Buzz Café is the work of two enthusiasts, Normand Rousseau and Peter Takacs. Having run a café in Montreal for eleven years and then a catering service in Cowansville, they decided to open another café, partly at the request of their clientele but mainly because Peter missed the daily contact
with customers. Whether dropping in for a coffee or a meal, every customer at Buzz is treated like a friend. Peter and Normand adore their customers and that fondness is reciprocated. The two owners will even call some of their regulars to find out how they’re doing if they haven’t seen them for a while. For many people, Buzz is a daily stop where they go for both the food and the warm welcome.
A couple for 27 years, this likeable pair are an efficient team, with Peter handling the cooking and Normand the business side. Few people know how much experience they bring with them. Peter, who is Hungarian, arrived in Quebec 20 years ago after attending the national hotel institute of the former Czechoslovakia. He then studied at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in New York, where he graduated with distinction. After running kitchens for many years, he finally fulfilled his dream of opening his own café. Normand, for his part, contributed his experience in human resources and special events management.
When they are not at the café, Peter and Normand run their catering service, which has a large clientele in TBL. The challenge is considerable because the clients all know one another and the caterers have to constantly think up new menus and presentations. Still, Peter says that his signature dish of roast duck with red cabbage, au gratin potatoes and a caramelized onion sauce remains very popular. His cooking draws on his European roots and emphasizes freshness and healthy eating. What is served at the café on a given day depends on his mood but is always delicious.
Very active in the community, Buzz sponsors organizations such as Hope and the two schools in TBL. A program Peter is particularly proud of is one in which, every month from April to late June, the principal of Knowlton Academy comes for lunch with three pupils experiencing difficulties or from single-parent families. The youngsters may eat anything they choose, for free, visit the kitchens and ask Peter questions.
Among their fondest memories, Peter and Normand mention the people they meet every day, their catering for prominent clients whose names they can’t reveal, but especially a long and wide- spread power failure a few years ago. They were the only place with power and stayed open later and served free coffee and hot soup for days. People mingled and shared the welcome warmth. The two owners still talk about it with stars in their eyes.
This community spirit is what Peter and Normand like most about the region and it is no wonder that so many people come to savour their cooking and bask in their hospitality.
Translation: Brian McCordick