By: Chef Rick Powless
Recently, I was out for dinner at one of my favourite spots enjoying a nice romantic dinner with my wife. Great company across the table and champagne in hand, I couldn’t have asked for a better setting. Dressed in our finest and enjoying the fact that we were able to find a babysitter for the babies gave us great pleasure in not having to rush through a meal.
Once a Chef in the industry and now a Chef Instructor demonstrating, teaching students the finer skills of a successful cook, my eyes wandered around the dining room admiring the smiles, the conversations between the many couples and groups surrounding us. I glanced over into the open kitchen, where the culinary team was working like a well-oiled machine. Each cook had their heads down, not a sound was made other than the rattling of pans sautéing, plates being laid out for playing and the expediter calling out orders…calling for pick ups. It was an amazing thing to see, both old and young cooks working side by side to produce a culinary experience for the patrons that evening. It made me smile.
Why did I get great pleasure from this? It reminded me of why I got into this industry in the first place, and why I chose to develop my techniques, my skills to a higher plain. This became my philosophy for being a cook…to become a Chef. Passion. Pleasure. Comradery. Blood sweat and tears. Laughter. Teamwork. Yes, we are underpaid, overworked and our social lives take a back seat to what we do, and we do it oh so well. We repeat this every day because of what we receive from our patrons.
A first date. You choose to share this moment with my team and our culinary offerings. Our timings between the appetizers, entrees and the dessert courses are spaced appropriately to give you an opportunity to get to know one another. A reunion of high school, college or old friends. You catch up with others and the only thing that matters is where has the time gone. You want this moment to last forever. An engagement to your significant other. You have decided that our menu is perfect, the atmosphere adds to what you’re about to ask your partner. A business meeting. Our menu offers you and your clients the tastes that are required to seal the deal.
What do all of these have in common, then? You see, you have invited me and my team to share in your event, no matter how formal or informal it may be. You have confidence in what we will present to you and your guest(s) and that it will offer a positive experience. You have considered me and my team as friends, as allies for the next 1 ½ hrs of your lives. You have included us in your lives…even for a short moment in time. For this, we will give you all that we have, in blood sweat and tears, in all our training, experience and knowledge of foods and food practices. Your smiles, your laughter, your sounds of pure pleasure from each bite you take gives us acknowledgement, the recognition that what we do as individuals and as a team is what we were meant to do.
This is our passion. This is our motivation. This ultimately, is why I do what I do…and why I love this profession.