Being in the industry for 19 years and counting. I somehow have myself doing way too much & when I tell myself to slow down I usually end up getting an idea and start another 20 projects. FOOD is my passion. I live and breath it everyday & look for different way to keep myself entertained. Cooking was always in my family. My grandfathers life was spared since he baked for the army in the World War II. My dad cooks everyday, who was taught by his mother. My mom is an excellent bakers & boys I can’t bake for sh*t. I usually just stuff my face with desserts until I feel so sick to my stomach! That’s my only connection with desserts! Eating them. My journey started at 16 when I decided I wanted to bake cookies & realized right away I couldn’t bake & decided to be In the hot kitchen line where salt and seasoning is not to be measured by a spoon but a handful of your fingers. Little bit of this and a little bit of that. One day one gentleman changed my life forever. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was a kid in grade 11 where I got my placement at North 44. I was told I was going to start my co op there and of-course the second day I was told I was going to a pastry shop. Once again I somehow told them I researched the place & that I have done my research at North 44 and that I wasn’t going anywhere else!
>> I met Mark Mcewan, who simply is a “G” like “Martha Stewart”. Mark is a perfectionist and the man who saw my potential before anyone else. There I started my journey with cleaning oysters, spinach, peeling pearl onions & potatoes for the next six months! Well boy that taught me the basics of the kitchen. The speed the precision and the basics that every cooks needs to learn! No cook should touch any Proteins till year two! The next thing was dressings. i nailed those in no time & burned croutons every second day cause the oven was always cranked to 500F. I had a great partner on that station. Ryan Cambell, who now owns the Italian restaurant IL COVO.
We fought everyday because I was always 10 minutes late… and even when I had a bagel sandwich for him. He didn’t care hahah love you Ryan! If you are in the industry you know Ryan is very meticulous about everything!! I finally got to pasta station after being on garde manger for 2.5 years. I got so good that they kept me there forever but it was a good thing because it truly taught me to do 50 things in 4 hours. I remember one day chef Mark Mcewan came back from Italy and he insisted I made the new pasta dish for him. I looked like a deer in the head light And pretty sure i peed my pants. I got really scared every time I cooked for chef! The verdict was he came back and told me my braised rabbit pappardelle dish with roasted vegetables was better then anything he had in Italy ???♀️! And that he would like another. Score! I realized slowly that I was actually getting good at cooking. That fed my soul and excited me to what was to come in my later years. Ryan and I always competed on who was going to be on sauce station first. He beat me to it by 3 months! He got to work along his mentor Rob Gentile the man behind the Buca empire. Few months later we were all doing services that were the hardest I have ever had in my life. Sauce station was no joke and the hardest station I have ever worked on in my entire life. I was 100 lbs at that time. No man was going to tell me no to lifting a million litres of stock pots and that I couldn’t do it as a female. I found support from all my peers including chef Mark Mcewan. There was always completion from the cooks in the kitchen but thats what we all fed off of and got better and better every single day. We started taping the show The Heat with Mark Mcewan. Which was a reality show on food network. You got to see us open One restaurant at the Hazelton on my 23rd bday and as as my first sous chef position. Ofcourse I had the tallest 6 foot guys to teach out of everyone! A year later chef Mark mcewans appointed me to run his first Mcewan store at shops at don mills… stay tuned for more stories .