Celebrating 10 years in business, Len joins us to recount the foundation story of The Depanneur.
His self-described ‘interesting place where food things happen’ has become one of Toronto’s most applauded places to find unique experiences for those who love food, community and adventure. The Dep is where anyone who wants to cook for people can find a kitchen and audience – something which is uniquely honest and refreshing in a city experiencing crazy inflation and gentrification.
A must-listen for anyone interested in food, social enterprise, bootstrapping and everything which makes Toronto diverse and amazing.Podcast Transcript
Qasim Virjee 0:29
So welcome back to another episode of The Star Well, Podcast. I’m Qasim and this time in studio with my friend Len Sen, who I haven’t seen for. I don’t know how many years, it’s been a few, quite a few. In a previous life, we were working on projects, maybe 15 years ago, getting clothes that were like that were like web projects for all sorts of clients that you had at your studio, called hypnotic. And one of the anecdotes that I remember recounting to someone, when I was telling them that you’re coming in today was that as a designer, you made at that time, and it still sticks with me, some of the most interesting and, shall we say, involved to implement designs, for web interfaces. This is a time when, you know, CSS was fairly new. And, and some of the interfaces you made like our camp Erawan, right, the local kids camp summer camp. And you really remember, you really kind of wanted to relate the camp experience through the interface. And there was a very cool design for the backdrop for the background, and how it worked into the contextualize the content in that design. And I remember when we worked on that project, it was it stuck with me as something that more people should be thinking in that way. And I’m sure it’s gonna, that that idea of contextualization of human experience is going to work into our discussion today. Anyway, welcome to the studio lens.
Len Senater 2:05
No, thank you very much. I mean, you know, in all fairness, I have to give credit to my business partner, Barry Martin, and our creative director at the time, Brian, how they were, that was that Erawan project, which was very, very beautiful. And I do think kind of ahead of its time really was their babies. So that wasn’t a project that I had my fingers in too deeply. So I wouldn’t want to take too much sure credit for that one. But yeah, I did have a tendency to I had my, you know, I had studied, I taught typography, and I had a sort of a real interest in design. And it was interesting as we got into web, you know, especially in the early days, it was, in some ways a step forward with interactivity. I had also been doing CD ROM development and other kinds of interactive multimedia stories.
Qasim Virjee 2:48
Take a step back there. Did you say cd rom development?
Len Senater 2:52
Oh, yeah. So I’ll take a step away back, we can even we can come up to, to the CD ROM part. So yeah, originally, I studied commercial photography in Montreal. I was from Montreal originally. But I grew up here in Toronto. And then I lived in France briefly. And then I moved back to Montreal to keep my French from atrophying completely. Yeah, study, keep some original photography there. Back when it was on film. And then, towards the end of my studies, I got a demonstration of Photoshop one. And I was, you know, completely, completely smitten, I realized this is definitely where I wanted to go with that. And so I kind of dove in, I volunteered to work in a couple of places that had at that time, sort of high end back equipment, quadros, and stuff like that, and taught myself the early suite of tools as Photoshop before they had layers, even before they had multiple Anduze. So you had to get things right, and you had to understand how it all worked.
Qasim Virjee 3:50
Right? It only worked on blue ink or black ink back then.
Len Senater 3:54
And so we so you know, I kind of built up a toolkit before it was widely taught in schools and then helped my alma mater Dawson, instead of photography set up their first Mac lab. So I got a sense of that and ended up working in that in that area. And then having sort of transitioned out of photography just as that sort of digital revolution is starting to take root I thought all future proof my career and get really good at making CD ROMs. So that it’s two entire technologies that I invested in mastering that became functionally obsolete, right in my lifetime. So
Qasim Virjee 4:31
there’s many more down the road, I’m quite certain Yeah, well,
Len Senater 4:35
you know, so from from those skills, and I moved back to Toronto, I worked in a service bureau, I became a teacher teaching a lot of design technologies, taught typography for a long time and worked and built up a freelance career and then eventually partnered with Barry to work with this company hypnotic, which he continues to run right. And we were partners for eight, nine years and worked on a wide range of of projects, and the company grew, the projects grew, the scale complexity grew. And, you know, there was an effort to try to reconcile what we were doing with our values and our interests. You know, I was a sort of a TED Talk techno utopian for quite a while, yeah, no, I drank the Kool Aid. And I was, you know, very much into this idea that the the theoretical potential and possibility of this digital revolution to deliver, you know, some significant transformations, and you know, things have not always as really gone as planned, right. But there was a place where, you know, when you work in design, you’re,
Qasim Virjee 5:41
but we’re talking, let’s just frame this for the listeners, like which years. So this
Len Senater 5:45
would be the sort of from 2000 to 2010, let’s say for that 10 year period, my, what would be my 30s.
Qasim Virjee 5:52
For all the kids out there, that’s basically the time until Facebook took over the internet, the RE commercialization of the internet post boom, of 1990.
Len Senater 6:03
So, you know, I was excellent. Let’s say I was in photography in my 20s and design in my 30s. And, and then I onto the depth in her in my 40s, and 50s are still TBD.
