Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by stovetop

  1. Sherwood That is beautiful! We are in agreement We all are saying there is a shortage steve
  2. Hi fud: Schools are a business- they are looking after their own interest; you cannot teach someone to be a pro in that short of a time. Their expectations are so unrealistic and this is not beneficial to anybody except for the schools. The private schools charge huge money and promote also unrealistic expectations and TV has created this false impression of reality. The rock star is only less then 1% of reality, life really is not like TV; thank god. You work your {(fucking ass) off; Sorry can not find a better adjective} and school does not prepare you for that; in the business things change before your eyes; things break, people quite, customers leave, you have so many Variables that they can not teach. The main thing also is this is not Europe and the skills that cooks really need is not being met. The most important thing is the schools are not meeting the needs of people like me who need some improved training lets say in some specific areas in the kitchen; baking, sweet breads, accounting and others. They have talked about this for years but are always pulled to the money instead of working a huge need. We are one of the most undereducated workforces in Canada. Our Business has three very different sectors that have very different needs for training and education. You have restaurants, hotels and industrial catering; each has its own merits and each has its own skill sets and never the twain shall meet. I have worked in all of them, have gone to school, have been a TA in school so I understand first hand what is up. Also I have been around working in all parts of Canada with many of the best chefs and understand where their at. In 1987 I went to a world congress on Hospitality and Tourism Education in Toronto and met industry people from all over the world. Sat in on many local (CND) speakers and industry educators and the promises were amazing. The years go bye! All the things about shortage of staff and what the industry has to do has come to fruition but they have not lived up to their ideas. Steve
  3. Oyster Guy Harsh but true I have to agree on what you are saying The situation created by the educators of our business is not showing the reality. Sure you can be a rock star; but what percentage of cooks makes good money and what vertical career path do they have in the Vancouver market? Making ten bucks an hour as a line cook does not pay a student loan. Working and giving your soul to a local company and waiting five years to get credit; still you might be making 13, if you are a stand up cook, can do huge volume, doing the work of two. Time begins to slow down- boredom sets in; you do the ten-thousandths burger or even the 100,000 thousandth Fennie dish. The reality is there is no vertical career path in Vancouver in Restaurants- when great chefs leave the restaurant business and do better teaching or working for a hotel or go work for a big chain and become their Executive chef, I will not name names but it is a common occurrence now. The Vancouver scene is going to be missing more then a few cooks if it does not address its professional problem. We have like twenty chefs association all looking after their own self interest; a restaurant association struggling to stay above water; a pub association that is like a mafia, protecting its territory (I understand- But? What cost) The worker shortage is real but the unprofessional environment is even worse, the market forces in the west are being controlled by the fact there is not a job shortage any more. Other trades are making more then Doctors and they are respected once they get their ticket, in our industry there does not exist any standards to wage and what a Journeyman (Man or woman) gets. Other trades, a ticketed person always gets a certain wage and once they reach plateaus they do not have to prove their professionalism every time. So many chefs have kick the dog syndrome that when they get to the top they are the first to get the power; rather then fix the problem they become part of it. It is a vicious cycle. The men and woman need too have the same goals; the different associations need the same goals, White Glove society! When will the industry pull for the common woman or man? Time is running out- soon restaurants will not open for lunch because they cannot find cooks not because there is no business. Millions of dollars will be lost by the industry in sales. It is farther then our own self interest and the reality of hells kitchen- some of us put with (&^*(&^*& far worse then hell. I am not complaining-but I have been doing this for 26 years, I do not plan on retiring just yet but I would rather be part of some solution the part of some problem. But after 15 years of waiting for the industry associations to do what they promises at conferences and see the education business profit on our backs by feeding the fire. Someone has to mind the store? Steve
