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Everything posted by ColinD

  1. I'm confused. If he's the "chef-in-residence", doesn't that mean he has to live in Edmonton? Or will he be moving there? ← I would think this coincides with the new Cactus Club opening at WEM Colin
  2. so I guess theres not to many choices then?
  3. Thanks for the suggestion, thats one that is definitely on my list. Colin
  4. The wife and I will be in Van/North Burnaby for the weekend. We have an opportunity to get out for dinner on Saturday night (sister in-law will be looking after the little one), we were thinking about The Pear Tree for dinner but were wondering if anyone has any other suggestions. We would really like to see a tasting menu or table d'hote style menu preferably with wine pairings. Only restritions would be travel time and distance as we both enjoy our wine and will be cabbing it for the evening. Cheers Colin
  5. A lot of the chanterelles you see on local menus are from Saskatchewan, not sure how many BC chanterelles make it on plates here. The mushrooms from Sask. tend to hold up better than our BC ones (they are drier). That being said theres nothing like a saute pan of fresh picked chanterelles and coho salmon to get the juices flowing. Colin
  6. That would probably be Tim Cuff, nice guy, very talented had the chance to work with him at a couple wine related functions as well as at a few trade shows. another reason to pop over to Tofino. Colin
  7. Hi Brenda, just to clarify CP Hotels purchased Fairmont in 2000 not the other way around. Service issues have nothing to do with the change of the flag over the door, I would hazard a guess and say it has a lot to do with the overall shortage of labour that the island is facing, as well as an aging workforce (The Empess has some of the longest term CP/Fairmont employees in the whole company) and not being able to replace them as they retire. Colin
  8. Ham!! 25 years of cooking turkey in hotels (Thanksgiving and Xmas) has put me off turkey forever. My favorite way of cooking turkey if I'm actually forced to do one is to de-bone, brine (brown sugar, sea salt and bourbon) and roast. Colin
  9. Times are a changing, there is a shortage of 'good' cooks and the kids coming out of these programs know that. People will now cross the street for $.25 an hour, if you even look the wrong way at someone they will walk. Its become a 'kids gloves' enviroment, we are forced to coddle and put up with a lot more crap than ever before. The kids coming out of school need a lot more guidance than ever before, when I did my apprenticeship (20 years ago) we worked a station for 8 hours and then did another 8 hours OT (own time) somewhere else in the kitchen to learn as much as possible. Now cooks look for OT if they have to stay an extra 5 minutes and then they expect to be 'spoon fed' thier training. They expect chefs to provide them with 'insparation' on a daily basis, the only insparation I ever got was the threat of a boot in my a**. I still think that as a trade the culinary field needs to be more regulated, require all cooks to apprentice and take their schooling that way. Bring the D'brulles, PVI's,VCC and all the others into the fold and standardize the basic training. Sure have the upgrade courses available but lets ensure that these kids are getting the basics that they need to at least survive the first week in the real world, it always amazes me the number of students who get hired that come to me a week later and say they have to leave because the job is 'too hard'. When it comes to wages the only way things will change is if we start charging more to offset the labour cost and that means the customers will have to carry the load. Why can the Fairmont hotels in the city afford to pay a 1st cook $18.00 an hour? because they charge $21.00 for a clubhouse sandwich (okay maybe not quite that much but you get the point). Colin
  10. My understanding is that GFS has owned a chunk of Albion for a while and recently took complete ownership. ← GFS had formed a partnership with Albion, as much as they have a partnership with Intercity packers, Hills foods ect.