Qasim Virjee 6:16
I like how you’re staging your life, in decades. And the you know,
Len Senater 6:21
and there’s, there’s another overlay when I was 25, I took a year off to travel around and sort of spent a year abroad when you were 25. Yeah. So after I graduated, but before I came back to sort of dive into the career, I took a year to travel from pretty much around the world, from Valley to Delhi overland, it was an incredible experience at that time sort of backpacking, and what year was then that would be sort of mid 90s. Man. Yeah, so things have changed a lot, I still have a lot of slides, leftover from that period, I even to give you an idea of the difference between then and now. I actually designed and built a portable darkroom, and had an antique folding blackened camera that I could shoot black and white film. Because my idea at the time was when I went to these places I wanted, I didn’t want to simply take pictures, right? If I was going to take pictures, I wanted to be able to develop and print in the field and then give the pictures to the people I was taking. I didn’t want it to just be extractive. And so here I was a long haired hippie backpacker, with a locked black suitcase with, you know, chemicals with chemicals, how white powder is things wrapped in green 911, you know, wires and timers and you know, metal canisters, and they would put it through the X ray machine at the at the airport. They’re like, what’s this? It’s not like socks and underwear? For sure. Exactly. Oh, it’s photography equipment. They’d be like, Yeah, sure. Go ahead. Well, not like
Qasim Virjee 7:41
can’t do that. And, you know, that’s why we all take photos with our phone. Yeah. So it’s all it’s all customs. Yeah, you know, it’s
Len Senater 7:49
changed a lot. So you know, there was there was always this idea of like trying to sort of connect one’s practice with one’s sort of set of values. And then as we got into the design world, you know, design is became the sort of close cousin to marketing, which is sales, which is, you know, part of this whole kind of a growth economy and you’re kind of contributing, you’re leaning in to kind of help people sell more things make more money. And that that isn’t always without some some challenges. And so we tried to figure out how to tie it in. So we like tried to focus on clients that we felt were in areas that we were interested in, really cared about for I tried to focus on clients who were trying to do something worthwhile in the world that had a meaning or purpose other than simply making the most possible money. We tried to encourage our clients to use their marketing dollars to do something genuinely worthwhile in the world, so that people had a reason to actually care about their brand. But then, you know, after 10 years of doing that, there was a point where I had spent so much time trying to convince other people that they should be doing something worthwhile with their time and money. I kind of felt like, why don’t I just cut out the middleman and just spend some time doing something I felt genuinely worth well, with my own time and money. And so I switched gears. I think some of them the luster had sort of worn off, right, the design as the kind of clients got bigger and the projects got bigger and the rates went up to match. Yeah, there was a sort of the bullshit to work ratio started to sort of shift and it got to a point where too much bullshit Yeah, you know, and you had to justify these rates to you know, and it’s like, we’re not talking to the gods, I mean, their skill, but you know, you had to kind of pad everything to justify right, there was all the buzzwords and I just kind of got tired of that side of it and start to feel inauthentic. Oh, agency life. Yeah. And it took it didn’t it took a long time for me to find language around that at the time. I just wasn’t enjoying it and I couldn’t really tell why. Yeah,
Qasim Virjee 9:51
and it was tough in Canada. I remember like the digital agency evolution in Canada was strange compared to other parts of the world where clients I mean, also, you know, we’re talking about clients that ranged from probably nonprofits to SMBs. And then the odd corporate gig, that would be like the big money gig for no work. And between all of them, you wanted to give the same amount of details, you know, thoughtful work, and be charged fairly and equitably. But you know, the budgets weren’t there for everybody, or for for other people, they were the budgets were so huge, and they had no clue what they were buying. And it was the Wild West. And suddenly competition was on scene too, right? So yeah, it was it was a tough time. But I remember in Canada, specifically, the the lens for me was that like, Whoa, how come no one wants to pay for anything. And when they do, they want to be done with it. As soon as it’s over. This was a tough thing for me, when I was then running my studio after that, that hypnotic experience, and developed a really good client list. And all of it was inbound, which was crazy, you know, to think now didn’t need Google Ads back then, people heard about my studio, and they came to us for what we did, which was context sensitive design for communication platforms, you know, bespoke ones. And, and it was funny, because I started like, very early telling people under design guru, which was my banner, that this is going to be the price for this project. And then I had that conflict for the first couple of years of design guru, you know, to drop the we from discussions and just say I, and then own that question mark that some people had, which was, I want to look under the hood and see how much work is being done? Because that’s what I pay for I pay for work. And I was like, No, that’s not what this is about. You pay for the solution? And if the value that had provided Exactly. Things may be different now, but actually, I don’t think they are, I think, I don’t know, we see it with some clientele at the studios, like, on the creative services side of like media production. It’s still the same bullshit and agency world. Depends on the I guess it depends on that, that nature of who you’re working with how they understand why you
Len Senater 12:05
feel like there’s this sort of split, like there’s this corporate level, yeah, where sort of money is no object, and they’re, they’re just sort of swimming in money. It’s not coming out of any one’s pocket, it’s just coming out of someone’s budget, they can afford to pay rack rate for everything. Yeah. And, and then you have, like you said, the small businesses, the individual entrepreneurs who are like, trying to make it work, and the gap between them seems to be growing as part of the sort of larger gap in in overall inequality. And that, and contributing to that gap was something that that didn’t sit with me right in that particular time place. And I felt like that was one of the pressing issues of our of our time and day and I wanted to figure out a way that I could sort of push in the opposite direction, could I do something to bring the, the the poles closer together and create a, an accessible middle ground that people would feel at home in rather than create a service that only the high end could afford. And that’s the direction that I felt my design practice was going. And it was I was getting feeling alienated from from that, and the clients and the goals of the clients. I decided I wanted to kind of refocus around the community where I live, the people that I met on on a human scale experiences that were accessible and affordable. And, you know, in hindsight now that I’m working on telling this story, more explicitly, was informed. For example, by the years that I lived in Montreal, where we have, we had a lot of sort of Bohemian artists types who could only I remember. Yeah, and I mean, one trial was a city, you could afford to be broken, which was one of the things that gave it its magic. And, you know, we did a lot of creative, exciting, rewarding things, but none of them could be fancy, because nobody had any money to spend on them. Yeah. And compare that to Montreal or Toronto, where everyone’s so busy. No, because it’s very expensive. So you gotta hustle hard to make rent to make bank and then there’s not a lot of time and energy and creative energy leftover to reinvest in the creators themselves. And so a response to all of that into the my time in Toronto and my nostalgia for Montreal kind of led me to the next major phase of my professional life, which was founding the DEP center.