  4. Hi Ling cool Blog A guy I went to school with would collect bacon fat and use it as a toast spread Yum steve
  5. Dr. John McLoughlin (1784-1857) I believe the articles main focus was the ingredients, the environment and nature. They definitely did not expand or go beyond the normal characters that exist in the area. Who in the media will take the first steps and go beyond the stereotypical dogma we are being spoon-fed? We do have to go beyond the local buzzwords and perception that there is not Canadian food! This intraspective analysis is getting tiresome and for me the proof is in the pudding and look around there is a lot of pudding going on! I am moving to Duncan; will be working at a new restaurant, my goal is to show once and for all that there is Canadian food or PNW- I do not let the 49th bother me, we share all the same history, that border is young ,compared to the experiences by the Native Peoples and other travelers who called this area home. The Northwest Company and finally Hudson’s Bay was feeding people around Vancouver Washington many moons ago and hardy characters like Dr. John McLoughlin (1784-1857), he is missed by Canadian history but for me he is one of our greatest non Native characters on the coast. We have a culture and we are always moving and building on that, our world does not always rotate around the British flag, the Cowichan people have an incredible culture and have managed to keep so much of their language and culture moving forward. Farms on the mid and south islands and inside passage have deep culture and are very old- some have been around since the 1860's. People from all over the world have traveled through the area, many falling in love with its solid beauty and character. This has been going on for hundreds of years and maybe even thousands of years. It is just our eyes do not see history beyond our own realm but many people want to change that and they do not fall within a simple boundary of what culture is. I do know that they all live there for the same reasons and I am very thankful that I will have the opportunity to work with those ingredients and people and be part of what is going on. The convergence is almost complete, now there is a sustainable market that will keep people alive and making a living year round. This has been south islands biggest weakness but it is no longer- year round tourism and locals will keep farmers, chefs and supporters around and grow it will. See you out there steve
  6. waylman Posted Aug 21 2006, 12:08 PM " A fine dinning environment”- This really does not lend itself to a fine dinning environment. I think you do not leave very much room for any compromise or interpretation. " Fine Dinning" has expanded in the last few years and I believe you can create any menu and have it in a fine dinning environment. That perception holds itself in a box and I believe we in the business have seen many changes in the "high end fine dining" the old days are gone and you have to divest in new ideas. One should open ears and eyes and watch many new cooks do what you think is impenetrable. Old ways die-hard There can be any cuisine in a fine room with great service and a staff who knows their menu. Professional, prompt and courteous service, this is what fine dinning lends itself to be. Not a pretentious idea of what consorts to what food and service is. Steve
  7. Thanks Prasantrin for the report look forward to more steve
  8. Junior- it is great to see what this site (egullet) can do, the communication-the multimedia it gives us, bringing together the owner-chef- customer- writer -critic in an honest open venue. Love the look, the tables, your presentation; the bread is truly awesome- the best thing is having content from other Western Provinces. I wish you and your staff the best fall and look forward too more content from your dinning world. Steve
  9. Talk to individual wineries and brokers- read the wine spectator and do some homework and some traveling or e-mailing and get in the ground floor of wine production. Go to wine shows and make some connections- Wine reps are great people to know, they will set you up with any info you might need. Also phone arouind to any sommeliers and they will get you info to fill in gaps in your search. happy hunting steve Alberta is a good place for looking too they do not have any wine industry to support so they have a wide variety from all countries.
