She is living her “Quebec dream”

Inside Montreal, journalist Louis-Philippe Messier travels mostly on the run, his office in his backpack, on the lookout for fascinating subjects and people.

She is living her “Quebec dream”

Inside Montreal, journalist Louis-Philippe Messier travels mostly on the run, his office in his backpack, on the lookout for fascinating subjects and people. He speaks to everyone and is interested in all walks of life in this urban chronicle.

In just four years in Quebec, a young Moroccan woman has gone from dishwasher to associate boss in a business. If some speak of the "American dream", the latter realizes her "Quebec dream".

Kaltoum Joukarrid does not yet have citizenship and the right to vote, but she already owns shares in a famous artisanal sausage shop where she has made herself indispensable.

"She is so dependable, hardworking, organized and kind that I couldn't risk losing her, especially when labor is scarce, so I decided to partner her permanently by giving her 10% of company,” explains chef Felipe St-Laurent, founder of the sausage shop Ils en fument du bon, based at the Jean-Talon market.

Nothing seemed to predestine this shy woman, who avoided looking men in the eye and who barely spoke French, for the role of team leader.

"I grew up in the mountains with my grandmother, no electricity and no school, we only spoke Amazigh [the Berber language] and I learned Arabic late when I arrived in town at the age of 10. years old," recalls the third in a family of eight children.

Moving to Quebec? It wasn't in his plans.

"I married a Quebec engineer who worked in Morocco and I thought I would follow him according to his contracts in South Africa or Saudi Arabia, but one day he missed his country too much and he said to me: 'Do your suitcases, we're going to Quebec”... and there, I found myself in Repentigny. »

In this radically different context, her marriage did not hold up.

"We parted amicably. He would have liked a family life in the region. I longed for a more independent existence in the city. »

As soon as she obtains the right to work, Kaltoum comes to distribute her CV at the Jean-Talon market.

“In an interview with They Smoke Good, I was asked if I mind making sausages with pork since I don't eat it, and I said, 'No, I want to work.' Work is one thing, and religion another. »

“If I make a dish with pork, I show it to all the staff and get their opinion, that's all. »

Work your way up

Hired in 2017 at the age of 25, she struggled with diving for two months. Then she learns to prepare the ingredients for the sausages. Then, she becomes sous-chef, then chef. Finally, boss.

"I thought it was a joke that Felipe was playing on me that he wanted me as a partner, but I realized it was serious when we signed the papers in the fall of 2021... I was very moved and very proud! »

With little education, the new boss has a dazzling memory: she can say the exact date she started a particular position... And she learns quickly.

“I had to learn to write French on the job... Now I can manage. »

She manages 12 employees and plans production. His famous initial shyness? Disappeared.

"I have my own place and a job that I love, good colleagues and my freedom," she says.

"This is where I see my future, I don't want to go back to Morocco: I'm preparing my citizenship application. »

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