Qasim Virjee 14:24
So I’m interested in this. So like, how long did it take you to kind of envision the project or was it pretty organic? There was the depth and are born before we define it and what the dinner was or is,
Len Senater 14:36
well, so there was probably about a year. So like I said, there was a kind of growing unrest internally in me in I was chafing against the nature of the design work that I was doing. But I didn’t really have a good vocabulary for how and why. Right. But the enthusiasm was I was fading. Yeah. And, you know, that led inevitably and I had a business partner who had a family who had ambitions of his own that didn’t necessarily align with mine, I wanted to do great work, I wanted to do interesting work, I wanted to do meaningful work. I wasn’t that interested in doing the most expensive thing and making more money and growing and, you know, didn’t have those kinds of ambitions. And that didn’t necessarily align. And that led to conflict. And eventually that conflict came to a head. And so I, you know, there was a point where I had to make a decision to do other things. And so there was a gap where I had to, to figure out what was I going to do next? Yeah, I had still had a handful of my own clients and work I had to finish up. And it was a tough, that was a tough period, there was a bit of a crisis, there was depression, there was other things that kind of, you know, but I was very fortunate and the support that I was given and other things to help me navigate ahead. I just had a brand new house that I was still trying to renovate the OH MY GOD happened, a lot of things happen all the ones flow. And one interesting thing that came up was I picked up a freelance client was a woman who had done who had worked as a therapist and facilitator for many years. And one of the areas she focus on was change management and individuals specifically, like people who were going to retire and didn’t necessarily know what they wanted to do it really it was, especially when their identity and their value was very wrapped up. In their work. Yeah. And so I kind of offered to basically typeset her work into ebook format for free in return for her access to her as a mentor. And to go through that process with her of examining what were the things that were important to me. And then using that to brainstorm around what kind of things what I liked to be doing and from that process and soul searching and a lot of kicking some ideas around I got a hot desk over at Center for Social Innovation annex when it first opened ROPs
Qasim Virjee 16:52
to this CSI, that’s where that’s where co working for me was cemented as something I could, I don’t know have a hand in as an industry as a
Len Senater 17:02
thing. Yeah, it was exciting for me to to see that people were bringing the sort of ethical dimension into the DNA of the business and that had sort of that spoke to me because that was also a place where I was trying to find sure focus. And so I met a lot of really interesting people there Tanya sirmon The who helped establish I watched and learn from them and like minded community and from all of those conversations emerged this idea of wanting to do something with food because I’d I’d always gone through life stomach first.
Qasim Virjee 17:31
Yeah, tell me about that. Tell me what like even as your travels were they guided by gastronomical? You know, intent? Well, they weren’t a hunger,
Len Senater 17:41
they didn’t weren’t necessarily intentionally led by food, but they ended up the food experiences ended up being among the most memorable and the most meaningful and the ones that you know, if I were to go back in my mind, through the trips, you know, people sometimes have that that mental castle with the different rooms. Sure, you know, to help them I have like the menu of all the different things that I ate in the different places. And so I did kind of remember through my gut and experience through food and it was a real a real, convenient shortcut to memorable and meaningful experiences. And that kind of came to the foreground as I was thinking about it. I mean, the idea of frantically cooking the same thing every day for a bunch of people I never met didn’t appeal to me being a chef, the traditional chef or restaurant I had read burden’s Kitchen Confidential and that pretty much told me I just wasn’t cut out for that kind of macho pirate ship kind of vibe.
Qasim Virjee 18:34
The first time I lived in Toronto was because after McGill I’d gone back to Kenya and was thinking of what to do. I kind of had this food experience as well because I loved cooking I love feeding people but I had yet not experienced hating the dirty side of the hospitality industry and and so I’d applied to Chef schools all over the world and I got in you know, of course all the fancy places you have to pay oodles of money to and I was like yeah, I could wear all sorts of you know, logos on my lapel on my fancy whites and be a court on Blur asshole or I could go somewhere really cool and and I was like this close to going to the spear vineyard in Stellenbosch just just kind of like North I guess of Cape Town and and had all these dreams at the time of as I got accepted there to their cooking school which only had like 18 students or something of creating these amazing you know, Impala medallion you know dress did like for whatever local berry juice. I don’t know I got really kind of I romanticize the idea. I went to South Africa I checked it out is really cool. But something called me back to Canada. This is before we met and I came back here and I was enrolled in Georgia Browns culinary school. I worked at a couple restaurants as a line cook. And within four months, I mean, my knife skills were amazing. I learned everything I could, but I got just abused in those kitchens, totally out of the pages of that book. And like for me, I treated it like a scholastic you know, exercise. So I was just laughing at how ridiculous the people who called this their life was, you know, and, and they didn’t see it that way. So then when I called it quits one day, it was great. It was just a hungover morning, where I basically called him and said, I’m not coming ever again. And was yelled at by the leg head of this particular terrible establishment that’s gone bankrupt since which I’m glad for and will not name on camera. Because it’s shameful that I work there managing deep fryers and drunk people. But yeah, it’s it’s always sad when when you really reflect on it, and you say, Okay, well, this is a field I want to be involved with, because it’s so part of my life. But at the same time, the conventional paths into that industry are. They feel like there’s a constrained narrative for you even there, like as a career path, and then it’s not gonna be fun. So
Len Senater 21:10
that’s sort of what I ran into. I wanted to do something with food. But I didn’t want to be a chef, even the traditional restaurant model, with its luxury and decadence and sort of social signaling just didn’t really appeal to me. This was around a time also, when pop up dining was kind of starting out as a phenomenon worldwide. It was in Paris and London, New York and San Francisco. And there was this really interesting kind of intersection of arts and events and things. It was underground. And it really appealed to me. But I was like, why is none of this happening? Here in Toronto, we have this incredible diversity of talent, we have the ingredients, we have the interest, we have the you know, but you know, and I saw, I looked into it, and the what I kind of concluded was that the costs of setting up the infrastructure to do a one off food event were and the logistical barriers were so high, that only people who were very well capitalized could consider doing it, right. And then once they did that, it made the event incredibly expensive. And then only people with tons of money could go to that event. And then the whole thing became an elitist hipster clusterfuck, that was just essentially not interesting to me. So I kind of came to the coworking kind of conclusion, if I created a place that had all of the infrastructure in place, so that you could do this without having to reinvent the wheel, you could invite a much greater diversity of people to come and participate as cooks, and keep the events much more affordable. A co worked kitchen. Yeah, as a co worker restaurant. Yeah. So it’s essentially kind of what we built. And, you know, we were able to, you know, make it so that we could lower the barrier to participation for the cooks, make it fun and interesting, exciting, give them a lot of creative freedom. And if it’s fun and interesting, exciting for the cooks, it’s going to be more fun and interesting, exciting for the guests. And we could we actually created a social dining experience, it wasn’t a restaurant, you know, people would share a family style meal platters on the table. It’s the only place in Toronto I know where people pass food to each other. And that fundamentally changes the nature of those experience, I thought about the kind of food experiences that I had had, that had meant the most to me that were the most meaningful, the most memorable, they weren’t the ones I spent the most money on.
Qasim Virjee 23:16
No. And so forget those. I
Len Senater 23:18
find that I forget those experiences, they’re commodities, they’re transactions. Yeah, you go you spend, you think it’s great, and then it’s gone. And but the ones that really stick, the ones that you shared with people that you were in an exciting place where you learn something where you felt connected to the food or to the cooker to the story behind what you were eating. That’s what I wanted to create more of. And so that became that was sort of the design brief. Could I keep everything I loved about food, and kind of dodge all the things I didn’t like about restaurants. And it took over this, you know, kind of a bismal Corner Store sort of an inconvenient store.
