The fancy doorbell signals the arrival of a new customer. Notes of euphoria echo in the background, personalised decor, and amazing dishes are elements of this charming bistro located in Mandeville. Testosterone may be dominating the local food industry, but there is one culinary angel paving her way to greatness with the fusion of unique flavours. Her name is Lian Timoll.
Formerly Lian Chen, Timoll discovered an ingenious way to combine her love for food and France to create pure joy on the palate. But her taste for fine food began long before she opened her business.
For as long as she can remember, Timoll has been a foodie. “I always craved trying new things and loved eating, on a whole. Who doesn’t love to eat, right?” she told Flair.
Born and raised in Mandeville, she was privileged to discover her purpose early. As a child, she was fascinated by the kitchen, following her mother’s every move, hoping to uncover the secret to flavour. Her ‘battle wounds’ of burns experienced during those formative years might now be invisible, but they serve as reminders that her pipe dream is now a delectable reality. She began cooking breakfast for her family and eventually ventured into baking. She even embarked on entrepreneurship, selling brownies to her peers at school. Everyone loved them.
From there, the journey took her to Canada for scholastic pursuits. She majored in culinary management at the Niagara Food and Wine Institute, and her studies covered business and cooking, as well as food and beverage. Upon her return to her homeland, she was given the opportunity to open a small bistro. That’s when Voila by Lilee was born.
DEMAND FOR CONSISTENCY
At 23 years old, the young entrepreneur decided to house her pastries while offering something light and easy on the savoury side, like wraps and paninis. As her business boomed, so did the demand for consistency in Mandeville.
“I was very nervous. I never owned a business before. But I learned perspectives from working for others. I took every challenge as they came, and I conquered every one of them,” she said.
She also said, “Being an entrepreneur is not easy. It’s not just about opening a business. In order for any business to succeed, you have to be there. It also helps if you have a skillset within the field you’re pursuing so you have a better understanding of all the moving parts.” Timoll is proud to be giving back to her community through her passion for food.
As far as dishes go, she strives to provide Euro-American cuisine at Voila by Chef Lilee. Describing her cooking style as traditional, she said that she rarely goes outside of the lines. But she is versatile in preparing meals from different cultures: Jamaican, American, European, and Chinese. And she aims to provide a mixture, showcasing diversity on each plate.
Organised, a bit stubborn, independent, funny, and introverted, the 27-year-old is grateful for the unwavering support she has received from friends, family, her husband, and the Lord. Without them, she could not have got through the pressures of those tough days.
Story by Krysta Anderson