  10. Do a night dash at the bear foot- they have lots of wine
  11. Go to Calgary- the pay is there and it is the hot bed right now. Vancouver is not paying that well for restaurants but better for hotels but even 16 is not that much- the west coast is playing catch up on the wages to the rest of Canada. Toronto, Calgary and now edmonton are paying more and with the constuction industry paying 16 bucks an hour for unskilled labour they are not geting to many cooks for much less. Northern Alberta is paying like 12-15 in Tim Hortons and other fast food places so the higher end restaurants have to start paying. We are going to have to start paying more to eat out in fine dinning on the coast so we can start paying cooks what there worth. steve
  12. Chefs need to make conscious decisions in regards to their buying practices and go out of their way to support local food and smaller companies. Too many chefs get luyed into thinking sysco and gordon is cheap and easy-you get what you pay for. Lack of training and cooks who do not know how to butcher and process fish. We all have been pushed into the prepared and easy lines from the big companies. The end of cheap labour in the kitchen is near. The wages of the cook is going up and Vancouver is one of the last places where cooks make low wages. Calgary now has to pay 15 an hour to find a first cook- not worth getting out of bed for anything less. That means get more out of your cooks and get back to the basics and make more fresh stocks and do your own butchery and fish processing. You need that second homes of by product to make your cost such as pasta specials and utilizing all your seafood trim. Turning all product over and keeping your seafood moving and fresh- the way to keep the quality open. steve
  13. What about fish works? They were around when I was in Van last- are they still there. steve
  14. Hi oyster guy: You know that Oyster Jim character on the island based out of Ucluelet and as he calls it his oyster ranch is up in Clauagout(sp) sound near Tofino. Many years ago he decided to bypass the wholesalers and he markets his product himself. It is one of my fav oysters and one of the few oyster claims that does not have to close for red tide. The one problem though up there is sometimes there is a shortage of micro planktin and it starves the oysters. He sells for about dollar each and I had few who complained about the product when I had the restaurant in Ucluelet. It was top notch product. Steve
  15. I would like to add something to what I was saying earlier- I am not sure who is more conservative, the companies like Albion or the average restaurateur- customer. I feel that there is some convergegence in the marketplace but there is such a slow process to change. We in the high end food business see trends before they reach the retail sector, in our business it has been kind of reciprocal over the years and you see trends come around a second time. Then this trend will go retail and then places like 7-eleven, wendys, mcdonalds, and all those over fast food places trying to sell to the masses. There all so slow and conservative to change and all are ridding the new trends that we in the dinning world were doing like 10-20 years ago; so many products we use in the business eventually make it to retail. The other side is I think the farmers -fisherman and a growing side of the general public do want change are moving to something different. A lot of people are looking for healthier alternatives to meat which has a billion dollar advertising program to promote the industry- when have you seen a commercial for " eat Fish" it is good for you? The wholesale seafood industry in Canada and all most of the companies we buy from have all been bought up by multinationals looking for profit or maybe just supply. we become the fallout and the service to each local market just becomes secondary. Our farmers and fisherman need a better distribution line that sells to Canadian restaurants in each local market. The one local product which I have fished for my whole life is Pickerel-perch and Northern pike but try and find this product in Canada and you are hooped. Do some research and you realize we harvest tonnes of the product and all of it is exported by the freshwater Marketing Board out of Winnipeg. Lakes like Slave lake- Cold lake and great bear plus many northern lakes in BC. Everyone I know loves all those fish but try and find it on a menu and you will go blind before you see it on a menu. Whats up with that? That is what is happening with our food sources in this business. Sysco- Gordon We need a local wholesale market in all food areas so small company chefs and small scale food producers can meet. The consumer out there needs this- there is interest and there is a market, there is just no one minding the store. steve