Qasim Virjee 23:53
Was this a rent? Did you rent that property?
Len Senater 23:55
I signed over their lease? Yeah,
Qasim Virjee 23:56
it’s a really interesting building. It was a bank. We met back in the turn of the century. So has that kind of like, yeah, it has that. I don’t know. How would you describe the architecture of that bill?
Len Senater 24:06
Yeah, it’s sort of like 1850s sort of bank building small town, Ontario. But it has a curve to it. Yeah, it’s on a corner. It was actually a mirror building on the other side of the street. So it’s like faced into this Boulevard. It was one of the few older historical buildings in the neighbor. I had moved into that neighborhood, about a year and a half prior. So I was now living around the corner. And this idea of wanting to invest directly in the community where I live and want to just live there and then hope something exciting,
Qasim Virjee 24:38
yeah, you are interested and contribute and enjoy your neighborhood.
Len Senater 24:41
I wanted I wanted to be part of the community. The first start
Qasim Virjee 24:45
well was very much that as well. ground floor retail 1000 square feet. I got the butcher next door to give me $5,000 as a seed investor. It wasn’t the only money that went into that venture that got lost through a hole in my pocket and paid Back to the butcher in the end, but I wanted someone in the neighborhood neighborhood to de risk that vibe. You know, the place had to feel a sense of belonging
Len Senater 25:12
all bootstraps so this was like I threw everything I had at it. Yeah, took a big gamble. But it was mine mine to make. And you know, I did everything was very resourceful. I mean, everything was repurposed, reused, recycled in an innovative way. I probably spent on that entire place, what some places might spend on their espresso setup. So
Qasim Virjee 25:32
I know that all too well. I have like, literally brought to life, you know, these great machines between these couple buildings of ours. Just because I didn’t want to spend I don’t know how people spend like 20 $30,000 on an espresso machine. It’s
Len Senater 25:44
totally possible. So yeah, we did everything on the five, you know, the everything was, you know, we actually even had a, when we first started, we had a community kitchen drive, we actually had a party and put up posters in a row and said, if you have extra plates, and bowls and spoons, bring them by we’re starting in new communities sweet food space, and we ended up with enough stuff to fill it doesn’t kitchens. Well, why would you want to buy all that stuff? Yeah, all over again, from scratch. They got the community invested in what we were doing, we’re like, oh, yeah, we should go to that place. They have my forks, you know, like,
Qasim Virjee 26:16
and the grandma would be so proud.
Len Senater 26:18
We became like a hospice for unloved mugs, like people felt connected, and it made the place approachable and welcoming. And, you know, I had to learn a lot, I had not come from the food business, I worked in the food business, I knew very little about it. And I, you know, I the in the, you know, after the first year, I had my ass handed to me, I mean, I had run out of all the money I had, I had to sort of shut it down and turn it around and bootstrap it back up in a new format as well, I had had a rigid this original idea that we would be this combination Cafe Corner Store during the day, right? And then I would host these food events at night and a brunch on the weekends. And I thought I had partners originally, you know, we’re good, because you said we Yeah, well, I mean, I tend to use the royal we a lot
Qasim Virjee 27:00
just for all your schizophrenic personalities.
Len Senater 27:03
But also there’s you know, there’s, it takes a village, there’s so many people who’ve contributed for shorter time. But in the end, you know, what I thought were my culinary partners that were going to run the brunch in the cafe one got the other one pregnant, and they moved to Hamilton. And so I ended up also having to do it myself. And then I thought, oh, you know, well, I’ll do this pop up food event in the nights we’ll have our events and then we’ll sell some coffee during the day. I mean, how hard can it be?
Qasim Virjee 27:28
Turns out, the coffee is really telling you, it can eat you alive,
Len Senater 27:32
it’s it was very shy. And in ironically, the stuff that I thought was going to be really hard, turned out to be relatively easy. And the stuff that I thought was gonna be easy selling some coffee and stuff during the day turned out to be so hard that I had to abandon it altogether.
Qasim Virjee 27:46
Any while we’re on the topic, and on that note, for anyone considering, you know, a change in career that would lead them down the path of starting an espresso bar, or a coffee shop, any immediate anecdotes or particular recommendations for
Len Senater 28:03
them. If you’re interested in going into this sort of, you know, sort of third wave, coffee espresso thing, and I’d say work at one, and see what they’re actually doing, get a good handle on how it works. You know, it’s like, I mean, even going back to like, when I studied photography that we had, I learned a lot of things, but I didn’t learn what it meant to actually work as a commercial photographer,
Qasim Virjee 28:24
what they don’t teach you, or they didn’t teach you that they tell you how to take photos.
Len Senater 28:27
Yeah, and I’m not sure that chef school is really going to teach you what it’s like to run a restaurant, you know. And so in the same way, I think you’re gonna, you know, you might want to stay but you know, the experience of seeing how an A successful Cafe actually operates behind the scenes would probably be incredibly valuable. I grated left in, you know, sight unseen. And, you know, and on the one hand, had I come from the food and beverage industry, I don’t know that I would have done this, because it would have seemed like such a bad idea.
Qasim Virjee 29:00
So it’s not even about course, correction, you wouldn’t have been more agile, you just wouldn’t have made that certain decision, I
Len Senater 29:05
think, Well, I would have been sort of set in my way. So the double edged thing here is that it gave me a bit of a beginner’s mind. Yeah, I approached what we were doing in such a strange way. So a typical Yeah, that I was able to create kind of a whole new category of food venue, when one of the challenges has always been for the winner is, you know, whether it’s on Facebook or on the yellow pages, or whatever. It’s like, it doesn’t fit or what was that the web pages back when you had to choose a category under which you wanted your ad to appear? And I’m like, well, it’s not a restaurant. Oh, that’s the worst, but it’s not a banquet hall, but it’s not a cafe. Yeah. And you know, they’re like, Oh, your restaurant, what kind of food do you serve? I’m like, Well, I serve 300 Different kinds of things a year but I never serve the same thing. Sounds like Chinese food. Yeah, but it’s never the same thing twice. So it’s like, I couldn’t even get I couldn’t even get a restaurant review because they would come to eat something and you’d never be able to order that food again. Yeah, so what I was doing was very, very outside of the box, both conceptually in terms of the standard restaurant model. And then as it turned out, you know, it made it hard to fit into very rigid box of city bylaws and, and business structures, which don’t really flex very far to accommodate things that aren’t designed to go in it. So there was a lot of navigating of that. And then that took full advantage of the privileges that I have as a English speaking, white, educated, articulate person to navigate as you know, this complex gauntlet of bureaucracy, and there are a lot of things that if they were that hard for me, I can only imagine how hard they would have been for a lot of the other people who would face similar things. Well, I’m
Qasim Virjee 30:48
sure, I’m sure. I’ve never I’ve once in a while, I’ve actually looked at like bylaws, to slap my wrists on certain innovations that we’ve wanted to do on campus and say, Okay, this is gonna take too many permits, or I don’t even know how we get the permit. It doesn’t say, Yeah, you know, stuff
Len Senater 31:04
like that. Some of the bylaws, you know, you take a look at them. And you wonder when were these written? Yeah, the bylaw that ran my retail food store, for example, had a specific clause that forbid me to sell horse meat in quantities greater than a quarter carcass? Well, I
Qasim Virjee 31:19
tell you, how do you measure that?
