Updated: Mar 23, 2020
So, you’re the Thirsty Chef. Why Thirsty? Is the first question I get. Which is followed by a smug “Is it because you like to drink?” Very simply and truthfully, Yeah-No or in my case No-Yeah. I may like to imbibe but I also have an insatiable thirst for life, learning, adventure and making others happy with my food. Fulfillment from this has happened almost daily since I graduated cooking school some 40 years ago. Yup, I’ve been cooking longer than some of my past bosses have been alive. Lord, give me strength.
After culinary school I was cutting my teeth for many years cooking in some of the best and worst kitchens you’ve ever seen. When I thought I was finally ready I made it to Chef and ran several kitchens for a few years. Then things changed – re-evaluation time happens when you become a dad. The 16-hour days, hanging with staff for beeeerssss after service and other behaviours just don’t work when you want to be an awesome dad. Basically, knock it off and it’s time to grow up!
A few years later after bumbling around and barely make ends meet, I made the decision to go corporate. Originally, I had thought that my CV which listed almost 20 previous “places of employment” would be a roadblock. Hah! All the skills and references basically prepared me to knock it out of the park on two black boxes and a working interview. It landed me a dream gig which most of my chef-y friends would have shanked me for in the walk-in with a boning knife. I was the corporate chef for one of the biggest players in the global food service equipment industry. I did that for 12 years and it was awesome. Travel, expense account, status, $$$, hanging with the big guns… all the things that mean nothing and make you think you’re something.
And that’s when it happened. A few years ago, I lost my thirst, my juju... I was just chopping an endless bag of carrots and getting nowhere. After digging deep within and seeking clarity on why there was no sense of fulfilment and why I was just no longer thirsty, it came to me like a mystical epiphany. With the support of my wife we made a huge leap. I (we) left the cocoon of the big city and the corporate world and made the biggest change of our married life. Friends and family said we were crazy and had lost our minds, but we knew we had to do this. So, we sold our sweet historic brownstone that we had lovingly renovated and blew that pop stand for what we knew would be the next great chapter in our life.
We landed here on PEI in May 2019, with not even a plan… but funny enough my thirst was back. Slowly a plan became visible. We would buy a restaurant and rock this sandbar. (I’m not sure if anyone knows this, but banks don’t just give you money if you have a good idea. Huh, who knew?) After several meetings and many, many business plan revisions - and a real honest and truthful inward look at what I wanted to do - we bought what is now one of my most prized possessions: The Pig Mobile Food Trailer.
Yup, it is the coolest and one of the most fun things I’ve ever done. Scary as shit, but I now do things my way on my terms, and it’s been an awesome ride. Owning a mobile food trailer allows me the freedom to share my passion for honest, simple and delicious food with almost no boundaries. Catering is a natural extension and allows me to fulfill the other side of my creativity by providing unique dining experiences. All this only made sense.
We now live in one of the most amazing provinces in Canada, Prince Edward Island. It provides me with an abundance of farmed produce and livestock, harvested seafood and shellfish, and an unending resource to entrepreneurial manufacturing and production. I stand inspired in my well-worn twenty-three-year-old clogs and favorite apron daily, and am adamant that there’s no better place to be than right here on Food Island. I am thirsty once again.
That is me and this is my first mini blog. It’s just an introduction of who I am and what I stand for. I truly hope you come back and check out the next one as I post.
So, cheers to good food, good friends, great drinks, an amazing wife, and a wonderful life.