Reflecting - Wise Words from a Mentor

“I am the same as you, I am not better, not worse”. These words have stuck with me for many years and gotten me through the ups and downs of my career. To pick up from where we left off with my last blog post; after leaving the Four Seasons Hotel I transferred my apprenticeship to the Ontario Club, a posh men’s club on Bay Street where many of the “big shots” in the Progressive Conservative Party would go to discuss things over lunch. While there, I began working with Chef Domenic Rubinato. He and I were at opposite ends of our careers. I was just starting out, having moved on from a position where I only made $1.17 an hour, and he was in his “retirement job”. He was a famous Chef who had worked at the Ports of Call for years and took the position at the Ontario Club to enjoy as he was winding his career down. I had a lot to learn but thankfully, he had the patience to teach me.

With years of knowledge and experience, it was Domenic who explained to me that we were essentially the same. He told me that as a Chef he was no better or no worse than me, but the difference was that he had been doing this job for a lot longer than I had. He did not want me to be afraid of him and he made it clear that if I had a problem, I was to talk to him about it and he would help me solve it. It was these words that made me feel like I was in the right place and I was excited to learn as much as I could alongside such a great Chef.

During my time at the Ontario Club, I enjoyed working Monday to Friday and meeting a lot of new people. Not only did I end up learning a lot from Chef Rubinato, but all of the other Chefs there also took the time to teach me a lot about cooking and about how to succeed in life. They were mostly Europeans, 45+ in age and had all been in the industry since they were around 10 years old. It was thanks to all of these men that I learned about perseverance and I myself, matured into a young man.

Throughout this time, I learned how to make delicious sauces and other items and I also made time to attend another one of my 15 week trade school sessions at George Brown College to gain even more knowledge. Thinking back to the position I had been in prior, I felt very thankful to be working at the Ontario Club. When I accepted my first position at the Four Seasons, I had quickly discovered that the atmosphere wasn’t for me, but due to the fear of letting my family down, I stayed. It was hard, and I was young but as always, things got better. The Ontario Club was good for me and it became the place where I would finish my apprenticeship before moving on as a certified Chef. While I was there, I never felt that I was in over my head. I knew that I was exactly where I needed to be at that time in my life and I left feeling thankful for the knowledge, confidence and experience that I had gained. I was excited for what was to come on my next journey in Western Canada and now I am excited to continue sharing each step of my journey with all of you.

Until next time,


Share this post