Len Senater 31:21
Yeah. And I guess at that, at the time, when that was written, clearly that was a problem, I guess bite size is not an issue. But
Qasim Virjee 31:27
maybe that’s that Oh, that was before Doug Ford too. So that was way,
Len Senater 31:30
way, way before Rob Florida. So we had to, you know, we had to find a lot of ways. So you know, for example, you know, between the licensing and the zoning, and there was a six year battle to get all the paperwork in order. And I wanted, all I wanted to do was host a dinner party and I wanted that party to be BYOB, so people can bring their own drinks and have it with their meal. And that is currently illegal in Ontario. If you take a fundamentalist reading of the liquor laws, everyone is forbidden to drink anything anywhere at any time, except in a licensed establishment or private residence. So I had to come up with I became a kind of a loophole Hunter. And so the dead center became the home of the rush home park Supper Club, which was a private member’s Association, where people would buy a membership to attend a meeting where a free meal would be served. So no alcohol was bought or sold or served. But if members choose to bring their own beverage to their own meeting, I mean, who am I to tell them how to run their meetings. But their membership only lasted one day? So if they wanted to attend another meeting, they had to renew their membership.
Qasim Virjee 32:36
But of course, that’s a that’s a story. Right? That’s a story for a would be inspection by a figment of our imagination, Inspector. Yeah. It’s not necessarily a license that you need to have on the wall. No, but I mean, you had to, because I went through the same process of like, I need to build this story to be credible and relevant to that potential inspector, these inspectors don’t exist?
Len Senater 33:04
Well, there’s a few things those first of all, there’s a crack in everything. And that’s how the light gets in. So you have to kind of figure out the structure of the rules. And then you find the cracks in them, where you can flex to create things that don’t currently exist. And then you’re going into this, I didn’t know how vigorously or rigorously these laws would be enforced. And I ran afoul I had a summons to go to court for operating a victualling house. That’s what they would call a restaurant in the bylaws. To give you an idea of when they were written,
Qasim Virjee 33:37
yeah, back in the stronghold of the Spanish Inquisition. Yeah.
Len Senater 33:41
So you know, so it took a it took a lot of time to figure that out. And there’s also practical politics. I mean, from my understanding in Ontario, all the liquor stuff is administered at the provincial level by the AGC Oh, but they want the enforcement to be done by the municipality by law officers. And so they have this kind of pissing contest where the like, you enforce it? No, you enforce it. Now you pay me, you know, you’re gonna pay for it. And I’m like, I want to know that I won’t do it now. And so like, nobody enforces it. So the other thing is, practicality of scale. This was at a tiny little corner store. We say 24 people, if people have a glass of wine with dinner, the fabric of civilization is not going to unravel. You know, so unless somebody you know, very maliciously knocked us out, yeah, right. Yeah, it was unlikely to stir the pot. Sure. No, I was taking advantage of what was possible at the scale that I intended to operate, you know, understanding that if you go into something that everything we do has to be scalable, and franchisable. And, you know, then you’re, you’re gonna kill a lot of ideas before they’re even had a chance to absolutely thrive.
Qasim Virjee 34:49
It’s difficult because that’s kind of a societal. It’s incumbent upon you to participate in society in such a way that it feeds this, like, bigger, better, faster, more, right?
Len Senater 34:58
Yeah. And so the depth was sort of me shaking My tiny fist at that. And I really wanted to create something of finite human scale was a one man show, it was thing that was created a human scale experiences that were unique and exclusive, not because they were super expensive, but because they only happened once they happen that one time and you shared it with those people. And that’s what made a precious Snapchat before snapped. Yeah, yeah, well, yeah, something like that. But you know, so the a lot of these things emerge. And so from that emerge this place, which became a showcase for culinary talent in the city, there was a time where I was running somewhere in the order of 300, unique culinary events a year.
Qasim Virjee 35:36
How did you source the people that were offering the food like cooking in the kitchen,
Len Senater 35:40
it was a mix. I mean, you know, for example, the depth started around contemporaneously with a progressive thing that was the Toronto underground market, okay, which itself was modeled on a San Francisco underground market now, which had caught my attention at that time. So that market was intended to be sort of a culinary Dark Night Market, where talented home cooks could show off their their wares. And I thought that was super cool. And that was a big inspiration for what I wanted to do. I even went down to San Francisco to try to do some research. And then Toronto created a version called Tom in the Toronto underground market, but it quickly got absorbed by that exact kind of ambition that you’re talking about. And went from being this nascent idea to this, you know, 2000 person, gigantic Brickworks thing with a $50 ticket and our long line up are glorious, and blah, and they burnt themselves out, essentially, you know, and you know, but by the time you were being expected to show up there with 1000, covers of food, you weren’t really showcasing underground talent anymore. You were really cater, you know, so it stopped being underground pretty quickly. And, you know, the scale at which I designed, what I was doing was designed to genuinely underground, but to answer your question. So for example, I would go to the Toronto underground market, there would be people sort of dipping their toe in, and it was a great platform and springboard for a lot of talent as well. I mean, they did, they did fill a niche, it was just a bigger one than mine. And I would go there and say, I love what you’re doing, it’s really cool, there’s a place that you could come and do this, it would be just you instead of you competing with, you know, 50 other vendors. And so I would solicit from them, there’s one food truck was just trying to get some momentum in the city, I would contact those people, there were some Facebook groups that were starting out their food and wine navigator, I would reach out to people there. I would go, you know, to love to markets for farmers markets and food affairs, and you know, tasted the damn for wherever and anywhere I saw interesting food, I dropped my card, a little solicitation letter. But it was really based on those personal connections. And then it was designed to be inherently viral. So in the old school word of mouth, when people came to the dinner, they knew that the person cooking was often not a professional cook. And so then they would go away with this idea. Oh, there’s this place where I know somebody who’s, uh, who loves to cook, they would love to do this. And so they would tell them and, and then the cooks would know each other. And they would have, they’d be working at a restaurant and someone would come on board. They’re like, Oh, you know, you’re really 10 Why don’t you go do a pop up there, as a side hustle, make a little extra cash.
