I can't say that my decision to attend culinary school has been a direct path. More like twists and turns and ups and downs all leading to this final destination. However, I can say that no matter how I got here, I know it is where I am destined to be.
Athletes will often say that when they have reached the point of psychical exertion they experience a high, an almost out of body experience where everything else melts away and your actions become innate. This is how I feel in the kitchen. My body buzzes at the sight of the gleaming stainless steel. There is something so intimate about the preparation of food. From the careful selection of ingredients, washing, prepping, cutting, the moment they are in the pan to the moment they are on the plate. Each step is done with such love and care, a part of your soul is literally poured into each meal.
Being a chef isn't easy. You dedicate your life to your craft, early mornings, late nights, being on your feet all day, the pressure is immense. You make sacrifices in the other aspects in your life to be a successful chef. It is that pressure where I thrive. To see the pleasure in the food you prepare enjoyed by others is the ultimate. It makes the sacrifices you make worth it. I want to be a chef for everything that it is. Food and its preparation is rich in culture and history, it is a fundamental part in what it means to be human. Food makes you feel things, it inspires, brings people together, it transports you to places and times in your life. Food is the center of which everything in my life revolves around.
Cooking is like love, it should be entered with complete abandon or not at all - Harriet Van Horne
The culmination to my decision to be a chef came when an opportunity arouse to purchase a small restaurant in London, Ontario. I had worked in the industry for years but only on the peripheral in special and corporate event planning for various restaurants and supper clubs. On my team, I was always the go to girl to create a cohesive menu and work with the caterers. There was always a part of me that knew that food was my calling. Perhaps I was ambitions for my first endeavor in the kitchen and owning my own business, but I have never shied away from risks and challenges. I took over a failing sandwich shop and turned it into a successful business. The restaurant needed a complete overhaul before it could be operational, at least to my standards. I designed and executed the restaurant from the ground up. Complete with renovations, menu design, marketing and social media. It was an all-encompassing project. I had never felt so alive. There was a learning curve that I embraced, I became more focused and dedicated than I ever could have imagined. I worked the restaurant for 3 years, in every position. Somedays my dishwasher didn't show up. I became the dishwasher. Somedays I had to waitress, be the cashier and perform service. It is just the nature of the industry. When you work in a restaurant there is no job that isn't yours. After 3 years I knew that I wanted more. It wasn't that the restaurant was not a success. I knew that I personally wanted to equip myself with the proper tools to work under respected chefs and even become a respected chef myself. I sold Spare Parts Diner and moved back to Toronto to pursue my culinary career.
I have been inspired throughout my cooking adventures by numerous food blogs. I follow them on Instagram, buy their cookbooks and relish in their culinary endeavors. Many of them much like myself till this point are home cooks. With this blog, I hope to showcase my transition from a home cook to a professional chef. I am particularly inspired by Farmette. As a future chef, I am influenced by the concept of sustainability. I am inspired by the notion of farm to table dining. The rustic, real world roots of growing, and raising your food from the ground up.
I hope one day to have a small farm, with a farmhouse and a barn and to build a restaurant curated from the fruits of my own land. A labour of love that I work each and everyday.