It's all about Passion
2006 and I’m getting a drive to school from Dad. I’m in the 11th grade and say something on the drive that’s going to change my life.
“I think I want to become a Chef.”
The idea was never far fetched. Luis (Dad) has been a Chef for all of his career. I grew up with our family having a take-out shop called, Kingston Fish & Chips. Before school I would see the mise en place happen, even though I didn’t have a clue what mise was. Then after school I would come back to the shop and have my favourite for dinner, the fish and chips obviously! Once the shop got sold in early 2000, Luis moved on to be Executive Chef at The Kingsdale Chateau, a retirement residence he took to become one of the top places the Holiday Corporation had in Canada for 5 years running. At this point I was his dishwasher when I proclaimed what I wanted for my chosen career. From dishwashing to becoming a Chef one day, just like Dad.
When I told Dad that I was ready to enter the culinary world on a serious level, he gave me the one piece of advice that I would give to any young cook today, and that has stuck with me ever since.
“You have to have a passion for it.”
Simple, right? At that moment I was told about the realities of this business. The high’s and lows, the hours, the grind, and how much of yourself you mentally and physically give to create.
One summer morning, I got woken up by a call from Dad saying one of his cooks called in sick and he needs me to help him with lunch service. 100 people service, 3 courses and I can still remember the main course was roast beef with yorkshire pudding and scalloped potatoes. I was nervous as all hell, but Chef Lou showed me whether I realized it or not at that time, how to conduct myself on the line. First shift as a cook was with Dad and it will always be my favourite moment in the kitchen. That’s how it all started and now we’re here today.
From that first shift at Kingsdale Chateau to now launching Sauce on Side, he is there with me every step of the way. I graduated Algonquin College just like him. He got me my first knife kit. Anytime I need advice, I turn to Dad. Recipe ideas? Dad. How to conduct myself and grow as a Chef? You bet your ass Luis has got the answer.
At 60 years young you better believe he’s still putting away food orders, making sure mise en place is done for the days ahead, and organizing any special events he’s asked to head up. I don’t think many days go by without someone in the kitchen saying those three little words, “Lou’s got it.” And I guarantee you those young cooks are having a hard time keeping pace with him most days. That’s just how my Dad’s built.
Sauce on Side is about Passion. And if my eyes weren’t opened up to it that day, then I wouldn’t be doing what I absolutely love.
So, to all the working parents out there in this industry, you deserve so much more credit than any feature in a magazine, or accolades given to you. You deserve more than social media followers and passing compliments for creating memorable moments in people’s lives. For those of us who don’t have kids, we’ll never understand how much you do for your family, and your restaurant. A special thanks goes out to all of you.
And to you, thanks Dad.