The days are counting down. Cooking school is almost over and now I must face what the restaurant world has to offer and what it is that I have to give to the food universe. Even though I am so ready to bolt out of school right now, I know this is only the beginning of my journey. Like many things, being in school is the easy part, the test begins in a month and a half when I will be looking for work in the best kitchens in the city.
Just read an excerpt from Anthony Bourdain’s new book and he said that if you are at least 34 years of age and are thinking of a career in the kitchen…. it would be best to forget about it cause you are just too damn old! Forget about it? Are you kidding me? Holy shit, I’m a decade older than this suggested age limit and I find myself in the middle of embarking into this crazy career. Is he really serious? Am I out of my mind? Am I past my prime to be cooking? Really? Well he must’ve been talking about your average joes in this world and that my friends, I’m definitely not part of that gang. Yes of course, I am probably truly out of my mind so… Fuck it – that is my motto. I’ve started and there is no looking back now! I know that I’m still physically fit enough to work in this demanding environment and I’m creative enough to make great tasting food. Very passionate, inspired and continually to be motivated to the making and eating of amazingly tasty food. I gather at least that makes me ahead of the curve.
Autumn is definitely knocking on the door today. The wind and skies are churning with a mix of chill along with pinches of rain. Very intense and so exciting. It is brewing into something thick and rich. The summer has been incredible here with the sunny hot days and bountiful food and drinks with friends and loved ones.
Summer has arrived in my incredibly wonderful city of Montreal! Here in the Mile-End Plateau, the council seems to be doing an fantastic job in turning the quartier to an eco-conscious, sustainable, and truly livable paradise. More bike lanes, reduction in traffic, larger sidewalks, green spaces, planting of trees, plant distribution and public farmers markets are progressively brought to our neighbourhood. What is best is that most of my friends live within walking or biking distance… pretty lucky stuff I would say.
I will soon be having a little break from my culinary classes for July. I have to say that I am looking forward to taking some time away from school and the kitchen to rejuvenate myself for the next session. Will be doing a stage at l’Hotel W in August for the Banquet course for two weeks. It will be good to actually work in the field rather than in the class room. This last week at school has been a bit arduous. Everyone seems to be burning out a little and the passion or care by my fellow students and the instructors themselves seems to be wading thin these days. We are all looking forward to getting away from one another. Visiting my family in Vancouver soon! Can’t wait.
It has taken me some time before being able to sit down and blog. Due to a recent tragic event, I have not been able to make a clear sense of things. Nothing ever prepares you for senselessness. My very dear friend Bernard passed away on February 11, 2010… There are things that are so unexpected and inexplicable in life that no form of analysis can ever resolve or answer the many unanswerable questions. All I can say is that Bernard was an amazingly generous, fun, crazy friend. Someone asked me once if the Personal Fitness Course that I took was a waste of time because I didn’t pursue it as a career in it. I replied: Are you kidding me? I might have found the fitness industry boring, insipid and stupid but I made a great lifelong friend from it. Absolutely no regrets as the choices we make often leads to other possibilities and meanings. Making choices informs you on life and if you are lucky, puts you onto the path of meeting the people that might one day be very important to you. Bernard was one of those very important unique people that I have had the privileged to have met and called a friend.
Bernard and his beautiful wife Carolynn were the best Bon vivants and I wanted to emulate their love of eating great food. drinking amazing wine, and traveling the world. Bernard always found a way to laugh at things when it was going bad and there was always the typical French comment attached to it: “C’est Con!” He always made me laugh.
Eating dinner at their place was always an eventful feast with fantastic food and wine. Each meal was more decadent than the other. Delicious Foie Gras, Cassoulet avec Canard, Fresh raw Oysters on a half shell, Saucisse Boudin (only started to enjoy it at Bernard and Carolynn’s), Fondues, Sushi nights are some of the typical meals with copious amounts wine that was enjoyed at Bernard and Carolynn’s. I always ended stomach full and lying on the couch afterwards while they continued to party on. I admired and continue to admire their endurance and great taste for all the good and simple things in life. Damn, if we could have only eaten and drank our way around the world together! Glad we had a chance to attempt to just that one night in Paris where we met up and ate, drank, and walked as much as we could within a 7 hour period. Didn’t have much time together but boy did we try to fill our stomachs as much as possible with the time that we had together. Man that was so fucking fun and so privileged to have shared it with these two beautiful people. It was extraordinary!
I devote my pursuit in the culinary arts to you Bernard. I will cook with the passion that you have instilled in me to appreciate food, wine, friends, and life to the utmost. Miss you very much my dear friend. Rest In Peace.
You are much loved and appreciated. Your friend, Tony