- Created on Monday, 11 July 2011 18:26
- Written by Administrator
JC Felicella, Tyson Gee, Arielle Schwab, Jasper Cruickshank, Santiago Cuyugan, Daniel Davyduke
It was a whirlwind of a trip, a defining moment in the careers of each person there!
When asked in an e-mail two months ago with the subject saying 'Are you available?' we all thought it was going to be another spontaneous fundraiser. But once the contents of the e-mail were read, and read again, it slowly begun to sink in what was happening. And the worst part of it all, we were not allowed to tell anyone.
The e-mail was sent solely to the bodies going, and still, it took us a couple of days to talk about it with one another. And once the details of what were happening were discussed with Chef JC, we each had to go and quietly, in confidentiality go and ask our chefs at work for permission, if given the opportunity, to take some time off around certain dates to go to Ottawa to cook for William and Katherine of Cambridge.
Then the news broke, and we were put through the ringers of a full on media blitz. And our excitement took over us, but we remained calm and eager to go out to Ottawa and show our talents.
We arrived in Ottawa and went straight to work the following morning at Rideau Hall. Once we pulled up in the back entrance we were graciously greeted by Chef Luis Charest of Rideau Hall. He was excited to have us there, and even more excited to get started. Chef Luis went over the menus with a fine comb before bringing in our support team of culinary students from around Canada who were selected to come and assist us.
The first day of mise-en-place was over too quick. And we all had to be back the next day and put in a full day as Their Highnesses were coming the following night.
But it was fun. The menu was Canadian inspired and Chef Luis did a great job of directing us all with his vision. His personal brigade from Rideau Hall could not have been more accommodating to the 40 plus warm bodies that were occupying prime real estate in his kitchen. Each member of their brigade, from stewards to Chef himself, all shared the same passion and worked as a single unit to produce this reception which help to set the mood for the rest of their visit to Canada.
The reception was to be held outside in the garden. But it rained. So quick, and I mean quick, change of plans. We all had to move our mise-en-place inside to one of the working kitchens and do it reception style, passing our dishes. It was so exciting!
The reception was well received, the food was clean and well plated. And we just started to work, pushing our plated of food to be passed. But in true 'catering' style, it was over in an instant. Then we were told that we were going to be meeting them and it was out of this world.
We all stood shoulder to shoulder and they made their way through the brigade of everyone involved in that reception and personally thanked us and chatted with us. It was surreal. Prime Minster Harper and his wife were also in attendance as were the Governor General and his wife too.
To think, a bunch of young cooks from Vancouver being asked, personally, from someone of Parliament Hill to come and cook for William and Katherine on their visit is beyond us. We are still swooning over it. Having the opportunity to cook for the hottest couple in the world is unbelievable, but being able to do it in the same kitchen as people as Chef Luis Charest and his brigade, Chef Judson Simpson and some of his crew and one of our greatest inspirations, Chef JC Felicella, was a royal treat unto itself.
The trip was unreal, and we are grateful for the opportunity of a lifetime. But at the end of the day, it was just another service with some extremely satisfied customers! We went to Ottawa to do what we know how to do best, which is cook, and we accomplished that.