The head chef at the Narrow Road Creperie & Co. In High River is sharing her story of recovery and finding meaning in life through her new found passion for cooking.
Head Chef Krystal McQuaid says her time with the Narrow Road Home and the Creperie has helped positively transform her life.
"It's just amazing how fast my change happened, how I could feel so broken and lost and transforming into someone I don't even recognize sometimes."
After struggling with addiction and serving time in jail, McQuaid says finding a community that supports wellness and recovery helped get her life back on track.
"I went through a really dark time in my life through addiction, my life spiraled out of control. It did end in going to jail for a period of time. So that made me really realize that I had to change my life. It had to happen in a lasting way and in a way that I could really find myself. After leaving jail, walking through the doors of the Narrow Road Home was really what I needed at that time. It really opened my eyes to what life should be all about."
The Narrow Road Home launched it's Creperie business in May 2018 and McQuaid says her involvement in that project helped her discover her new passion.
"It was so amazing to have positive encouragement and really find my passion, which after leaving, I really didn't know what I was going to do with my life. Finding who I was at the Narrow Road Home, it ignited a passion for cooking. It's been a dream come true, everyday I wake up is the best day of my life and even my hard days are nothing compared to what I went through."
McQuaid says her path to becoming a chef, all began with a community garden.
"We planted a garden at the house and I was overwhelmed with the amount of produce at the garden, so I started experimenting with recipes and I couldn't stop. It was a constant source of enjoyment. It was a constant thing to enjoy - cooking good food for people. I'm from the Maritimes, so kitchen parties were a huge thing growing up. Family in the kitchen was what I remembered from being a child, it's something I missed. It was like going back to childhood with finding that passion, it's something I love doing - and apparently I'm pretty good at it!"
The Creperie helps the women staying at the Narrow Road Home to give back to the community through volunteering.
McQuaid notes that for many women working at the Creperie, it's their first shot in attempting to readopt critical life skills and work experience.
"It's not only good for the community, but it's good for many of the girls too. Some of them don't have life skills, some of them really miss on those key life skills that are lost through addiction or mental health issues that the girls come in with. But it's a dream come true seeing the girls really bloom into special and amazing ladies."
For those who have a second chance at life through the Narrow Road Home and Creperie, Mcquaid says she is thankful for the restaurants continued success and community support.
"I think it makes us a beacon of light here in the community, to bring people here together. Just having that happy smile whenever you walk through the door is a really huge thing that we notice is really helping people."