'Would Chef Serve That?'
I moved out to BC at the beginning of 2018 to hit the reset button on life and start a new chapter and business. Before this time, I was part of a very special restaurant group in Banff, Alberta.
We had a small, 35 seat powerhouse of a spot in the heart of the town called Block. I ran the front of house which means I ran the serving team.
Chef ran the kitchen team and built the menu. He also brought the soul and feel of the restaurant from his life experience and recipes and personality.
Together, we built a team that was competent, talented and passionate enough to achieve both TripAdvisor and Yelp’s coveted #1 Rating in the entire town!
To put that into context, there are over 120 restaurants in Banff. We were a total underdog given our small size and unassuming space but we made up for that with a warm and satisfying dining experience for our customers.
I learnt a lot about people in my time there, how to speak to them, how best to make sure our customers leave thrilled with the experience, and how to run a team and keep them cohesive. I also learnt so much from Chef himself about holding the team to a quality standard that was based on honor and self respect.
The fundamental rule with quality standards is you must hold yourself to that level and in doing so, the team will see the example you give off and rise up to meet your level. You could see and taste and smell the effort in every dish and that is what made us excel.
The restaurant was very small. I mean very small. The dining room was about 350sqft, (the size of a big bedroom) the bar took up 1/3 of the space and the customers were packed in every nook and cranny.
It was part of our charm.
Everyone was forced to get to know their neighbors. Of course, it wasn’t for everyone, but most people were charmed by the group dynamic.
Our menu was a mix of small and large plates and sharing was encouraged.
It was a very special time in my life and I will always remember it with very fond memories. I am hoping we can team up again one day and open a new idea I have called ‘Rescue Kitchen and Bar’ in Vancouver.
Chef taught me that standards are based on honor and self respect.
You can put out a dish that you know isn’t up to standards but it’s only going to eat away at your self respect as a team member.
As soon as you compromise once, it gets easier to do so again and pretty soon your life isn’t where it needs to be.
I am going to hold myself to Chef's standards with Dog Days and our clothing printing in house, helping rescue dogs victoria.