Friday, February 12, 2010
Chef's of the Oil Sands : Chef Clarence Buchanan
So I am going to start a new Feature on here today! I am going to start interviewing the local area Chefs. I am pretty sure I'm going to get to meet quite a few characters this way. So today I am beginning with the most important Chef in our area..."Mine". I am going to ask them all the exact same questions...so everyone should get a good glimpse into the "How and Why" they chose the career they did. Hopefully there is some humour thrown in there somewhere.
Name: Clarence D. Buchanan
Age: He wont F@ckin tell us
Position: Executive Chef
Company: Sawridge Inn and Conference Centre
He has been the Executive Chef of the Sawridge Inn and Conference Centre for just over a year now. Clarence is Originally from Cape Breton. He came to the Sawridge via the Royal York in Toronto. He is an excellent Chef! He expects his team to push the limits...and does not freak out when the limits are pushed with a failing result. The only way we learn is by making mistakes...and sometimes those mistakes lead to even better insights..or a new way of doing things. He doesn't yell...that's what he has Billy for. He genuinely gives a shit about you as long as he knows "You give a shit about the food". You may think he isn't watching what your doing ... but HE SEE'S ALL!! You can feel those piercing steel blue eyes burning into you every once in a while. He helps our whole team to improve daily! He doesn't claim to know it all...and he doesn't expect you to. He is politically correct...but knows when to play! I know this may appear to be an "Ass Kissing" but if you knew me you would know that isn't the case. I call a spade a spade...for better or worse!
Where did you attend Culinary School / or did you??
I.W.Akerly in Portsmouth, Nova Scotia. The rest was hands on in Restaurants and Hotels.
What did you find most difficult about this training?
I had found my calling. I didn't find it that difficult. I like to have fun!
Where did you cook growing up?
The best place in the World...Cape Breton Island!
What made you decide to be a Chef?
I cant really say. I had always cooked with my Mother and Sister. I just really liked it.
What is one of the funniest "Kitchen Incidents" you can recall?
When Jody Oakley hit Bob Cook across the side of the head with a leftover Ham Bone. It gave new meaning to "Ham Boned!!".
Best piece of advice for someone just starting out in this Industry?
If your going to go into the Culinary Arts you need decide "Right Away" if it's truly what you want to do. I have seen to many people that lack the Commitment, Drive and Passion for the Arts..."Dont waste our Time!!"
Your best piece of advice for a Novice Cook?
Dont be afraid to make mistakes. The best Chef's push the limits of cooking. It doesn't always work the way you envisioned it. The only regrets are the chances you never took!
Would you do it all again?
Of course I would...a definite Yes!
What is your Least Favorite thing about your job?
What is one of your favorite Kitchen Horror Stories?
Doing a dinner for an Army Company on the 18th floor of the Royal York. One of the guys miss counted the Veal Chops for the plating. The CO of the Company had to wait for his dinner as more chops were cooked. I thought the Chef was going to Stroke when the CO asked for his Veal. It wasn't my part of the plate but I think everybody in the room stopped breathing.
At home what do you like to eat? Honestly!
Ribeye Steak (Prime Rib) with Cumin Boursin Cheese on top served with Grilled Yams, Grilled Tomato and a Baked Potato.
What is your Favorite Dish?
One made with Love!
One where the whole team gave it their all and put every effort into it...this can depend on the team!
What is your favorite Gadget?
At the moment it's an electric Pasta Maker.
How many years have you been in the Industry?
22! (this gives us some insight into just how old he may really be!)
What is your Favorite Cookbook?
James Peterson "Sauce". I held it by my side for my first three years.
Take over the World of course!!