Shanine DennillOwner, President & CEO
One could say I naturally wanted to be vegetarian when I was young but I didn’t know there was an option to. I remember struggling to eat meat, frustrating my poor mom as it took me a long time to chew and swallow a piece of steak. Watching a chicken being cooked and eaten grossed me out!
When I began yoga, like Clayton, I naturally started to change the way I ate. I didn’t want to eat animals (started to make the association that this food on my plate once was a cute and cuddly animal). I am a HUGE animal lover by the way! Slowly over the years my eating habits changed where I started to avoid dairy. I still keep learning the depth of veganism and healthy eating from customers, employees, documentaries and books.
Meeting Pete (our co-owner and amazing chef) made me realize even more how great healthy, vegan food can taste. The first time I started eating healthier, my stomach made funny noises and had complete conversations with me that it still wanted the processed foods. By slowly eating healthier, everything started to change. With yoga and healthy eating, my life is so much more joyful and fuller. I encourage everyone to just try it and slowly start to introduce it into their lives.
My yoga practice sensitized me to the impact I was having in all areas of my life and within a year of starting yoga I had naturally evolved to vegetarianism, without force or a feeling of deprivation. This upward spiral of lightness continued and 4 years later being vegan seemed like the next natural step. Somewhere along that journey, Shanine and I decided to open a yoga studio and small tea room and with the help of Pete, that tea room idea expanded to become The Naked Sprout.
The Naked Sprout’s growth (even the name, donated by my sister, Jo) has been organic and alive, contributed to by so many people with whom we share this journey and it continues to evolve and grow and hopefully achieve our vision of sharing the joys of healthy eating and living. I love what we stand for and that our planet-saving choices are rippling outwards from our little corner of the earth. Yoga and healthy eating brought me sanity and helps me maintain it.
Owner, Director of Food Operations & Executive Chef
I try to live a life that is pure, natural and non-threatening to this planet. And to eat good food. I began to dedicate my energy and focus to preserving it once I became educated about the very real and serious impact that our actions bear on our environment. Through this choice I’ve found a profound respect and deep connection with this place that we call home.
My journey began several years ago after losing 100 pounds and consequently becoming more health conscious. I eventually realized this passion for environmentalism and vegan cooking would be a career I would always be fired up about, which, in my books, is key. With the knowledge extracted from vegan cuisine prep courses attended in the States, my own exhaustive research and endless hours in the kitchen – I could’t wait to get cooking.
I was fortunate enough to reap invaluable work experience at a well loved raw food restaurant in Toronto, Live Food Bar. After my time there an opportunity arose for my own endeavor, Wild Seed Cafe & Juice Bar, which opened in a local Burlington yoga studio. I learned, very quickly, the behind-the-scenes action of running a business and surviving in the food services industry – which as a one-man operation was quite tricky! That said, it seems that for everything taken, there is always something given and the Seed gave me the lucky chance to befriend both Clayton and Shanine, who ate at the cafe frequently. Fast forward, and the three of us find ourselves in partnership and excited to bring something fresh and flavorful to Burlington with The Naked Sprout.
Owner, CFO & Director of Marketing
Coming from a proud Hungarian background, and having the opportunity at a young age to travel with my family to many beautiful European countries, I enjoyed extraordinary experiences within the food cultures of many nations. My parents will tell you that by the age of 10 or 11, we had a full-service restaurant right in our own kitchen. I was the Executive Chef, and my younger sister was the Superstar Server.
This love of food preparation, especially exotic and unusual dishes, led me to a culinary degree.
Putting that aside, my passion with food now takes the form of research and study in Holistic, Ayurvedic, TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), and Living-Foods Nutrition. Having been diagnosed over 32 years ago with Multiple Sclerosis, I discovered the connection between "dis-ease" and poor nutrition. It is over 7 years now that I made the choice to be Vegan, and for the past 2 years, I eat over 70% raw and feel better than I did when I was in my 30's (not that I want to give my age away, lol!)
As a mother & grandmother, I truly feel that the best thing that I can teach my family, by leading a good example, is to eat a natural, plant-based diet!
Being a part of the Naked Sprout not only nourishes me nutritionally, but it also nourishes my spirit and soul!
Owner, Director of Operations
Within the past four years, I have made considerable changes in the way I live my life, both spiritually and nutritionally.
Having spent most of my life living a very athletic and active lifestyle involving various sports, I put considerable demands on my body, without realizing the negative effects of consuming a SAD (Standard American) diet!
May 2009 was a turning point for me! Although outwardly, my physique gave the appearance of a perfectly healthy guy, I received very frightening health news that motivated me to make drastic changes within my lifestyle and turn to Veganism and Raw-foodism. I know now, that had I followed a Vegan lifestyle decades ago, I would have had the ability to compete at a much higher level, and avoid serious health issues.
From the moment Angel and I first stepped into the Naked Sprout when they first opened, we felt a part of the vibrant energy, spirit and love that the Naked Sprout is all about!
