Leo and Stephanie moved to Bonavista, Newfoundland in May 2019 to get a little bit more fresh air.
The flourishing entrepreneur's haven in rural Newfoundland that has steadily recovered from the economic and culturally devastating cod moratorium of the early nineties drew the couple to its rugged shorelines. In a matter of months, Leo and Stephanie bought a house and left the stifling city life and all the comforts (and cuisines) that come with a city topping 750,000 people behind.
With an interest in local cuisine, food security and sustainability and nutrition at the forefront, Gillis Naturals was born.
the mushroom growers
Leo Gillis was born in Stephenville on the west coast of Newfoundland, but moved to Ontario at a young age.
With a lifelong interest in fitness, martial arts and natural foods, it was not a stretch to become a mushroom grower as Leo was always cognizant of the huge health benefits of eating mushrooms.
Leo is working to expand his culinary knowledge as a student of the College of the North Atlantic Cultural Culinary Arts & Tourism program after a summer working as a cook at the famed Boreal Diner.
Leo is a co-founder of Gillis Naturals and oversees production, product development and processing.
Born and raised in Mississauga, Stephanie always considered herself a City Girl. After attending an arts high school as an art major, Stephanie pursued photography at Sheridan College and worked as a fashion and portrait photographer as well as graphic designer and social media and marketing director. Sometimes Stephanie would do bold things like work on a cruise ship in Hawaii or live in the Philippines.
It was not until her 2017 trip to Leo's home town of Stephenville that Stephanie fell in love with Newfoundland and just a little over a year later suggested that maybe their next adventure might be found in Bonavista.
Stephanie is a co-founder of Gillis Naturals and oversees marketing, sales and art direction.