Started washing dishes in high school and loved the working environment. Once I grew up a little, I came to appreciate the balance of creativity and science that cooking offers. And I still love the fast pace of the kitchens and the characters it attracts.
For the last 12 years, my focus has been on the development of Canadian cuisine. This has had a different feel depending on which part of Canada I was working in at the time. However, there is an underlying theme to all of it. Ingredients that highlight the terrior of the region that I am in, manipulated by technique that acknowledges the cultural influences of that area. All while trying to deliver a unique and memorable experience to the guest.
My favourite products are good products! Especially when I know the people and story behind them and their product helps me tell the story I am telling. This can include great local seafood, beautiful produce or the wild ingredient that we harvest along our seashores.
I’m still searching for this, I think that this is an elusive goat and a moving target. The closest thing I have to a signature style is that I love to use common ingredients and turn them into something of luxury and adventure.
Encouraging young cooks to actually taste what they are preparing and to understand it is what I try to do. It takes a long time for developing cooks to appreciate that cooking is more than just following a recipe and that no matter how perfect a recipe is, the ingredients change and so they must always be tasting and thinking about what they are doing. It is also so important to remind young cooks that there is a person beyond the door that is eating their food and is anticipating having a very special night. Cooks can so easily forget that they are actually feeding people. Once a young cook fully understand these things, they start to become chefs, not just cooks.
Don’t get too ambitious with what you are preparing, Sunday isn’t about that! Just get some great product and help it shine. I like to prepare simple omelets, ideally with chanterelle mushrooms I picked and some stinky cheese. It’s always a good idea to Include your family, friends and guest in what you are preparing, even if it is just washing fruit. Cooking together always brings people together. Lastly, drink lots of bubbles!