In a sea of room-to-let ads, Shauna Bowens and Nathan Thomas’ ad is delightfully offbeat.
The couple recently posted an ad on Kijiji Saint John for a fully furnished room in their newly purchased home on the West Side.
But instead of showing photos of the house, being renovated, they posted nine magazine-worthy photos, from chicken wings and seafood salad to tomahawk steak.
“Live with a world class chef who cooks for you!” the ad says. “Private master bedroom on the top floor with a view of western Saint John … in a fully furnished house for the right food-loving person.”
The ad notes that all utilities are included in the monthly rent of $ 1,000, and they mean it all: the tenant would have “unlimited access to a stocked closet, as well as professionally prepared meals every day. “.
In an interview, Thomas admitted the concept was unusual, but said it made sense to him and his partner, Bowens.
The menu will feature a range of cuisine types, including hearty stews, chicken wings, piri piri chicken and Shauna Bowens’ ‘amazing’ chili. (Shauna Bowens)
Bowens is a skilled chef who has worked in restaurants around the world. Thomas is a digital solutions manager at Compass, one of the world’s largest food service providers.
The couple moved from Toronto to Saint John in March, with Bowens now working as a personal support worker and Thomas working from home.
Bowens will cook most meals, but they both love to cook and socialize and have cherished childhood memories of shared meals with family and friends.
Having the opportunity to pass this experience on to a tenant who might otherwise be living on their own warms their hearts, Thomas said.
“It’s one thing to have a place to live,” he said.
“But feeling welcome, feeling taken care of, having a well-stocked wardrobe is a whole new level of experience that I think tenants miss.”
Chef Shauna Bowens’ cream of Mexican seafood. (Submitted by Nathan Thomas)
A la carte breakfasts, homemade dinners
The meal plan would include a la carte breakfast and home-cooked dinner from a variety of cuisines, from Louisiana-style Po ‘Boy sandwiches to Portuguese piri piri chicken to’ comfort foods’ like chili. and creamy cheese pasta.
“We’ll find out the dietary needs and the limitations they might have, and from there we’ll create a menu,” Thomas said. “It would be customizable.… We seek to provide those who stay with us with an abundant exchange, and the best way we know how to do that is with food.”
The couple also love to cook, so treats like banana bread and Jamaican patties would make appearances, he said.
The tenant can choose to have his meal in the privacy of his room, to take him to work with him or to join Thomas and Bowens at the table.
“If they want to sit down and share their meal with us, they would have that option,” Thomas said.
Chef Shauna Bowens’ food photos, including the tomahawk steak, are the star of the show on the couple’s ad for a room to rent. (Submitted by Nathan Thomas)
Soon pictures of the room
The next few weeks will be busy for Thomas and Bowens.
In addition to presenting candidates for tenancy for a move-in date of August 1, they are also moving into their new home, which is in the final stages of renovation.
When the renovations are complete, Thomas said he will post photos of the actual room on the rental ad.
But the food photos will remain.
The photos have already garnered quite a bit of attention and are a great visual sale for the unique opportunity the couple offers.
“It’s not for everyone,” Thomas said. “But for the right person, it will be a great way to save money, time for shopping, and a great way to enjoy food and company.”