  16. The big problem with seafood availability is with local distribution and as you mentioned DJOblong and I mentioned in the "c" thread. Another thing is the restaurant wholesale companies can not compete with Sysco and Gordon foods- they account for a huge part of the wholesale market. One aspect that I have seen in BC and especially on the island the amount of people who do not like seafood. There was places I worked and maybe out of twenty staff- maybe like three people liked seafood. They big jump into the world of fish is the big adventure of fish and chips. They will eat like battered shrimp deep fried scallops and a fish platter. This is the world of many Islanders. The coastal food is not seafood- they like well done beef and generally meat that is over cooked- serve them rare meat and they freak. The market is generally weak that way and many owners taste buds are similar, so they tend not to support the seafood movement. I was in Ucluelet and port Alberni and you have to find very different sources for seafood. The biggest culprit in why the seafood industry sucks is DFO. It is run in Ottawa and the last time I checked there is no Ocean there. It is so out of touch with the culture of the coast. The Native and local fisheries people also only fish the same three fish. Salmon- halibut- tuna, there is so much more out there; sidebar- did you know that there is Cray fish in the Port area, it could be a fisheries itself but change is slow and there really is no desire for looking at alternative fisheries. The other thing is there is way to much competition between the sports fishing and commercial- it has done nothing but plaque both industries into submission. They would do themselves both more justice by working together rather then fighting for the same resource. The thing is most guides at one time or another used to be fisherman- they came from the same cloth so how much of a stretch would it be to work together. The whole thing in bringing fish into a camp up north when there is tonnes of fish around is crazy. The fuel- the resources to ship 1000 lbs of fish to Queen Charlotte island to feed fisherman who all day long are catching the best fish around. Then they have to eat something caught done south that is four days old. this is the weirdest shit I have seen all my life Thank DFO steve
  17. Hi stephen- is Andrew Dubach Chef? Who is the Owner? - of parkside. thanks steve
  18. Location- location- location This is what all educators in the hospitality industry teach us. The location drives the bottom line of any business and is the major factor in determining the concept. The biggest weakness in the restaurant business these days is in the planning stage- the very beginning of someones dreams or idea. They have part of a concept that fits into a location or is it that a location fitting into their concept. The main thing is more then location is that most successful restaurants have solid concepts, they know who their market is. This is a very important factor- location-location-location; without a proper concept and a market driven idea, location will eventually fail because there is not market to what is being sold. Walk in traffic as many up thread talked about is very important and this is one of the biggest factors in location. You need that walk in traffic to survive and with less people driving because of DWI- this creates even more importance to location. Concept and a proper location will determine the success of a restaurateur and a proper menu to fit the location and concept round out the circle along with good controls and management and you have a good recipe for success. Location location location steve
  19. Come on British Columbia- We still are a Colony- and the Empress is the oldest traditional afternoon tea. Vancouver Island used to be its own seperate colony from the east and from british Colombia How british is that. You could say it is still Spanish steve
  20. A few links south vancouver island Mycological Society Chanterelle Mushrooms chanterelles in Saskatchewan ubc steve
  21. Hi Shelora: chanterelles grow in a lot of different areas in BC naturally and also throughout the world- they love the great growing conditions we have on the coast and in the last ten years have become very popular and are popping up as ingredients in many Vancouver restaurant menus.I am glad the mushroom companies have not figured out how to culture chanterelles because it keeps the allure about them. The mass production of them would somehow loose the charm of the tasty beauties. When I lived in Port Alberni- I lived on a farm for a while and my roommate and landlord was a huge mushroom fan and we would go out a pick them every week. There is something very instinctual in the whole process. That earthy smell after a rain and being close to the ground and nature. The best part is the process of prepping and cooking with them or getting them ready for storage. breakfast is a great time- an omelet with chantrelles that you pick the day day before with bread you baked and some awesome strong coffee make my day. The island food basket is second to few. Nature still rules her castle on the coast of BC. Many natural acuring foods still exist and are available to those who go out into the rainforest's and harvest their dinner. Good times steve
  22. Vancouver Island Food MeccaLinks: http://www.vancouverisland.com/attractions/?id=134 http://www.vancouver-island-adventures.com/ http://www.winesofcanada.com/bc_island.html http://www.wineislands.ca/ Vancouver Island: Gourmet dining down on the farm By Carol Pucci Seattle Times travel writer http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/food...818_farm06.html Cowichan Valley- Agritourism 1)Duncan, http://www.islandfarmfresh.com/cowichan1.htm http://www.cowichan.bc.ca/visit/activities/agri_tourism.htm http://www.genoabaymarina.com http://www.fairburnfarm.bc.ca/visit.htm Fairburn Farm--chef Mara Jernigan's Link to map for Vancouver island wineries http://www.vancouverisland.com/Maps/?id=83 http://www.islandfarmfresh.com/map7.html http://www.cowichanbayfarm.com/news.htm http://www.sookeharbourhouse.com/ http://www.whiffinspitlodge.com/ http://www.cherrypointvineyards.com/ http://www.saturnavineyards.com/ http://www.saltspringvineyards.com/ http://garryoakswine.com/ http://www.merridalecider.com/ http://www.gbvineyards.com/ http://www.bluegrousevineyards.com/ http://www.zanatta.ca/ Vancouver Island is the place to go- There is so much food and places to see and do steve
