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Barista to the stars returns home to Fredericton for a good cause
HALIFAX -- All it takes is a little bit of milk for barista and Fredericton native, Brian Leonard, to turn coffee into art.
“When I was a kid, I would draw, and I would draw for people like my aunts and uncles; and I'd be like, ‘here, look what I made for you,’” says Leonard. “I sort of feel like my life has reverted back to that where I'm like, ‘hey, look what I made for you!"
In those days, he was growing up in Fredericton; but now, Leonard is better known as "Barista Brian" and travels the world making special latte creations for celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Jason Segel and even Daniel Radcliffe.
“I’m so proud of myself for not only meeting him twice, but never mentioning Harry Potter in front of him,” says Leonard. “I'm a huge Harry Potter fan. I hope he never sees this because, Daniel, I love ya!”
In December, Leonard met actress, Laura Dern, for who he concocted a frothy beverage featuring Baby Yoda latte art.
However, on Sunday, he returned to his snowy hometown – serving up his caffeinated creations to Frederictonians in exchange for donations to the city’s new Out of the Cold shelter.
“Coming back here as an adult now, the people on the streets or the homeless population in Fredericton is no longer just people that are random – they're people I grew up with,” says Leonard. “They're people that I know, and I want to help these people.”
And it’s a cause local café, Mill Town Roasters, wanted to be a part of.
“We're kind of in the thick of it downtown,” says Mill Town Roasters operations manager, Katie Marten. “We see all the time, people that don't have a place to go, and for us, it's important to just bring the conversation to light.”
It’s a fundraising effort that attracted many coffee-sippers looking for a truly personalized cup of java, like Janet Gormley, who had her dog, Apollo, recreated in her cup.
“Two of my favourite things is art and coffee,” says Gormley. “To combine those two things together is absolutely amazing.”
By the end of his artsy coffee slinging day, Leonard composed over 25 unique coffee creations – with Mill Town Roasters donating a portion of all coffee bag sales from Saturday and Sunday to the shelter.
Meanwhile, Brian is off to Sundance Film Festival, which begins on Thursday, to prepare for his next celebrity creation; but notes he’ll never forget about those at home.
“Help each other,” says Leonard. “Always be a helper if you can.”