Simeon Denholme was born and raised in Kitimat and is now sharing his love of food with others through his bakery/restaurant. (K-J Millar/Kitimat Northern Sentinel)

Simeon Denholme was born and raised in Kitimat and is now sharing his love of food with others through his bakery/restaurant. (K-J Millar/Kitimat Northern Sentinel)

Some venture far but always return home as local Kitimat business owner Simeon Denholme recounts his life

Denholme returned home to be closer to his father and upon returning met his eventual wife

Some never venture far from home while others always find themselves returning to where they first laid their roots.

For a local Kitimat resident and familiar face in the community, there was always just one place he would call home. Simeon Denholme, 42, was born and raised in the Kitimat area. He does note, however, the times have certainly changed in the city since he was a child.

“The streets were full of kids playing street hockey and I can’t complain, I was very blessed to have grown up here,” said Denholme.

As a kid growing up in Kitimat, Denholme said he enjoyed his time being outside playing street hockey or spending time in the bush exploring. Denholme theorizes that it may be that parents felt safer letting kids play in the streets due to less crime, or simply that everyone was blissfully unaware.

Denholme, much like many others aspired to leave Kitimat when he would get the chance. He found that chance at the age of 30 when he moved down to Victoria B.C., to pursue the culinary arts. He attended Camosun College where he would learn his craft in being a chef.

“I trained and apprenticed at the Mariott Hotel in Victoria and a few other small places,” Denholme said.

He would remain in Victoria for five years working in the culinary field before he decided to make the move back to Kitimat.

His move was motivated by the want to be near his family once again. At this point his father had cancer and Denholme wanted to be closer to home and be able to spend time with his dad.

Coming back home and making a major move is never easy but Denholme found himself working at the Mr. Mikes here in Kitimat and was the kitchen manager.

Shortly after moving back to Kitimat Denholme would also meet his wife Valerio at the Chilly & Dancer’s Pub.

“When I moved back here I met her. She was visiting from Italy. We got married, and then we got married again having an Italian wedding for all the Italian family,” said Denholme.

Being back in Kitimat and near family was something Denholme was looking forward to, however, in his time working in the culinary field he realized there wasn’t a lot of money in it.

This thought is when Denholme decided it was time for him to find a new job, eventually landing work at Rio Tinto. He was hired on as an operator where he worked until he was promoted to team lead of the carbon department. Denholme said that the fit into his new position seemed like it was a natural fit.

“It’s almost like baking bread which is right up my alley because you take the raw materials crush them to the right consistency, blend them, mix them, and then you add a binder almost like adding eggs to your flour,” said Denholme about his new position with the carbon department at Rio Tinto.

While working at Rio Tinto Denholme and his wife purchased a small cafe in town that would soon be known as Dolce Verona. The intention of the purchase of the store was to give Valerio a place to work while also taking care of their child. At this point, they were expecting a daughter and hoped that the cafe would give her the work and life balance that she needed.

A number of years later Denholme was laid off from his job at Rio Tinto and he began to spend more time working at the cafe. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the popularity of take-out the cafe got busier.

Moving forward he plans to continue to work at the cafe with the hope of eventually moving back into the industrial field. He does, however, hope to be able to retire sooner rather than later.

I’d love to be retired by 55, but who knows, the world changes and I’m not really sure,” said Denholme regarding the prospect of early retirement.

Denholme has also filed the paperwork to bring his sister-in-law and her husband from Italy to help them at the cafe.

The plan may one day be for more of the family to come from Italy and settle in the small town of Kitimat.