaillets remembers his busboy years with gratitude.
“Somebody gave me a chance,” he said. “And I didn’t drop too many things –break too many plates.”
Much of Desbaillets work focuses on giving back.
Each year, Burgundy Lion organizes Goal MTL, a charity soccer tournament featuring a who’s who of Montreal’s bar and restaurant scene.
WATCH BELOW: Charity soccer tournament helps local youth
Since its beginnings in 2011, the soccer tournament has raised $200,000 for local charities that run youth-oriented programs.
For 2017, Desbaillets and the Burgundy Lion are setting the fundraising bar high at $200k.
“They got a $100-million pledge to end polio from the government,” Desbaillets said of Global Citizen.
On top of raising money through food and beverage sales the day of the big tournament July 2, at McGill’s Molson Stadium, Desbaillets said they’ve started a GoFundMe campaign for those who can’t join in the fun the day of.
But the giving back doesn’t stop on the soccer pitch.
Desbaillet’s Brit & Chips is taking part in Montreal’s 375 celebrations too.
“We got Montrealers from all sorts of backgrounds — so chefs, athletes, artists, whatever we feel represent the city and they’re coming up with their own recipe,” he said.
The recipes are then tweaked by Brit & Chips head chef Rob who develops the flavour of the month for charity.
“A dollar of every one of those plates served from that person’s fish and chip goes to the charity of their choice,” Desbaillets said, adding it provided an bit of an extra incentive for those chosen to develop the recipes.
“It makes it a little more interactive and makes them want to go ‘hey guys go try it and tell me what you think.'”
As for which flavour Desbaillets likes most?
“Pineapple works on everything by the way,” he said. “I love it on pizzas.”