My name is Larry St. Aubin. This is my story and am sticking to it.
I was baking a frozen pizza one day, as I had done many days in the past. Quick and easy foods were my way of life It was at that moment an epiphany happened. I decided to learn how to cook. No more would I rely on processed and pre-prepared food.
My pug dogs looked at me excitedly, wholly supporting my decision (and hoping for a pizza crust). The idea of me dropping bits of food to the floor while I cooked quite appealed to them.
Montreal, 2017. Exploring the old city and food trucks
I like to share my culinary adventures with my pugs (and they are all for that). However, given public health laws, dogs are not generally accepted in restaurants. When we went to Montreal we explored some food trucks. This will be the subject of a future blog post. We found an amazing Indian cuisine truck just around the corner from our hotel – Damon. Too spicy for the pugs but they loved the naan.
I researched and found George Brown College had the best programme – Hospitality and Culinary Arts. I enrolled in Culinary Arts I – which is a hands on course for home cooks who want to improve their skills and learn tips from an experienced chef. I was in heaven. One of the first foods I made at home was the lasagna pictured on the home page. I made the pasta dough from scratch, rolled it through the machine, made the tomato sauce and prepped the vegetables. I was so amazed at what I had done, I decided to go full tilt into the culinary world.
First day at Culinary Arts BEFORE I learned how to hold a knife safely in a kitchen
I enrolled in the Culinary Skills stream. This is the programme that trains people to be professional cooks. The courses are graded with both written tests and food cooking/presentations to determine the grade. The first thing we had to learn in knife skills was the different dices of vegetables. I found that vegetable prep can be meditative when you get into the zone.
Attempting to create correct dicing and slicing.
During my time in these courses I became aware that cooking can be a road to a whole new way of learning. The almost limitless combinations of ingredients, cooking methods and technologies meant a road with many delights along the way. This became my personal cooking philosophy.
The Diamond Club on Sherbourne Street, Toronto
While going to university, I worked as a waiter part time. I worked in big family restaurants, dinner theatre and fine dining. The restaurant business has helped to develop me as a person. Now, I’m going to build on the past with an appreciation for food and the culinary arts.
As happens in life, I met an old friend whom I hadn’t seen in years. He was a cook at the time I knew him but was now a professional chef and professor at George Brown – Chef David Wolfman. He had just published his cookbook and was having a signing plus tasting menu event. I surprised him that night and he has been an inspiration to me on my path.
David does a lot of great work with the Indigenous community. You can follow his work on this Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/chef.wolfmanWith Chef David Wolfman’s book signing and Tasting Menu, Pow Wow Cafe, Toronto
From his book the delicious Mexican Spice Cake with rosewater cream sauce, gold dust, chocolate shavings, berry and edible pansy.
Wolfman, David. [Chef David Wolfman] (2018, April, 28). Mexican Chocolate cake with Rosewater cream at Ku Kum kitchen.
With this blog I will chart the adventures and mistakes of the culinary world as seen through the eyes of a former frozen pizza eater who is now on a more sustainable and healthy journey.