The Villainous Chef
I find it both difficult and strange to try and come up with some sort of convoluted, pretentious “bio like” text that somehow enlightens you to who I am and what I bring to this table…yes pun intended. So rather then bash out my resume or tell you some sort of childhood memory that drove me to pursuit my passions, I figure it is best to start as I mean to continue. With the truth.
I could tell you that I went into the service industry because I felt a deep yearning to provide service to the unforgiving public of Toronto. That I grew up in a home of fresh home cooked meals and group family dinners…but I would be lying! I started for the same reason a majority of people start jobs, I was given one.
That was me, 14 year old bus boy in the West End of Toronto working out of a little Jazz club. It was only suppose to last until I went off to University…then I would quit all my jobs, become a lawyer, buy stupid big cars and houses…live happily ever after.
Instead I was stung by the industry bug. At first it was to pay the rent and make sure I was golden, it quickly became about learning the CRAFT…ya I said it learning the “craft that is Service”. Its not as simple as taking shit from one place to another and acting nice while you do it, which rapidly became clear as I grew in my industry.
Soon it became my quest to try new concepts, then food profiles, then geographic locations…all in the name of building a better craftsperson.
This need for more challenge and more information took me throughout Toronto and showed me places and ideas that I would have never been able to see if I was in Law School hating my life and reading more then living.
The sad reality is that eventually the well runs dry. This brought on; “The Dark Times”. I had hit my limit. There seemed to be no more new things to learn…no new concepts to work within…no more fun to be had.
So I quit!
In the time I was away I found that my need to work in the service industry was gnawing at me…pulling me back in…but to what…there was nothing for me, so why bother.
By some stroke of creepy luck…I became close friends with a Chef.
I was in Catering at the time and we became two peas in a pod (pun number 2). He described his love of food as an artist describes his love of the world. Expressive and passionate it was intoxicating. I remember going home and dreaming about food! Shit I knew fuck all about it, beyond the knowledge I had from copious amounts of menu tests and Chef notes in the past, but never so vivid, never so honest.
It was then, when I knew I wanted to be a Chef.
I have been a Chef now for over 9 years and through my time I have worked with some of the greatest people I have ever met, but there is a down side to this story…the truth of the modern service industry. The unspoken abuse and ill treatment of staff and managers. The myopic owners that have no industrial experience but all the “expertise”, which is a sympotom of to much Food Network. The crazy hours, the lack of protection and the never ending struggle to create the best plates there are.
I am now a caterer…sure I miss the daily food war that is restaurant service, but it is a dying industry that has become more about profit then quality.
More about hype then substance.
More about the owners then the guests experience.
When LoveThisCity approached me to start working on the Food Service Beat, I knew that this was an opportunity to show the Toronto the pitfalls of the over hyped and over priced and to help to bring forward the less recognized hidden gems that Toronto has to offer. So no bull shit, not paid advertisements, just a good old fashion culinary crotch punch form yours truly.
I worship at the alter of amazing food that is respected…it is high time we all settled for nothing less.