I went into cooking not because of food, but because it reveals so much about us.
I went into teaching not because I wanted to share myself, but because I wanted to learn more of myself. My work has always, and continues, to be about discovery. Following the food of Paris through the personal discoveries of three Northwest graduates was incredibly revealing.
I cannot describe the pride I have for our students and graduates. As much as I am told I inspire them, they inspire me. Learn the learner, they say. The three graduates have their personal story about discovery, for Paris will push a cook’s envelope – especially if French is not their first language. I left Paris inspired by the courage of these three fine people. I will keep their identity somewhat private, and share their unique story.
Lina graduated in 2012, Professional Culinary.
Close to 30 years old. Extremely intelligent in so many fields, especially everything related to design and art. When we walked the streets in Le Marais district, she explained the architectural details of the fascinating buildings. She’s versed in art history too. Imagine a tour guide with architectural, art history, and cooking aplomb. Lina is intense and passionate. She brings so much to the table. She helped open a few restaurants in Vancouver before deciding, on a whim, to purchase a one way ticket to Paris and really discover how far she wants to take this passion. Her classmates voted her the most likely graduate who will one day make food that will wow! people. She’s been in Paris for little over 6 weeks. She presently works temporarily as a line cook at Bones Restaurant while she searches for something more permanent.
What insight did she share? This is a tough field to move to next levels, especially in kitchens mostly dominated by men, and very young at that. Dealing with testosterone can be challenging, but all in all, skill, brains, and commitment are the great equalizer. Lina has reached the point where she knows her talents, trusts herself, and can focus on chasing more skill. Her knowledge of food is so vast for someone still relatively new to the profession. I noticed that her dancing background came in handy as I watched her swiftly move in the tiny kitchen. This field, I know, needs people like her, who are as passionate and versed in all arts, and with business acumen and ambition to boot. Perseverance will pay off.
About Bones restaurant. Like its name, straightforward, gutsy, brave, honest, to the heart food and flavours (and speaking of heart, duck heart was one of the evening’s amuse bouche). The cooking style, it appears, doesn’t rely on funk and spices, but more on precise cuissson and solid combinations. Somewhat dark and bare dining room, but welcoming and comfortable, the perfect ambiance when you’re in the mood to sink your teeth and conversation into something real. My kind of place, to be honest.
My favorite item? The paleron, a special cut from the chuck of beef usually reserved for stews and ground meat, which was bravely and exceptionally grilled a point. And no demi-glace sauce to mask this tasty cut. Served with a well-composed puree of kale. So tasty, I forgot to take a picture. I’ll take that steak over a rib-eye any day.
The sweetbreads and squid prior were straightforwardly well cooked and flavoured. Where does this food fall? Classic? Actually, conceptually, it reminded me of the Trosigros’ classic salmon with sorrel: smart uncomplicated pairings of complementary/contrasting ingredients. Loved the homemade bread and butter, by the way. The kitchen is run by Aussie chef James Henry, who had a night off. Hats off, mate.