I have to say that embracing the Naked Sprout's philosophies enables me to fulfill my passion of helping to educate, and be a part of people's transformation to a Vegan life.
Today, feeling fantastic, in optimum health, and living a very full life that includes yoga, veganism, and spirituality, I realize that these choices are the best ways to honour myself fully!
Front of House Manager & Marketing Assistant
My name is Nadia. A name that I'm still slowly learning to love and in learning its significance I realize that its perfect for me.
Purchasing & Inventory, Manager on Duty/Server
I have as many passions as I do breaths per day. They range from leading a Veganic way of life, adventuring and exploring, to learning about forest gardening, permaculture, natural health products, personal fitness, peak performance, engaging in yoga and applying its lessons to every moment of life. I feel most at peace when out in nature. I believe that if everyone did their best to mimic the simple teachings of balance, diversity, interconnectivity, and continual adaptation that nature brings, we would naturally evolve to becoming care takers of all life on earth.
For the last year of my life, I took the corporate route working for Whole Foods, and choosing to focus on building skills and becoming as competitive as possible to move up the corporate ladder. I realized that I was losing my passion and my connection to my heart during this process. I chose to work at The Naked Sprout because it has heart, it is clear from the moment you walk in that it was built on a foundation of love, mutual trust, and understanding. Vegetarianism, or Veganism, is more then caring about the health of yourself, of others, the environment, resources, or sentient life; it is about transforming consciousness from one of competition, to cooperation. It is clear to me that The Naked Sprout reflects these things.
Manager on Duty/Server
I was born and raised in Mississauga my whole life, and just moved to Burlington a few months ago with my boyfriend. What a long way I’ve travelled! I love the more laid back lifestyle out here. I’ve been vegetarian for 5 years now after choosing my health over those “nutritious” happy meal burgers I got every day for lunch at school. Growing up in an Italian family, it was never the easiest going vegetarian. Tempted by meat balls and meat lasagna at every dinner, it was a challenge at first. ‘Til this day my Nona still thinks her chicken parmesan she makes especially for me is a vegetarian dish. :-)
I chose to work at The Naked Sprout because it fit my lifestyle so well, a great mixture for my love of food, health and a great destresser (is that even a word?) for me, yoga. I love to share my knowledge of health with others and hopefully it will help someone out one day. Oh, and if you were wondering, my favourite dish here is the Burger. Try it out! ;-) xo
Manager on Duty/Server
Hey I’m Sarah! I’m a big health nut and very passionate about whole foods and living a healthy and sustainable life in respect to all living things and the environment. I am totally vegan and LOVE food. I spend all my free time in the kitchen making yummy raw foods..a lot of desserts because I have a major sweet tooth and I love to experiment and come up with my own recipes! If I’m not in the kitchen I’m either doing yoga, working out, hiking, reading or with my amazing boyfriend (and best friend) Sean. I was a runner for 8 years in Track and Field running the 100m, 200m and relay. It was a big passion of mine. I’m now going to be attending school for Holistic Nutrition and am so excited to continue learning and increasing my knowledge of living this amazing lifestyle that I chose. It’s really awesome to have the opportunity to work with such wonderful people here at The Naked Sprout who share similar interests and who really care about the environment and of course healthy, sustainable foods! So I hope to see you all in The Sprout enjoying the amazing food created by our awesome chefs!
Workshop & Administration Coordinator, Server
Hey, I’m Heather. I’ve been at The Naked Sprout almost since it opened, and have seen it go through so many changes and become the amazing place it is today – with more exciting changes to come! The Naked Sprout is a very important part of my life – I love my co-workers, the food we make, and educating others on why we make the choices we do.
I began working here because I was super interested in learning more about vegan food – and I’ve learned a lot! At home I’m always experimenting in the kitchen with my husband being my usual guinea pig. He’s still with me, so I guess I’ve been doing alright!
When I’m not at the Sprout, I love to get outdoors (in the warm months!) – hikes, picnics, gardening, farmer’s markets, laying in the sunshine. My family is very important to me, and I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful one! I enjoy all sorts of music, but my favourite is country – recently I took a trip to Nashville which was A-MAZ-ING!! I hope to do some more traveling in the next few years – Hawaii and Italy are at the top of my list!
Greetings! Originally I am from Sarnia, ON however I “grew up” and have lived in Burlington for the majority of my life. I am so excited to be part of this amazing team and to hopefully share some great experiences with all of you! Yes, you!
As a performing artist I have always found it difficult to find jobs that satisfy me as much as when I’m working in the arts. Over the past few years I have been slowly but surely defining myself as a person. I graduated from Randolph Academy for the Arts in 2009 where I trained in singing, dancing and acting. While in school I began to develop an interest for health and nutrition. Little did I know it would become such an important part of my life.
