Our Team

Meet the Shipley Brothers:
Daniel & Michael

Owner & Executive Chef

Daniel Shipley

Dan began his culinary journey growing up on Salt Spring Island. Having access to a bounty of talented growers and producers at an early age set the standard for what is brought into our kitchen today. Dan graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY in 2010 and has since been working his way through fine dining kitchens with a focus on local food. Between the years after graduating from the CIA and coming to own Mensch, he spent two years studying agriculture on farms and ranches throughout BC and the Yukon Territories.  This experience lent him a unique perspective on not only what it takes to create a memorable dish, but also the work that it takes to produce the ingredients that our food is composed of. When you work with Dan to build a menu for your event, you can rest assured that he will treat every ingredient with the respect it deserves, and the care he puts in will be reflected in the final product.

Owner & General Manager

Michael Shipley

As you’d expect from two sides of the same coin, Michael’s direction in the industry took a much different but intimately related path to Dan’s. Working in their parent’s chocolate and gelato shop from an early age cultivated a passion for working with great products and delivering exceptional customer service. He eventually settled in Vancouver where he started a career managing large teams in a retail environment. There he instilled in his staff the same focus on thoughtful and attentive service that Mensch’s service professionals are known for today. Michael personally responds to every inquiry we receive, and has built our reputation for providing clear and compassionate service while working with our clients to create memorable events. Only ever a click away, Michael will guide you through the process to make sure your event is one to remember.

Joseph Kennard – Lead Chef

Joseph’s love for the kitchen came from working alongside his grandmother and watching classic cooking shows like Julia Child, Julien Lapin and Martin Yan. Joseph left his hometown of Victoria immediately after high school to attend SAIT culinary school in Calgary. Over the next 2 decades he worked at numerous acclaimed restaurants between Vancouver and Victoria along with stints in Sydney, Aus. and NYC. Joseph is especially inspired by the opportunities to use the highest quality  local agricultural and foraged products highlighted in his influence of David Gunawan and Jesse McCleary. 
After a few seasons in Haida Gwaii he came to recognize the city life was no longer for him and moved with his partner to her hometown of Lake Cowichan where he now lives with the love of his life, 2 yr old daughter Audrey Jane. 

Olivia Najera – Service Coordinator

Olivia grew up in the Cowichan Valley, where she now lives with her family. She spent years working in fast paced environments focused on providing quality customer service before joining the team at Mensch in 2018. Today she leads service teams at our events, always happy to meet and assist in the diverse needs of our customers. Her attentiveness and compassion makes her an invaluable member of the Mensch team.

The History of Mensch

In 2015 Dan and Michael purchased the business, formerly Farm’s Gate Foods and Catering, and over their first years of working together transformed the business into what it is today. In 2023, the Shipley brothers launched Mensch Kitchen and Catering, as a way of better communicating their vision and paying homage to their Jewish heritage. Mensch Kitchen and Catering is one of the premier catering companies on Vancouver Island and together, the Shipley Brothers will work to exceed your expectations and make your event one to remember.