Qasim Virjee 38:14
So it’s a safer over a hip hop cipher.
Len Senater 38:18
Yeah. So over time, it picked up enough momentum. And you know, it’s always been a mix of like, one offs and unique things. And you know, you have total first time amateurs have never cooked for the public and you have fledgling professionals and culinary students and people have just come from out of town. And then you have, you know, seasoned pros who don’t always get the creative freedom, or they want to you’re working at a fancy French restaurant, but you really want to be making you know, Sichuan, you’re out of luck. So we give them a place where they can come in and play. Yeah, so different people come for different reasons. And the accumulation of all of this has, you know, been this incredible richness of food and culture in this little tiny space. So it’s been how many years now? It’s been just over 10 years, that space. So yeah, we know and we’ve done 1000s of different things. We also do cooking classes and workshops, a lot of private events. People got married in that space, you know, we ran French residencies that would last a year and then change over we did a lot of different things.
Qasim Virjee 39:21
It’s interesting because there are restaurants that definitely don’t last anywhere near that long, that either are bootstrapped or ridiculously over financed. And that probably deal with as much, you know, Chef turnover, staff turnover. Okay, not really, but like, the thing is that compared to a restaurant, I guess, there’s a couple questions I have one is the business model question. How does this thing sustain itself or how has it I hope for yourself that you got out of the early financial quagmires of putting everything into this thing.
Len Senater 39:56
Oh, I’m still there. So it still exists. But it did take a while. So There, there are a few sizes. One thing I’ll just say about the restaurant model, as it currently stands is that it’s so expensive to do in the city. So capital intensive, that that tends to constrain creativity in a huge way. Because when the state model when the stakes are so high, that and so
Qasim Virjee 40:20
stakes are so expensive, yeah, then bad.
Len Senater 40:23
People, people basically are looking for the next really trendy thing. They want to jump on it milk it for all it’s worth in cash out. Yeah. And so you end up with a lot of copycat derivative trend chasing, I mean, if I see one more barnboard Edison bulb fish taco like, like lose my mind, right. But it’s, it’s a byproduct of expensive real estate, and it’s high capital costs, and so on so forth, that people can’t take creative risks, right. And so the depth is sort of the opposite of that it keeps the stakes super low, so that people can try and do interesting creative things that might never fly, but might still be worth doing. I mean, we did a night that was a half Haitian half Scottish fusion dinner called foo haggis. Now, I don’t know you’re gonna build a restaurant on that, but for one night, you know, you can do something that’s genuinely creative. And this is exciting. For me, Harry, is actually awesome. Yeah. And, you know, very talented cook. And, you know, really interesting story behind, too. So, you know, as far as the business model, it’s always been a shared risk shared reward model, you know, so we invite, for example, we invite a guest cook to come in, they prepare the meal, and we split the money. And it’s as simple as that they get to use the facility, I provide the the sort of sales, marketing, ticketing, infrastructure, front of house support, they pay for their ingredients, and we divide it up, it’s either, you know, 5050, or 6040, depending on the nature of the event, you know, and the ticket price, you know, so if we, if, if it sells out, and everybody’s happy, we both take home, you know, more than we would have made, working in a restaurant, you know, for the same night, right? If it does really poorly, we both take a hit, and we share the risk, and we share the reward. My ambition, as I mentioned before, was pretty modest. So I went into this with a signing five year lease, saying, if I can get to the end of this lease, and not be any poor, then when I started, I will consider that a success. That’s a great metric. And I actually hit that target. It wasn’t easy. But you know, the first year I was way deeper than I started, yeah. And then picked it up. And then by five years, I had paid off everything I had paid off, and it was back to sort of square one and then I could actually start building from there. And it’s done well, and, you know, well enough, and I don’t need much. I mean, another function is it’s a function of a certain kind of privilege that I have. I mean, I spent 1015 years working design I say, I don’t have a lot of other cripplingly expensive hobbies, you know, I track I don’t have a family, I don’t gamble, you know, I’m not doing other kinds of stuff. So I took what I had, I put it in my house, I live in 1/3, I rent two thirds of my living at my, my room. And you know, and board is pretty cheap. I have the depth. It was and
Qasim Virjee 43:09
when I to nail the millennial Zeitgeist? Well,
Len Senater 43:13
it was, it was made possible because the place that I took over this horrible corner store was really cheap at a crazy old landlord. And the place was a shithole. But the rent was really low. And because it
Qasim Virjee 43:28
was low, you could experiment I could, yeah, you’re not really resisting
Len Senater 43:31
fixing it up. Yeah, I could make mistakes, and those mistakes wouldn’t be catastrophic. And I could pick myself up and figure it out. And over the last 10 years, the you know, the rent went from being a great deal to being a good deal to landlord passing away, the kids taking it over. And now it’s really not much of a deal at all. It’s been it’s gone up and more than 300% Since I started terrible, and but the room hasn’t gotten any bigger. No, you know, and the, you know, the model hasn’t significantly changed. I mean, I you know, I’ve had to adjust pricing, and I’ve added more things, but I you know, I’m essentially maxing out. And so one of the big lessons are the DEP is what is possible when you keep the stakes low, when things are affordable, like Montreal was affordable, like Toronto, as I watch, the city becomes so expensive, I really get concerned about the cost of gentrification, the cost to our culture and to our society and to our, the quality of our lives. When inexpensive things have nowhere to live. You can’t have a vibrant and dynamic food ecosystem in the city at the grassroots, if there aren’t affordable places to make the food and serve the food and eat the food. And so, you know, I’m sort of in transition right now and you know, remains to be seen whether the climate will allow for something like the DEP in this in this new rental landscape.