Since then I’ve grown as a person and with that my passions for Arts and Heath grew as well. While looking for ways to optimize my health, specifically to stay healthy and strong while working on contract, the idea of becoming vegan entered my mind. The seed was planted, if you will. When I returned from my contract I immediately stopped consuming dairy and almost immediately noticed major changes in the way I felt. Shortly after this journey started I reconnected with my now girlfriend Caitlin, who had made major changes in her life as well. Everything she explained to me about the “whole food plant based diet” made sense to me, and with her support I made the change. The seed had “sprouted”. That was in March 2012 and I haven’t looked back since. I’ve been trying to absorb as much information as possible about whole food living and have only benefited. My life has been changed forever.
Since working at The Naked Sprout I’ve never felt so satisfied as a person. Being able to come to a workplace where many of my own core values are shared has been such a blessing. I love being able to work where I can stand behind what I do with confidence and integrity within my own community. Not to mention that I get to work with this lot of incredibly talented, interesting, and passionate group of people. I’m convinced the staff here is second to none.
I look forward to serving you!!
Jane De Castro
Executive Chef & Manager on Duty
Growing up in a family of food lovers, Jane has been involved in food preparation for as long as she can remember. She got started helping her mother make many traditional Filipino dishes (among other things), and by the time she was sixteen she was already working as a server and finding her love of bringing food together with the people who want to eat it. Whether it’s manning the counter at a bakery, or feeding musicians at local festivals, there is nothing Jane enjoys more than feeding people food she has made with love. Before moving to Burlington, Jane’s tireless work ethic and undeniable way with the public helped make Schoolhouse Gluten-free Gourmet an award winning success. So whether you see her at the market or get one of her dishes off the line, she hopes you can taste the love!
I began to live healthy for myself because of hereditary issues with males in my family. After years of playing with how I consumed food, guidance from friends and how I saw myself on this planet, I started to live vegan.
No matter how you eat, there will be an art to preparing food. I take pride in preparing a healthy way for my own body to feel good. It feels very natural to train my mind and body to get the most out of climbing rock and being outside as well. Helping the transition from earth to plate is fulfilling. Thank you Naked Sprout for giving me this opportunity!
Be diligent, practice gratitude
Fresh, Full Of Flavour, Natural, Nutty, Vibrant, Fun, Lively, Colourful & DELICIOUS! Words that can only begin to describe how I live my life!!!...and how I feel about working at The Naked Sprout :)
My love for food comes from my mom who is hands-down the best cook in the world! Our Korean background is a huge influence on my style of cooking and being in the kitchen is where I find myself. As a wife and mother of 2 young children, I continue to strive to teach my family the importance of making good food choices for life.
Prepping in a vegan kitchen is SO DIFFERENT than conventional cooking/food prep! I am constantly surprised and amazed at what is possible when it comes to creating vegan fare. I have learned so much thusfar and continue my education in plant-based nutrition in the form of outrageously good food at TNS!
I became vegetarian when I was 12, and it started my love affair with food. My love of being in the kitchen started around that time because I was vegetarian and both my parents weren’t, so I had to learn how to cook. I went to art school after high school, then decided to turn my energy toward learning more about cooking and nutrition. I studied vegetarian culinary arts and baking arts at George Brown, and then took off to Paris to learn pastry at Le Cordon Bleu.
Falling into being the dessert chef at The Naked Sprout has been a dream come true. I love the challenge of making raw vegan desserts! I fell head over heels with this place the first time I came in for lunch and I feel so lucky to get to be a part of making it delicious, and flexing my creative muscles. Having access to wonderful yoga is just the raw vegan icing on the delicious cake I just made for our awesome patrons!
After countless delicious meals at The Naked Sprout, I knew I wanted to work here in order to help spread the word about healthy eating and living. It seemed like a natural fit for me, given that I have been vegan for a few years, and recently gluten-free, and am passionate about animals and health. As the workshop coordinator, I get to help educate others on how to eat healthy and how to bring more plant-based meals into their diets. It’s exciting to watch people learn ways to improve their health while eating delicious and nourishing foods.
When I’m not organizing workshops for The Naked Sprout, I spend my time rock climbing, running, practicing yoga, teaching yoga and spending time with my husband and two beautiful cats.
I hope to see you at our workshops very soon!
I’ve always been interested in leading a healthy and active lifestyle. Growing up I played many sports both in and outside of school, and by fifteen I was working as a certified snowboarding instructor. My interest in healthy eating is, however, much more recent. While I’m still learning, the changes I’ve made (and continue to make) aiming towards healthy, responsible, and sustainable eating, have given my life some much needed energy and positivity.
With the bulk of my athletics days behind me, I now identify wholeheartedly as a musician. I’ve played in numerous bands as a guitarist, bassist, drummer, and most recently front-woman. Because music is something that makes me feel so passionate, I love working alongside the passionate staff at The Naked Sprout. The way they all bring so much vigor and integrity into the workplace and their everyday life is both inspiring and motivating. I love knowing I have so much to learn and gain from this place and all the people here.