The life of Christian Ventura is a novel. Mexican-born, the self-taught vegan chef, a former meat eater, opened his first sushi counter in 2014 with $8,000 in his pocket, and now owns six restaurants, soon to be eight.
Christian Ventura transforms everything he touches into success. His latest, the Bvrger in the Old Port of Montreal, attracts criticism such as: “It’s the best burger I’ve eaten, even before being vegan.”
Fascinated by cooking shows from childhood, Christian was told by his parents to think about a “real career”. To satisfy them, he enrolled in medicine at the university, but failed his first year. He then tries engineering physics, then accounting, but does not like what he is taught at all.
It’s time to take a break and do like other Mexican academics: come and work in Quebec one summer, where he arrives wrapped in a winter coat!
After three months in the kitchen in a Japanese restaurant, he was asked to become the chef.
“Was I good or were they desperate? I don’t really know, but I worked there for five or six years”, says Christian with a smile.
Yoga in India
In 2012, a doctor told him that he was a candidate for a heart attack if he did not change his lifestyle.
“In Mexico, the rich try to demonstrate their wealth by putting meat in every meal! I could eat a whole chicken for dinner,” recalls the young chef, who then took up yoga to lower his cholesterol level, while his teacher introduced him to veganism.
The same year, Christian left his job and went to practice yoga in an ashram in India, where he met vegetarians, and continued his exploration of meatless meals.
When he returns to Montreal, he opens a sushi counter on Duluth Street. Once the rent and advances are paid to the landlord, he only has $2,000 left to buy equipment and food.
“I went to RONA to buy wood to make a table because I couldn’t afford to buy a ready-made one,” recalls the restaurateur.
A pioneer of veggie sushi, it took him some time to dare to serve just that, but the enthusiasm of customers gave him confidence and after eight months, he needed a bigger place to meet demand.
Sushi in Paris
Then approached by Dominic Bujold, founder of Sushi Shop and LOV, he joined forces with him to open Bloom Sushi, a Montreal banner that will set up shop in Paris at the end of August.
At the end of 2020, Christian Ventura also started Casa Kaïzen to honor Mexican cuisine in a vegan version, and in July 2022, Bvrger was born because the chef considers it to be the comforting meal par excellence.
“I have tried several vegan burgers and have often been disappointed; it tasted wrong or it seemed too healthy! I wanted to create my own!” says one that appeals to even skeptical American tourists.
Finding employees when you multiply the restaurants is quite a challenge, to the point of having thought of leaving everything. But what Christian Ventura loves most in the world is creating recipes and menus by changing mindsets about veganism.
His mother, who had been so disappointed to see him abandon his medical studies, now lives in Montreal and is ultimately very proud of him. We understand it!
Christian Ventura Group
- Year of foundation: 2014
- Founder: Christian Ventura
- Place of the head office : Montreal
- Activity area : Restoration
- Number of employees: 100
PROFILE OF CHRISTIAN VENTURA
- Job : Chef and owner
- Age : 36 years
- Education: A little bit of everything !
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A vegan chef on the rise
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