What’s so Cheesy About Love: Changing the World One Sandwich at a Time
On the main strip of downtown Barrie sits a quaint, quirky grilled cheese eatery, its bright orange door a beacon of warmth against the grey, mortar buildings that flank it. To the average passerby, this shop may look like just another cute place to stop for lunch, but step through the cheese-coloured threshold and it becomes apparent that this eatery is so much more.
Five years ago, Randy Aylwin found himself in a dangerous downward spiral, one that left him completely devoid of purpose and a sense of self. Randy knew that if he didn’t find a way out, he would be stuck in this unhappy mental state. So, he quit everything: his marriage, his successful businesses, and his expectations for what life should be. He took a step back and re-evaluated his happiness and the meaning of one little word—love.
Randy opened the Grilled Cheese Social Eatery out of a desire to make true connections with his community. His success has always been secondary to his desire to “be love” and help others find love in themselves. From the very beginning, Randy has made it his mission to employ troubled youth, providing them with an opportunity to grow and find stability in a safe, encouraging environment. Although he rarely mentions this intention, Randy’s desire to lift others to a place of love has changed many young people’s lives and helped them discover their own strengths and capabilities.
And it doesn’t stop there. Randy wants to know his entire community, no matter their status or place in the world. To help him do this, his eatery offers the Suspended Grilled Cheese Program, a program that allows customers to add a few extra dollars to their bill to donate a free sandwich and coffee for a homeless community member.
With walls covered in cartoon art, goofy phrases, messages of love, and Buddha hiding everywhere, it’s easy to be enveloped in the vibration Randy has worked so hard to create—one of good food, limitless acceptance and, most importantly, unconditional love.
Brina Romanek is an emerging documentary filmmaker who is passionate about sharing local Canadian stories. She is also an environmental public speaker and has been a guest instructor for the University of Toronto. Currently, Brina is directing an exciting documentary short set to premiere in the new year.
Cinematographer / Colourist / Sound Editor
Growing up in a very creative home, Colin Steingard is a third generation filmmaker and photography in his family. Colin is currently director of photography for a short documentary set to premiere in the new year, alongside emerging director, Brina Romanak.
Joshua Doerksen is a producer, composer, singer and songwriter from Barrie, who graduated from the University of Guelph with an honors degree in classical voice and music composition. Joshua owns Sprout Wise Media, an audio-video production company.
Carly Kassay studies Digital Painting and Animation at OCADU. She has contributed to numerous projects, most notably CBC Kids’ Dot! She’d like to thank for family for always supporting her work, especially Chrissy Dominic, Kathy Goodyear and Brina Romanek.
Jana Webb is an entrepreneur who started JOGA, a.k.a. yoga for jocks. While her business has thrived and she has helped it grow brick by brick, Jana has had a tumultuous personal journey that includes two car crashes that almost took her life.
Robyn Coquelle started volunteering at Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association (VOKRA). Little did she know that she would end up quitting her job to study to become a veterinary technician—through volunteering, she had found the one thing she truly wants to do.
Roya picked up a part-time job as a receptionist at an auto body shop to help support herself while she was in school, but it wasn’t long until she realized that she was already where she wanted to be.