Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fostering Growth

(Photo courtesy of Chef Muriel)

I feel good. I just got home from working at an off site event that featured Ontario VQA wineries and local chefs that support local food. Our Executive Chef Anne Yarymowich, Pastry Chef Christophe Measson, Muriel and I were there. I was supposed to work in the restaurant but it was not scheduled to be very busy so I was asked if I wanted to join them at this event. It was that or a night off....I said yes - of course.

Other than being in the presence of unlimited food and wine, I was very happy to be in the presence of people whom I admire and who I believe appreciate me. Here I am being given the opportunity to experience different things in an industry which I love and these people are thanking me? Our evening ended with them saying how great it is that I am able to be exposed to all these different events and how they are happy that I came. I love this job! To me they are inspiring, they are motivating. Like I've said before, I make mistakes and will make many more. I am however not fearful to go through that process as I know that these people want me to learn and they foster growth in their teams.

What a world of difference from some other jobs.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Curvacious Learning Curves

I've got so much to learn. I am reminded of that everyday. It doesn't make me upset for the most part, it actually excites me. I do get frustrated however as I make mistakes but I am happy when I learn from them. The times I am most frustrated is when I know better, should have known better or make the same mistake twice. I don't want to talk about it, so don't ask!

I have been working more and more in the kitchen. In fact, I have been working close to 40 hours a week there on top of my full time job. I am tired but enthused. Am I 100%? I wish I was. Chef asked me that question and I said 'yes!" I soon realized that I wasn't as it was taking me a while to get focused.

In a job like this you need to be focused. You need to be efficient. You need to be quick and smart and good. I will be focused. I will be efficient. I will be quick and smart and good. I will be GREAT!

Working on the line of an open kitchen is slightly stressful. Diners can see you, some even stand there and watch you. If you make a mistake, you have to play it cool. I was plating a dessert and I was trying to make a straight line of sour cherry reduction from a squeeze bottle. I'm usually good at that stuff but this particular afternoon I was having some difficulty. (I was not 100%). My straight line of cherry reduction looked slightly shaky. As I kept obsessing and wiping the plate, attempting-obsessing-wiping....the executive Chef was watching me "it looks fine Sam" she said. I thought she was just trying to be nice but she explained to me what she thought. When things look too perfect they look manufactured, not hand made. In this kitchen we make all of our products. They are little works of art. They are artisanal and should look artisanal. I like that concept and I agree with it. (But sometimes I still find myself obsessing over little things that most may not notice. Maybe I do that in many aspects of my life.)

I work tomorrow night. I'm hoping to learn something new.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Oui Chef

Chef Christophe is featured in the Dine.TO website.

What a great article about him. He only wanted his photo taken if his whole team was there which means that I am in the photo too!!!


Check out the link: http://dine.to/profile_features.php?feature=chef&id=5415