Qasim Virjee 44:56
Notice difficult especially Yeah, when we talk about the rapidly so escalating commercial real estate pre pandemic. inflationary pressure, it’s it’s doesn’t even there’s no sense to it,
Len Senater 45:09
you know, disconnected from from the earning capacity. Yeah, yeah. And
Qasim Virjee 45:13
of course, is property tax issues and the idea of that, like, oh, suddenly, if a property is worth so much more, because everyone’s paying more to live in that neighborhood, the High Street should be worth more. And then people charging more rent, because they’re like, Yeah, well, everyone’s rich in this neighborhood. So you know, and it’s just an abstract,
Len Senater 45:28
a lot of a lot of things that need to be fixed, I actually became really interested in the sort of larger systemic issues, and I reached out to an organization called the Urban Land Institute that sort of does a lot of sort of consultation on development in cities around the world. I knew the director of the Toronto chapter, and we actually started a roundtable on social purpose real estate, this idea that real estate has other functions, other than as a financial vehicle, other than simply a residence that if if there are no affordable places left, what, what is lost. And we know, we began to try to champion this conversation in a space where I don’t think that conversation was being had. And so you know, I feel like, I’m trying to use the DEP learner as a example. And I’ll give you I’ll give you one example. So you know, about seven, eight years in to the project, around 2016 is when all the Syrian refugee families arrived, right in Toronto, and, you know, everybody kind of wanted, they were stuck in hotels, they didn’t have any way to make food for themselves or for their families. And people wanted to help. And I was like, Well, I want to help. How do I have what what do I have? I have a kitchen. So what can I do? I can put my kitchen at the disposal of other people who don’t have one? Yeah. So we started a project called newcomer kitchen. And we invited the Syrian refugees to come and use our space to share some to make some familiar foods share a meal, bring some leftovers home for their friends. And from that, it kind of grew into this incredible project, which expanded to work with over 80 Syrian families, we turned it into a weekly pop up, we were selling 50 meals a week. And we were using a similar model, we were generating revenue, we were paying the ladies paying for all the ingredients paying for the packaging, and all the overhead costs. And then all the profits were being given to these women. That’s amazing now, and we ran that for three years. And it became, you know, a really high profile project was in, you know, the New York Times and The Guardian. And, you know, the, and Time Magazine, and like, you know, became a really Canadian response to the Syrian refugee crisis. Right. And I think it demonstrated, again, like the possibility of what can be done if profit isn’t the defining metric that everything has to be measured by, right, you know, so we created this sort of nonprofit spin off that builds on the depths DNA of, you know, entrepreneurial support, and food and community building, and, and created this, and it’s now its own standalone, nonprofit organization that’s continuing to work with newcomer women in the city. So, you know, these are the these are the kinds of things that can take root, not because they were funded from the top down, not because they were this act of benign philanthropy by some billionaire. Yeah, right. But simply because, like the dampener itself, because you created a space and held the space, and nature abhors a vacuum, and all this creativity and talent flows in to fill that space, if you can keep the barriers down.
Qasim Virjee 48:30
It’s definitely something that’s intertwined with the ethos here at start well, right, like, we started as a co working space, you know, definitely aligned with technology companies, right. That was the my impetus for founding this company was to create a private sector space. Because I would be free of bureaucratic restrictions, if I was government funded in any way to support the evolution of new technology in this country, and the development of early stage ventures, tech ventures, startups. And then it’s grown because in many ways, we found community and community is in the city so diverse. So even technology is of course, part of everything in society these days. So we’ve had to expand our scope of who we enable on campus and what we do to enable them with so many more services and spaces that are creative, like this one, right, we’re recording this kind of podcast, but around the corner, we have this, you know, fully built out film and photo production space. And it’s funny because it’s like a really terrible business. It’s terrible. It’s funny, because I was just telling someone from the world’s largest, you know, I guess co working flex space vendor I WG group we were talking earlier today. And I was saying that because he was asking me how do you make money in this film stuff like is it great is a terrible I don’t know, we just don’t know, we are not in that business. And I’m like, but you’re the biggest, you know, office space people around and they’re like, but it’s not our business. So it’s very interesting that yeah, we’ve had to go into that a great unknown because we saw a need for our members to have creative space. Right. And the more I scratched the surface, um, I realized that if you wanted to do a film shoot or a photo shoot, and you needed a 2000, square foot psych with, you know, Cornelis walls, where do you go, you have to go up by the airport, you have to go east into film city where you can’t get a booking because all the big lots are booking at the small lots to do things like photoshoots, for poster art and stuff like that when they have talent in in town. Or you go west. And if you’re in a photo studio, it might not be sound treated. So how do independent filmmakers, documentarians, whoever else do interview shots. So I was like, wow, this is definitely ticking all these boxes. But the comps for people coming into book space are still those spaces. And they say, You know what, it doesn’t cost me anything to take my Honda fill it with equipment and drive out to the airport. It does, but they don’t factor in that cost. And so I’d rather go there, if I’m saving $800 on the booking fee. So what’s really interesting is to say, we’re actually sacrificing income, but providing creative space, because we’re offering it on a competitive pricing model. And it’s like, top tier, just like anything else start let’s go gear and grip lighting, everything’s there with the bookings. But, but we’re doing that to enable the people to be able to produce stellar stuff. And we’ve had like, like, we’ve had indie filmmaker, Ryerson groups, university graduates come in there, use the space with the same equipment that the team who just shot you know, I forget his name, but SEMO is his first name. He’s like the new Marvel superhero. And he’s blowing up in terms of being an icon for Asian community globally. East Asians and Asians in general, and such a nice guy, but he was in our studio for notice, because he’s no, this is another great Canadian companies, their brand ambassador for the next year. You know, the same space or something like that this has big scope, you know, has been shot is now accessible because of our pricing model to a recent film studio graduate. But it takes us eating, you know, the potential gains of only going after commercial clients to subsidize in a way the rate that we’re offering people?
