Meet Pastry Chef Marie-Léa Petiquay

Published on : 8/10/22
    • Time with Sodexo: 7 years
    • Location: La Romaine, Côte-Nord region, Quebec
    • Segment: Energy & Resources
    • Role: Head Pastry Chef


    Marie-Léa Petiquay is a pastry chef and artist from the Atikamekw Nation of Wemotaci.

    After attending culinary school in Quebec City, Marie-Léa had an opportunity to travel to Lyon, France for month to complete her pastry internship. Two weeks after her return to Canada, she was hired at Sodexo: My first job after my studies was with Sodexo.

    Her career began as a third cook and quickly rose to second pastry chef, before taking the lead as head pastry chef, the position she holds today.

    Creating desserts at a large scale is not easy, but it’s a challenge she appreciates from her daily activities. Not only is she responsible for all the desserts available on the remote site, but she also caters special events, and can sometimes receive interesting requests: I recently executed a five-story cake shaped as the turbines from the hydroelectric plant. It was an enormous challenge, but a beautiful project. Everyone enjoyed it!

    Her favourite part of the job? Watching how much people appreciate her work. When people see me going into work, they say ‘Marie-Léa is here! Alright, we are going to have delicious desserts!’

    This is Marie-Léa’s first time working and living in a remote camp. For her, the team work also makes it easy. We’re like a big family here, especially in the kitchen.

    Woven into this path in the kitchen was a temporary stint as food inspector for a year, an experience she is grateful for. Sodexo has given an amazing opportunity. I loved my experience in that position. She was offered the position and we provided the training to prepare for her for the job. And opportunity, she says, would not have been possible otherwise.

    But she went back to pastry: My first love is and has always been pastry. And it shows. Her talents are undeniable.

    The soul of this woman is transposed as much in her paintings as in her culinary creations, says Manon Huet, assistant general manager at La Romaine. We are proud to have such an artist as part of our kitchen brigade.


    Bringing Her Indigenous Culture to Work

    The remote site in Northern Quebec is close to many Indigenous communities, where many of the team members are from. Marie-Léa says it feels good to work in a place where her values and traditions are respected and recognized.

    We work with Inuits and people from the Atikamekw Nation, amongst others, and we get to celebrate our traditions. The Council for Indigenous People (CIP) chapter onsite organizes a lot of activities. We have opportunities to be heard and understood.

    There is even a Shaputuan — a traditional gathering space — where members of the Indigenous community onsite gather for formal and informal meals.

    To me, being Indigenous is everything. It’s me. It’s my personality. It’s my culture. And I love bringing my Indigenous self, my artistic self to my cakes, to my artwork. Being Indigenous is my identity.

    Marie-Léa is also a very talented painter and has had her artwork exhibited on the site.  


    Thinking of Her Next Steps

    She is looking ahead. I love what I am doing right now, and I am happy. But I would love to develop my managerial skills, so eventually, I’d like to take trainings in management.

    When asked if she would recommend members of her community to come work with Sodexo, her answer is quick: Of course, come work with us! And she’s already recruited some friends. We have a wonderful team spirit here. My friends love it. And I always encourage them to train and to grow.

    And when asked what her plans are when this project is over and the camp closes, Marie-Léa says she would love to continue her work in another remote site.

    Sodexo was my first employer after my studies, and I hope to be here for many years to come.

    Learn more about how Sodexo fosters an inclusive work environment for Indigenous talent.