Al is Aleks Lazic, founder of Al’s Deli. Pictured here with the former Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, a proud moment, even though Stephen Harper is a bit of a dick.
Al was born in Montreal to a family of European immigrants who came to Canada with a dream of a better life. They didn’t have a lot when they arrived, apart from their traditions, a lot of determination, passion and willingness to do hard work. Like the other European immigrants that settled in places like New York, their communities brought with them traditional foods and amazing independent businesses like bakeries, delis, and small goods producers. Many of these markets and businesses were located on and around St Laurent Boulevard in Montreal, or the “Main” as Montrealers call it. This is where Al used to spend his weekend mornings with his family wandering around the Main, shopping for and sampling the beautiful hand made foods.
In later years Al’s family had a restaurant in downtown Montreal, so food and hospitality were always very important. He eventually became a chef, and studied at Le Cordon Bleu Paris cooking school. He then spent years working and travelling as a fine dining chef in Australia, Fiji and London. His culinary career really took off in London, where he found himself cooking at events in England’s most prestigious venues, embassies, and palaces, serving the Royal Family, and catering to countless other high profile events.
In 2007 Al decided to call New Zealand home and settled in Auckland for good. Finally in 2013, after 16 years on the road, he was really missing his connection to his family and home town, and he decided to direct his passion into the foods of his home that he longed for and open his own place. Al’s deli is about reconnecting to those mornings with family, and creating enduring memories.
The inspiration for our logo came from the statue of Athena (goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, and skill) which sits on Mount Royal in Montreal, overlooking the Main.