Len Senater 52:34
Well, the co working model appealed to me because it was, you know, emerging from this sort of sharing economy ideas, this sort of optimism, the democratization of access. So at the dinner, for example, I have the kitchen in the event space, the main floor in the basement, I took over a second unit, there’s a whole story Oh, how and why, and made it into a secondary prep kitchen, which has always been rented out to a rotating cast of different fledgling entrepreneurs showed entrepreneur so I’m, there’s half a dozen sort of local food brands that have incubated in that space and gone on. And they often carry that DNA with them, when they go and finally outgrow the shared space into their own space, they get a space and then share it themselves with other people. And so, you know, this idea that if you have the space, you can enable things because the sharing of the space is the tool by which you lower the barrier to entry. A lot of the people who have started out in the defender kitchen weren’t ready or couldn’t afford to put down the lease and equip an entire space for their business yet, right. So it gave them away a stepping stone, a launch pad an on ramp on into entrepreneur in entrepreneurialism, that wasn’t readily available. And, you know, I was doing it very, very much at the at the entry level. And then above me, there were some other food incubators for people who wanted to sort of scale up or go national, or you know, so there are different tears at every step along the way. And so you know, you find your niche in that, in that in that escalator, but I also have this idea of like surplus capacity. With the newcomer kitchen model, one of the ideas was how much kitchen space is there in the city that sits idle and empty for how much part of the day couldn’t be used to help newcomer communities to help bright at risk communities of all kinds. So I wanted to show that, hey, that one day a week when I’m not using my kitchen, look what we can do. Right? And so, you know, in that way, you know, I wanted to kind of show by example, the transformative power of simply idle capacity. Oh, yeah. So you have this studio, you have this studio and other space. And so the question becomes, you know, you want to fill it as much as you can possibly fill it but nobody’s filling it. 24/7 The question is, what can you do with it? When it’s not being used? It works into real estate, as well. This is what they call meanwhile, spaces so you know, they are developer takes over.
Qasim Virjee 55:01
Well, if the building like all of our properties, redevelopment property, our landlord will knock it down and build condos or some sort of like mixed retail living space in the next 510 years. Yeah.
Len Senater 55:12
So what are we doing in the meanwhile? And so there’s a lot of opportunity there. And I do, I do feel like, those are the cracks that we talked about. Yeah, the light gets in. Yeah, they create opportunities to do things where the regular market has made those things inaccessible.
Qasim Virjee 55:29
I think that tell us a little bit about the new project, because I think it’s an evolution of this, the book, the book has 300 recipes.
Len Senater 55:36
So it’s 100 different recipes by 100 different chefs who have cooked at the dinner over the last 10 years. So as we ran into COVID, you know, I had to sort of shut down the majority of all of the sort of in person activity that we did. So we kind of had to reinvent a new model as a pickup only food venue. So we still invited guest cooks, they would come in, they would develop a menu. But it was for pickup only we were doing that twice a week, we had to shut down the brunches and the private events. And so we kind of went back to a skeleton kind of operation. But, you know, what we learned was that this pickup model actually had other strengths and weaknesses, and that we could do a higher volume that we could use to be able to fit right in the space. So we were able to offset that. But while we were sort of navigating this COVID space, try it again, think what can I do with what I’ve got I have this surplus time capacity now. And we you know, we were hitting this 10 year mark, and I decided why don’t we do something that supports the community of cooks that we have and tells the story of what we’ve done. So I decided I wanted to make a cookbook that told the story of the depth or the showcase this incredible diversity of talents. I’ve never really seen a book that actually looks like the people who cook in the city. Yeah, so we have 80 different nationalities in this one book. And then I did some due diligence and did some research, I quickly discovered that the only business model worse than the food business model is the fruit cookbook business model. So it became clear. So essential to the Deaf learners. ETHOS is people get paid for what they do, we might be able to pay a lot. But we dignify and we respect we don’t get people to do things for free for exposure, right? If I was going to invite 100 People, I’m going to pay them all an honorarium for being in it. And I realized that that was simply not going to be possible with the kind of money that was available for Canadian cookbook for a brand that may not be well known. It’s not a celebrity chef. So we put it took it to Kickstarter. And that’s really a big lesson there with 10 years of building a community who genuinely cares about what we’re doing what we’re trying to do, who we support, they really rallied around this project. So this Kickstarter for the cookbook, ended up becoming the most funded Canadian cookbook project ever. Wow. And we were able to sell over 700 advanced copies of the book that didn’t yet exist and raise enough money to take the photographer to hire amazing photographers and new high tech. She herself was one of the cooks glaube, looked at the deaf enter, and has now become a published cookbook, food photographer. This is her third cookbook. And, and we been creating this book and so we’ve been we’re, we’re, we’re if we shot in like 97 out of the 100 recipes already in the farm. And we’re interviewing all of the chefs and talking to them about their relationships to food. And again, not necessarily being professional chefs, these are a huge range of diverse kinds of people who have done her sharing their recipes. And there’s so much incredible storytelling in there, that’s not going to fit into the book, that we’re actually thinking of trying to build out a podcast that really unpacks the stories of the food. Yeah. And in in anticipation of the book, which has just recently been picked up by Simon and Schuster. Congratulations to the whole community. That’s yeah, but But you know, when you get in with a big company like that, you kind of get in line with all the other projects they have in development. So it’s a big sales cycle and stuff. So it’s not going to be in the world till 2023. So in the meantime, what do we do to kind of build anticipation for what’s going to be in there. And so we’re looking at, at telling those stories, amplifying those voices in some interesting way. And I’m actually looking at taking a little bit of a break after 10 years of this, I’m actually kind of gearing up for a sabbatical. We’re talking about themes and overlapping cycles and periods. So when I was 25, I took a year off and traveled around the world now I just turned 50. So congratulations, you made it. Maybe I’ll do that again. So their quarterly report, I’ll check in every 25 years. We’ll do it again when I’m 75 Probably won’t do it when I’m 100. So you know, his well Carpe Diem, man.
Qasim Virjee 59:40
So what do you have plans for that year? Well abroad or a year off? I should say
Len Senater 59:44
All things considered, you know, it’s really hard to make those kinds of plans. We’re not out of the woods yet. Oh, definitely. So if COVID has been one thing, it’s been an exercise and living in the moment, right, but so yeah, I definitely hope to do some traveling. I definitely hope to do some eating, you know, and And rest and you know, but also sort of gather wool and sort of sort through the experiences of the last 10 years, and use them to sort of define where I want to take the tepin or next.
Qasim Virjee 1:00:11
Well, it was an absolute pleasure. I’m looking forward to that podcast. And I’m sure we’ll talk offline about helping that be produced and it will be very cool. And it’s been a pleasure to hear about the whole story. And of course, start well, in whatever way we can help is here.
Len Senater 1:00:27
Amazing. Thank you so much. It’s a pleasure.
Qasim Virjee 1:00:29