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Picture-perfect burgers are part of this young Heyden restaurateur's philosphy

But pizza is his favourite dish. Mike Vachon opened Zzazen Home Style Eatery last June

'Zazen' is a sitting meditation that's meant to give insight into your true nature of being.

When businessman/entrepreneur Mike Vachon realized no one would invest in his dream of building a self-sustainable restaurant, he made the decision to invest in himself. 

On June 1, 2019 at the age of 24, and with no formal business training he took the plunge and opened ZzaZen Home Style Eatery. The name was derived from his fascination with Eastern philosophies. 

"My reason for opening this business is to learn on a smaller scale so I can survive through the learning curve of being a business owner. You don't want to bite off more then you can chew," said Vachon.

"I have around 10 years of experience in the industry. I watched a lot of Food Network growing up and I started cooking very young. In those 10 years, I took lots of mental notes on what to do and not to do, from my past employers," he said.

In the years leading up to opening his business he had various jobs ranging from kitchen help to cooking.

Prior to opening his business, Mike worked at an Indian restaurant.  This allowed him to draw from the experience and knowledge gained and he feels he is now better able to incorporate those flavours into his North American cuisine.

"My specialty is pizza. Each individual pizza (zza as I call it) is a blank canvas ready to be painted with delicious ingredients customized to the individual ordering. And burgers. I like to assemble them to look picture-perfect each time. I take pride in my burger topping process," said Vachon.

He indicates he does cook vegan if requested and currently is in the process of bringing in some vegan supplies.

Zzazen Home Style Eatery is in Heyden at 770 Hwy 17N, at the corner of Highway 556. 

"Our team so far consists of two waitresses and a baker and myself. We are open Tuesday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and closed Monday," said Vachon

"My interests started with the idea that I could change how we operate this industry."

"My future plan would be to create a self-sustainable restaurant — one where we grow our own produce, raise our own livestock and produce our own energy. It's time for this industry to lower its carbon footprint and start serving healthy nutrient-dense food. "

When asked what piece of advice he would give to other young entrepreneurs he responded, "You don't need to have everything figured out to start your journey. As long as you're OK with the idea of learning from your mistakes, you're ready! Take the next step!"

What has Vachon learned so far?

"One slice at a time. We need to pay attention to the small stuff and not just the overall big picture. I'm learning to take it easy. You got to crack a few eggs to bake a cake."