RAYN Events & Catering is founded by
creative Saiqa Sheikh & Chef Joshua Blake
Saiqa has always been a passionate home cook & a creative, however did not realize art could exist as life’s work. In such, she travelled from her hometown of Toronto, ON to Western University in London, ON to complete her Health Science degree in thought to become a Paediatrician. 2 years in a biology and chemistry based focus, she had enough and transferred programs, landing back home in Toronto where she completed her business degree with specialization in communications, media & marketing - thinking a career in advertising!
With graduation around the corner, Saiqa entertained the idea of an internship at the former MacLaren-McCann as an illustrator - but realized the world of art was steadily going digital - she had no interest in digital art or the corporate 9-5 grind - it wasn’t a fit. She then moved on to dabble in a few entrepreneurial endeavours exploring various forms of art - from creating plant-based ointments, to holding Mehndi (Henna) art workshops. She was looking into the world of body art as a career, when she met Josh. Upon their encounter and gaining insight into the hospitality industry, focusing on the world of catering - being the foodie she is at heart, she created a small desserts catering company (when cake pops were the new rage) to dabble in food art and it was an instant love!
A decade in with Josh on her arm, and a few kids later, Saiqa relocated from the hustle and bustle of Toronto to the serenity of Prince Edward County late 2016.
Josh is steadily reaching almost 2 decades of experience within the hospitality industry. He began his journey at the tender age of 14 as a dishwasher and has never left. While gaining momentum, experience & culinary training in a vast variety of environments, including but not limited to: Hockley Valley Resort & Spa, Verdi Hospitality, Dynamic Hospitality - Josh created a catering company, in his hometown of Orangeville - Luv2Cook - it immediately started to flourish. Due to demand, in 2009 Luv2cook grew into Soulyve Caribbean Kitchen where he called home for over four years as the head chef and owner. Soulyve established itself into its community, created a positive impact by bringing forth a change in culinary offerings within its region.
Josh moved to Toronto to continue to evolve, from bustling restaurants, banquet halls, catering companies, corporate events, retirement homes, private social affairs & prestigious parties at Casa Loma, Elgin Theatre, Ripleys Aquarium, Liberty Grande - to name a few, you name it, he’s been there. This is where he continued developing skills in all aspects of catering - as well as managing, budgeting, staff rosters, pricing and ordering for a large establishment . Upon meeting Saiqa they began freelancing catering gigs within Toronto. The two realized, when it comes to food & art, as a team, they had a lot to offer!
A decade in with Saiqa on his arm, and a few kids later, Josh relocated from the hustle and bustle of Toronto to the serenity of Prince Edward County in late 2016.
Together, with their family, Saiqa & Josh opened a quaint seasonal, roadside food stop in Carrying Place called JERKebago Charcoal Grill in the early summer of 2017. Saiqa was able to allow her artistic abilities to grow & flourish - Josh was able to cook for himself again. JERKebago was a hit within the community & mid summer 2018 a second location within Picton popped up.
Craving to continue to expand on their creative side, the team decided to create RAYN Events & Catering. RAYN provides an opportunity for Saiqa to focus on art and design both inside and outside of the kitchen, from event planning and project management, to menu building, recipe developing & the art of plating; whilst RAYN allows Josh to continue to experiment, develop, evolve and refine his skills as a chef & manager - for both in an eclectic manner, granting them freedom to explore various cuisines & their incredible ingredients.
Living in the county has given the art of food a whole new meaning.
RAYN sources local seasonal product, from farmers and artisans within the Prince Edward County, Quinte, Hastings & Northumberland region, sticking as best as possible within Ontario. It’s amazing just how much your dishes burst with exuberant flavours, when using products you directly source & meeting the makers of these products, learning their story & feeling their energy, just as passionate!
On top of breathtaking venues, this incredible region also has a wealth of locally produced wine, beer & cider, which RAYN incorporates into dishes, as well as food pairings on your menu!
From craft services, corporate socials, private affairs, community events to weddings, RAYN has accumulated an amazing
BOH & FOH team over the year to execute all of the above! Keeping under 15 staff, RAYN is pretty much a small family!
Each member of our team significantly helps to contribute and elevate the experience RAYN is able to bring forth to your event!