Thursday, January 21, 2010

My Beginnings Cont'd

So were did I leave off.... culinary school right. Off I went to culinary, scared, excited all kinds of emotions. For once i thought i was really working towards something the career path i have been in search for. The first day I was pretty sure of myself I had lots of kitchen experience how hard was this actually going to be, well I was about to find out the truth. Like I said I had lots of kitchen experience how much more did I really need to learn well I am pretty sure now that that was exactly what the other 25 students were thinking as well, but it wasn't going to as easy as we may have thought. Day one "Can anyone name the mother sauces?" ansawar "mac sauce and mcchicken sauce or is it donair and pizza haha" as funny as I thought I was being the instructor did not. "If you are not going to take this seriously you are wasting my time and yours you can leave if you want" ok he isn't quite ready for my humor I shall shut up and learn. So I make it through my first semester then the second, good god I finished the top of my class for the first year. Know I must find a summer job, I found two bar tending at the local bar and working as a line cook at one of the local family style restaurants not exactly fine dining or as upscale as I had hoped but hey it was experience and good money. The restaurant specialized in seafood as St. Andrews is known as being a sea side resort. I got to cook live lobster play with clams, mussels, scallops etc. I work with cooks today that have never cooked a live lobster so I believe all experience no matter how big or how small is good experience. So that was my summer in a nut shell line cook by day bartender by night one of the best summers I ever had.

So summer is over and back to school I went keeping my bar tending job (the money was just to good to give up). The second year was going as well as the first I had already learned the basics now it was time to apply the things I had learned this was my favorite part about school the practical applications we ran our own restaurant, planned events etc. I was loving it , I found my calling. So the fall winter spring came and went and it was graduation day and I was graduating this time top of my class and second in the school (big pat on the back for me). So now what I loved St. Andrews I had made lots of friends and was almost considered a local being their bartender and all. But I decided to move yet again, I went to work for my culinary instructor who also ran a catering company. He took a contract to feed 250 campers and counselors at a local kids camp near St. John NB. and I was going to be the head cook at the camp kitchen. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks and boxed lunches every day for the next two and a half months, short lived yes but an experience I will never forget. Time to move again this time to the city and capital of New Brunswick, Fredericton, I am for sure going to get a classy upscale fine dining job in the city, right? Wrong I still didn't have enough fine dining experience and was to stubborn to start out as a prep cook and work my way up, if I only knew then what I know now. So I went to work as yet another line cook at a pub but wasn't really that happy and I missed all of my friends in St. Andrews so I packed up and moved again back to the bubble (nickname for St. Andrews) the last time I would move for another 41/2 years. It was now Spring of '02, spring was a good time to find a job everyone was just starting to reopen their doors and getting prepared for the busy upcoming summer. I went back to work at the same restaurant I had worked at before. It was easier the second time around I already knew the menu minus a few changes I knew most of the staff it would be a good summer. key word summer. Most places don't stay open year round so it was hard to keep a full time year round kitchen job. So I needed to find work that would keep me employed year round off to the call center I went, still sort of the tourism industry I took hotel reservations for the hotels at Universal Studios that's right universal studios located in Florida, why you ask is the call center for Florida hotels in St.Andrews, honestly I don't know. So for a bout another year I did that plus other part time sales clerk jobs but I missed cooking.

Then one day a friend of mine decides to open a restaurant and wants me to manage the kitchen for him, what an awsome opportunity I cannot refuse. What a great experience it was ordering, food costing, scheduling, hiring and firing staff, the later is not so much fun. All and all I was in my glory, still not fine dining but I was the master of my domain what does fine dining matter when you are the boss. Now anybody that knows the restaurant industry knows that if you can't make it work within the first year it probably isn't going to work unfortunately this was one such place, don't get me wrong we worked really hard it just wasn't in the cards. But no regrets it was a great experience and we all moved on and became a success in our own way.

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