  11. Gordon Food Service recently bought Albion Fisheries, hopefully that will give Albion the buying power to outbid the American and Asian distributors as that seems to be where most of the local stuff goes. I've tried many times to go exclusively West Coast seafood and all seems to go well for a couple weeks then all of a sudden certain types aren't available. Upon questioning my sales reps it usually turns out that its not available to Albion anymore but GFS or North Douglas Sysco will have stock. Its a dollar game and the buyer with the most cash gets the stock. Colin
  12. I haven't read the story, but am I to assume that the once again there is nothing north of Duncan to write about? The 'great unwashed masses' of the mid and north island are to be avoided I guess. Colin
  13. Thankfuly the Effinghams were not affected by red tide although my regular shellfish supplier (Whaletown Bay on Cortez) was, but as of last saturday he was cleared to ship again. West coast Van Isle mussels (mediteranean) and manila clams from Sooke were also available for the most part. With the extra long spawn this year and then red tide I wonder how producers like Saltspring and Whaletown can stay in business. Now if only salmon prices would come down a bit all will be well again in the seafood business. Colin
  14. We used to use them but their product was a little too pricey for our guests as well they were not willing to grow micro greens for me, although they may have changed their mind this season as they become more popular with restaraunts. I currently pay $67 a lb for micro greens, a very inconsistant product that is returned to the supplier more often than accepted, I went out today and bought supplies to grow my own, we'll see how that works. Shelora, thanks for the PM, I will definetly give him a call. Colin
  15. Thanks Shelora, sometimes I feel like I'm in a culinary void up here, could just be the fact that I work so much and don't get the chance to network. Colin
  16. Thanks Matt, I was thinking of Barnston, thats who I used when I was on the mainland, I'll have to check and see if they come this far north. Gavin the herb guy sounds a lot like Anthony the veggie guy Colin
  17. Do any of my fellow Vancouver Island Chefs know where I can purchase Micro Greens? My usuall supplier has been having difficulties in getting a consistant product. Short of growing them myself, I'm at wits end. TIA Colin
  18. I did see some at the Pender Street Ming Wo a while back, otherwise I second Pacific Rest. Supply, I use them for my comercial needs and they are able to get most things I need. Colin
  19. Really good chips too, got turned on to the chips last year and thankfuly they are available at Save On in Parksville Colin
  20. our view is better (we're on the ocean) and enjoy beautiful sunsets. Rooms are difficul to book as we have few that are available as rentals. Our spa is top notch, Tigh na Mara's is also incredible and would be a real treat for the ladies (and some guys). As far as food goes, I like to think ours is better, if anything its different from what they do at tigh na mara. We do fill up fast so its best to make a reso. Patio should be open consistantly pretty soon, as well the menu should be changing soon (if I can get some staff to cook it) to a lighter summer menu featuring local seafoods and produce. Colin
  21. Shelora, were 10 minutes outside of Nanaimo and 5 min away from Parksville, hardly a major commute by LM standards. There has been talk of a shuttle service, BC transit has a bus that goes by the resort, unfortunetly its every 4 hours We are going to be offering a summertime signing bonus to all employees that survive until October, that may generate some intrest however there just doesen't seem to be the same amount of people looking for work as in previous years. Colin
  22. I hear ya McTee, worked there for 2 years. Some good points James, one difference I do see however up island, is what the customer is willing to pay for a meal. That definetly will reflect on what we as employers can afford to pay our staff, in order to acheive any proffitability at all something has to give, and unfortunetly its wages. I'd be interested in hearing some of your solutions for finding staff as I'm almost at my wits end, short of grabbing people off the street. Does anyone think the price of gas has an effect on finding staff? The majority of my staff comute from Nanaimo everyday (30km) Guess its one of the drawbacks of being in a rural setting. Colin
  23. Andrew, the big downtown hotels Pan, Waterfront, H. Van ect. pay 1st cooks (journeymen) around $17 -18 an hour. I've been away from the Waterfront for 2 years now and that was what we were paying at that time. The $12 - 15 is definetly closer to the norm for stand alone locations. Average wage in Nanaimo for cooks is around the $9.00 mark (did a recent wage survey) One thing I have seen more of this year is guys coming in who have spent the last couple of years in constuction and are now looking for something else, little or no experience, basically looking for something to pay rent until the next construction boom up here. The culinary program at Malaspina is putting a lot of cooks through right now but one has to wonder where they are all going. Colin
  24. I have to agree with Shelora, I've had an incredibly hard time staffing this year, it seems that for every one cook hired 3 leave, if we weren't a resort I'm sure we would be looking at closing a couple days a week. I think a lot of the problem comes from the fact that a lot of the young cooks now a days have stars in their eyes and have heard of the $15 - 18 dollar an hour jobs in Vancouver and are heading straight for them. Unfortunetly the same people that are telling them about these high paying cooks job aren't telling them that for every $15 an hour job there are dozen $9 an hour jobs. I pay my staff a decent wage ($2.00 more than most of the local places), is it what I used to pay them when I worked for Fairmont? hardly, but then again I don't charge $21 for a clubhouse sandwich. When I first moved to the Island and started looking at the job market I couldn't believe the what the average cooks wage was, every employer I would talk to would go on about how much cheaper it is to live here and how you don't need to make as much, I called BS on more than one occasion. Gas is $1.10 a litre, rents are comparable to the LM, groceries cost as much if not more. Its a perception that needs to change if the industry is going to grow here. Colin
  25. a great visual product with the shell, unfortunetly I get more complaints when I serve these than any other shellfish. I love em, but I think people are so programmed to the little white round things we normaly call scallops that to eat one with all its part attached freaks them out, Aqua Star has a great product out as well, a 10/20 scallop with the roe attached a very nice product, once again I love em, but customers flinch at the sight of the roe sack. Colin
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