Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Monty has Returned...

Monty's name is actually Lawrence Hartle...Larry to most! I call him Monty because he is the only junior cook I know of that drives a sup'd up Monty Carlo. While living in Ontario I used to oogle my Chefs Monty Carlo...and here a lowly ole cook owns one..haha

 Monty is an Alberta Boy!! Except he rarely says "You Betcha" or "For Sure"...fresh outta High School and not your typical teenager. He has a work ethic...and a love of food, which has led to us working together. He reminds me of myself a few years ago...just starting out in the business. Eager to learn...and no experience.

 Larry came by his job in a funny way. The Chef was away on vacation and he showed up to ask if we were hiring...he was told we might be... Chef would be back in a few days and he could talk to him then. Well when Chef arrived was this stranger in a white coat and beanie working away. "Did I hire this person??" Monty took it upon himself to just start showing up so that he could learn a few things...this is the kind of attitude and drive that get u hired immediately. He was hired on the spot!

 Sometimes no experience is the best experience! You are then able to mold someone into the person you would like them to be. He was of the pliable type lol. Larry started out on the breakfast line...a fast paced lonely line (only one person works it usually) that builds speed instantly if you want to survive...and survive he did. When I arrived on the scene Larry had already been on the line part time on weekends while going to school. Once out of school he opt'd for full time Breakfast. He learned the line quickly and can probably kick my ass easily cookin the menu now...

 He isn't much of a have to force a conversation with him. Slowly he is coming out of his shell (I've even seen him sticking up for himself now)...mind u I scare the crap out of most...I am the complete opposite...loud, brash, in your face... type A personality. When asked something cooking related he usually raises an eyebrow...turns completely red...and just stares at ya...this is when you realize that he doesn't have a freakin clue as to what you are talking about. This had to change...Monty needed the knowledge all cooks require. Luckily we work at the Sawridge and have such a great support system in place. Let the APPRENTICESHIP BEGIN...

 He was trucked off to Edmonton to begin his apprenticeship program at NAIT. For two months he was thrown in with other experienced cooks to begin learning the skills of the trade. Any cook worth his weight loves to share his knowledge with someone that wants to learn...and I looked forward to the Facebook messages for help or advice while he was gone. I want Monty to succeed...he is the future of the industry!

 Well a month ago Larry returned..

 So now he gets to utilize the knowledge he has absorbed. There are book smart cooks that just burn everything they touch...yet can recite Escoffier word for word...and there are real cooks! Larry is going to be a real cook. The eyebrow raises less when asked something now...and you can see the confidence building inside of him. It makes me smile!!

 Since his return one of the things Chef has done is removed Breakfast from his life. He is now on the Night Line with Carlito, Rey, Michael, Christina and I. So he is gettin a brand new set of questions posed to him and eyebrow incidents are on the rise again. Once a week he must produce a three course meal for a duece (Chef and a random Sous Chef). Larry is allowed to utilize any product in a fridge or freezer to produce these menu's, and if it cant be found in-house we will order in anything he wishes. The rules to the meal are simple...High End Cuisine! Now Monty's idea of High End is much different than ours...but he's learning that too. In reality I'm proud of even his failures...that's how we learn. 

 Which brings me to the real reason for this post...Monty is starting to produce Gorgeous Food!! Yesterday was a busy day...we had a million things on the go...and Larry trying to produce his meal while chaos was occurring all around him. 

 He started with an Amuse-Bouche of a Grilled San Marzano Tomato cup filled with a Spanish Summer Paella...this was going well till in the midst of all hell breaking loose...God decided it was a perfect time to set off the fire alarms...all equipment OFF and outside we sat for half an hour before Chef got to taste it. No Photo ... Next course please

 His next course was an Atlantic Seafood Chowder. Now this a daunting thing to make in our kitchen...a kitchen full of East Coasters that know good Seafood. The Boy passed with flying colours!!! Considering he didn't even know how to cook a Scallop till yesterday...he really Rocks even!! The Chowder was velvet-y smooth...the Saffron, Lobster Shells and King Crab gave it a gorgeous colour and flavour. From last weeks mistakes he had learned to correct his garnishes for a dish. He even made Parsley Oil for that little finishing touch.The bowl was Beautiful and I was sooo proud of him.

 The Main was not so no photo there either. He made Sliders Cubed. One Bison Slider, one Venison Slider and a Moose Slider. The flavour was spot on for all of them. He is now learning not to trust recipes though...the buns he made were like little hand we called them Italian Hard Buns lol. The best part of the buns was he also learned not to use the checkered parchment paper we use for Nacho's...all his buns had orange checkered squares baked into them HaHaHa...ya ya he meant to add some excitement to the buns. He made all his own mayo's for the Sliders...then garnished them with Baby Greens and Cipollini Onions. To accompany the the Sliders he made Beet, Parsnip, Carrot and Russet Potato Frites...all with their own Aioli (Flavoured Mayo's made by hand). Upscaled Burger and Fries...

 He spent almost three hours Beet Red yesterday. Larry doesn't hide his nerves very well...but neither do I usually. Every time he asked me something he got one of two responses from me " I dont know Larry...this is your menu" or "Yes Chef!". I gave him the odd little nudge as direction..but ultimately I want him to make his own mistakes..because I know he will actually learn from them. 

 Practice makes Perfect Larry...and your gonna get lots of practice before you have to go back to NAIT for your next tour of duty. Next week it is Rack of Lamb, Pheasant Tenderloins and the rest is to your hearts desire. Dont forget to check out what a Farce is!!

 Know that we are Proud of you...even when you fail. We want every success in the world for ya...YOU ARE THE FUTURE

Wicked Job Keep it Up!!!


  1. Cheers to Larry! I enjoyed reading this story. I can't imagine the fast-paced stress of a commercial kitchen but, I understand the passion to cook, and Larry embodies that desire. Nurture him, teach him well Ken.

  2. Larry's a lucky guy to have you as his nurturing and supportive teacher.......along with the rest of the crew, all of whom you also think so highly. We HAVE to visit!

  3. I used to live in Nova Scotia. That chowder looks fabulous!!

  4. Good stuff here. I've been enjoying what I've been reading!

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