Romance, Adventure and Chocolate...
How Julien and Nathalie came to call Nova Scotia home
In 2008, a serendipitous encounter at the Wakefield Mill Hotel in Quebec, Canada marked the beginning of a life-changing adventure for Chef Julien Rousseau and Nathalie Morin. Originally from the South of France, Julien was working in the pastry department at Wakefield Mill Hotel when he met Ottawa-native Nathalie Morin. Falling in love within a few short weeks, it wasn’t so long before Julien had a new work permit and Nathalie and Julien began to plan a life together.
Knowing food and hospitality was their love language – they started a journey to discover what they would create together. They first travelled to Julien’s home country of France where they immersed themselves in the world of exquisite cuisine and luxury hospitality. They took up positions at the renowned Vineyard Hotel & Restaurant le Château de Berne, a stunning Relais et Châteaux property in Provence. While in France, Julien and Nathalie explored and gained inspiration from their surroundings – Paris, Carcassonne, Cannes,Monaco and Julien had the opportunity to once again, return to a chocolaterie in the French Alps, where he had first honed his chocolate making talents. Together, they chased and crafted their dreams as Julien captivated clients and colleagues with his culinary artistry and Nathalie began to learn the world of chocolate retail.
In 2011, work permit bureaucracy compelled them to leave France and seek new experience and perspectives elsewhere. Their talents were enthusiastically welcomed by The Vineyard at Stockcross in Berkshire, England, an esteemed five-star hotel owned by Sir Peter Michael, recognized for producing exquisite wines that have even graced the White House.
After some time, their path led them to stunning Scotland, where they were offered positions at Cocoa Mountain, a remote chocolate shop nestled along the craggy northeast coast. Julien assumed the role of Head Chocolatier, taking charge of production and spearheading the management of a dedicated team and Nathalie was hired as Deputy Manager of the Cafe and Shop. Surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, they relished the seclusion and used this precious time to cultivate their own vision of a boutique, artisanal chocolate shop called ROUSSEAU Chocolatier, in a community where they could work, live and play, building a business and a family.
After much consideration of where in the world they wanted to call home, they chose Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada for its ocean lifestyle, welcoming community and entrepreneurial spirit. In 2014, ROUSSEAU Chocolatier opened its doors at a prime location on Hollis Street, a few short blocks from where they stand today. Despite starting with minimal supplies, inventory, equipment and network, the pair’s unwavering determination and passion ensured that every creation born from ROUSSEAU would be nothing short of extraordinary.
Fast forward 10 years and Chef Julien Rousseau continues to innovate and inspire, pushing culinary boundaries, incorporating delectable local flavours and crafting chocolate masterpieces that win international awards and taste buds across the country. As Chief Operating Officer, Nathalie brings her gracious hospitality skills, creativity, passion and sense of community to running the business. Together, they have opened a thriving business, welcomed 2 children and become a part of the Halifax culinary community.