  23. Let's bring this conversation forward and slide back to discussing "C". firstly I would like to say something about portion size- I really have a hard time with this, is it a person can not just order another dish or can not a group of people share a whole bunch of dishes and explore different things. I agree this would be an expensive venture but that is the main point of my side of things. It cost a lot of money to developed and create food on this level and as usual many people will not venture out and be daring and try that path not normally taken. Yes-there is big risk and many things could be a hit and miss, the whole idea in a restaurant like "c" is this is why it is here- it is not going to tow party lines and venture down that easy road to please the masses. It is like that way outside jazz player playing stuff like Miles Davis did in the sixties and yes people at first thought he was a flake and many just did not understand. A slight comparison is with classical music- I have not the palate and do not necessarily get into it but I do not criticize the music because I do not like it. This is where critics over the years have really dissed "c"- if the reviewer does not like what they have they will slam the restaurant and yes "c" is a very expensive restaurant by Vancouver standards but in the real world "c" is cheap. They are pricing things according to what it cost and can not charge what they need to charge so they have to adjust the portion size so they can control the unit price. Go out in the Vancouver market and buy all the ingredients and do an a menu exclusively seafood and you will see what things cost. Go out and buy all those expensive plates and flowers and linen and incorporate that into your cost you will be delighted to see " c" is not that bad. It has it's place in the city and is working towards always moving forward in the creative side of food presentation and it is not always about just a dinner out to fill your belly but create dialog about what it is doing- the fact that "c" is always in one form or another in the media- this is a good thing because press is good press and it is better then no press at all. steve
  24. The Vancouver Market is really not that big so to have a half dozen restaurants specialising in seafood for a market of 250,000 people is a little over the top, but you can get fresh seafood at many of the good local high end restaurants. The other main problem is the way we in Canada export all of what we produce, so much of the best stuff is sold over seas and a major percentage of Wholesalers who sell to restaurants is not that big. Albion seafood is one of the biggest to sell to restaurants and many of the smaller ones buy from them, so unless you are buying a tonne of fish your options are limited. Billingsgate out of Calgary has similarly buying power as Albion so you can get as good seafood in Alberta as good as you can in Vancouver. This is one strange phenominom -yes it is a little mixed up but that is the way it is. We need to stop exporting so much and sell to the local market. Fisherman would be happy to have the cushy support milk gets. A Canadian market that never goes down and a price that is always subsidized, this alone is one confusing thing. We would have so much seafood if the business got the subsidies the dairy industry receives. The other thing is Vancouver is one of the toughest places to make money in the restaurant business. The customers in Vancouver have spent all their money on their houses and cars and are not willing to pay what it really cost to have a great meal. Dinner prices should be in the 30-40 dollar range not 20-30 range. There really is only room for so many restaurants and the Vancouver market is taped out. The tourist market is what keeps many places alive. If it were not for that extra seating each night from the Concierge dept of all the hotels many of Vancouver's restaurants that have been around would not be here. Also if many of the old stand byes had to get into the market today they would have a really hard time. The last twenty years in Vancouver you have five open and five close. We really have not grown that much in overall numbers in high end fine dinning. We have the same hard core group who all have been here for a while and they work their but off to keep margins and stay in business it is not a cake walk for any of them. The days are numbered for cheap food in Vancouver, Soon you will all have to pay and pay to get a meal. The labour shortage will have to be addressed by increased wages plus the increase in all cost and high rent will be the end of one of the cheapest dinning cities in north America. I just saw opening soon and some restaurant spent 3.5 million to open up in the westin in San Fransisco, what do you think they are charging? So I say enjoy what you have and get out there and enjoy cheap local seafood before you have to get a second job to go out. Steve
  25. I was wondering the same thing- she went on for over two years being negative about "c" and would not let anyone have a different opinion. She realy had a great hate on going. "C" is a restaurant that has a very creative bend and sometimes people will get lost on its appoach- it is like Jazz or any other art form sometimes it is so outhere the audience can not understand or maybe is not there ( same head space). art for art sake? steve
  • Create New...