Entrepreneur and visionary businessman Robert Ouimet is President of Locaal, a food company operating in the fast-growing ready-to-eat segment. Locaal is the culmination of a long-held dream: to create a ready-to-eat line of products that is unique in Quebec, using local, fresh and seasonal produce cooked by a chef. Robert Ouimet, known as a savvy risk taker, is not new to the food industry.
As a grandson of the founder of Aliments Ouimet-Cordon Bleu, a large Quebec-based company focused in food manufacturing, distribution and marketing, Robert Ouimet became familiar with the dynamics of the food industry in Canada at a very young age, particularly in the areas of product development and marketing.
His impressive professional career, notably as head of Aliments Ouimet-Cordon Bleu, has brought him in contact with great chefs and other key players in Quebec's gastronomic universe, such as Philippe Molé, Jean Authier and Mario Martel to name just a few. He also worked with the best culinary chef training institutes in Quebec, such as the Institut de tourisme et d'hôtellerie du Québec (ITHQ) and l'Institut de tourisme et d'hôtellerie de Laval, with which it subcontracted an important part of the creation of its new recipes bearing the signature of Quebec and local products.
Robert Ouimet is a creative thinker who studied arts and graduated from Dean Junior College in Boston, equivalent to the first two years of the bachelor's program in the United States. He then completed his Bachelor of Arts at the Université de Sherbrooke. A few years later, he broadened his expertise in business and management by pursuing studies at HEC Montréal as part of the graduate diploma in management (DESG), and a few years later, by pursuing his studies at the Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, in Evanston, IL. (EMBA for executives). He then consolidated his financial expertise with the personalised financial management executive training program at HEC Montréal.
Talented, hard-working, and most importantly passionate about the food industry, he quickly rose through the ranks at Aliments Ouimet-Cordon Bleu, evolving from Brand Manager to Marketing Director to Vice-President and then CEO. Although multinationals dominated Quebec’s food industry in the 1990s, he succeeded in positioning Aliments Ouimet-Cordon Bleu in this highly competitive market with a bold relaunch of the brand. From 2005 to 2008, he founded and became President of L’Art de recevoir, the company that launched the research centre L’Institut des Traditions Culinaires du Québec (ITCQ) and the brand Les Fines Gueules Régionales in Quebec and Ontario.
This new phase in Robert Ouimet’s career is in line with his love of local ingredients and his constant desire to showcase Quebec’s exceptional products and talents. His vast experience feeds his vision of how to showcase local foods and shapes the dream that he has held for nearly 25 years—a dream that started to gain reality in 2011.
That year, Robert Ouimet became President and owner of CRS Vamic inc., a company that distributes and assembles modular belts for conveyors specially designed for the food processing industry. Within a few years, he doubled in sales, and in 2017 he acquired a new 24,000-square-foot building in Candiac. This acquisition gave him the opportunity to bring his long-standing project to life: the creation of Locaal, a company intent on showcasing Quebec products, with a unique ready-to-eat line that features local foods. Locaal is the beginning of a great adventure, that of a forward-looking company aspiring to grow and promote local products by making them accessible to an ever-increasing number of terroir lovers. Locaal is currently available in Montreal, and plans to expand its service across Quebec in 2021, and region by region in Ontario thereafter.