Ray Martin

President - Toronto, Canada

Passions:

Ray Martin

I have a true passion for my work as I believe quality ingredients can help transform your life. As a devoted husband and father of four, I can attest to the positive effects that using Qualifirst products in our home have made on our family.

At a time when I was struggling with weight gain, I decided to radically change my diet. But I didn’t want to eat healthy food just for the sake of it being healthy; I still wanted to experience the full flavours of the meals I prepared. Using quality ingredients and preparing my own meals really changed things for me. I knew what I was eating was healthier because I knew what was used in preparing them, and it took less time to prepare a healthy, delicious meal from scratch than it did to order out or go to a restaurant. I benefitted in more ways than one.

My family now makes a habit of creating easy, quick and delicious meals every day simply by utilizing our products. We don’t need a host of extra elements to make great food; all we need is a few quality condiments or seasonings. The difference between a roasted chicken seasoned with sea salt and pepper available with Qualifirst, and the same dish prepared with traditional salt and pepper, is like night and day. There is no comparison. They also make an amazing difference on grilled meats. You don’t need a fancy béarnaise sauce or complicated gravy to enhance the flavor and enjoy a gourmet meal. Sometimes just one or two quality ingredients such as salt and pepper are more than enough.

Our kids also notice the difference now. Our youngest child really enjoys eating salad and he’ll complain if he doesn’t get it. That’s because we always serve our salad with a simple Mediterranean dressing made from quality Dijon mustard, olive oil and vinegar – items we always have on hand for a variety of uses. When the kids spurn traditional kid-meal favorites and restaurants and insist on fresh homemade food that’s quick and easy to prepare, you know it tastes great. Our kids also love green beans sautéed in a little soy sauce, olive oil and garlic procured from Qualifirst. They won’t eat green beans at a restaurant, but they can’t get enough of them at home.

I care greatly for my family’s health and enjoyment, as well as my own, and that’s why I have such a passion for my work. To me, it all goes hand-in-hand in creating a quality life.

As you might expect, I’m also passionate about exercising and staying fit. Persevering with a workout regimen, as well as my change in diet, helped me go from a Size 40 to a Size 32 in just six months in 2002. Keeping that weight off now is easy with regular exercise, and I still get to enjoy great tasting meals. I enjoy travelling and am thankful to have had the opportunity to travel extensively with my family so we are rarely apart.

During my free time, I read a great deal and am constantly on the lookout for ways to improve Qualifirst, researching the internet for new trends and technologies. My values are closely concentrated on family, duty, work and ethics and Qualifirst has helped me combine all of those facets together for a truly enjoyable way of living.

Experience:

I first met Yves Farges during a chance encounter at a Toronto restaurant in 1985. I was working as a busboy during my first year of school at the University of Toronto. A snow storm had attracted the full attention of the other restaurant workers to the window, and Yves noticed that I was the only one who persisted to work. We formed a lasting friendship and in 1987, I began doing weekly deliveries for Qualifirst, then still in its infancy.

After working my way through school as a busboy, paper carrier, line cook, gate guard and entrepreneurial painter, among others, I began working full-time for Qualifirst as a Sales Rep in 1988. I finished my last few credits at U of T during that time by taking night classes and received a Bachelor of Commerce degree.

On the recommendation of Yves, I went to work for Club Med for a season in 1991. There, in Guadeloupe, I met my wife, Brigitte, who was from France and working there for the season as a nurse. I came back to Qualifirst as the Junior Operations Manager in 1992 and married Brigitte in August of 1993 after numerous trips between Montpellier and Toronto. In September of that year, I was promoted to Operations Manager and have served as President of Qualifirst since 2008.

Favourite Products:

It would be extremely difficult for me to choose one Qualifirst product I prefer as I chose most of the lines with Yves, and have tasted every single item the company carries. So I love all of them and use them frequently at home. That being said, it would be very difficult for me to replace Cluizel's 85% 30g chocolate bar which I use as a snack.

Favourite Quote:

Expect good people to do great things, and they will.
“I’ve learned over the years that when you have really good people you don’t have to baby them. By expecting them to do great things, you can get them to do great things. The original Mac team taught me that A-plus players like to work together, and they don’t like it if you tolerate ‘B’ work.
Steve Jobs