When did you decide to become a chef?
I’ve always been a sports guy, so when I got into cooking, I really liked the team aspect of it. You work together as a team to make a perfect plate.
What was your apprenticeship like?
I started off at East Side Mario’s, then I went to George Brown. After that I went to work with Michael Stadtländer at Eigensinn Farm. Growing up in the city and then going to the farm to live for six months, you kind of see the bigger picture. It’s very spiritual up there. I did farm work during the week, and on Thursdays we would prep for Friday and Saturday dinners. Michael Stadtländer has had a lead role in my cooking career. It was difficult working with him at first, but then he warms up to you, and he starts to teach you more. He makes you do the smallest things first, like cutting a chive, or cutting a shallot. If you can’t do that properly, you’re going to have to work your way up a bit more.
There have been challenges with the long hours and staying up and worrying about whether I’ve done things wrong.
Ingredients should be as fresh as possible. If you pick an herb off a plant and let it sit for a day, or for a week, it’s not going to have the same flavour as when you use it fresh off the plant.
What are some misconceptions about today’s generation of young cooks?
There are some people that can get into the rock star chef mentality, but if you’re a young chef like me, you should listen to your mentors and elders and respect them. You should stay quiet in the kitchen until you’re more experienced.
Hopefully exploring. I’d like to go to Japan and work there. That’s where my father is from, so I want to learn traditional Japanese cooking. I’d like to open up my own restaurant one day, but that’s a long way down the road.