I am new to this forum, and frankly don't know how I much I will be using it. Not much of a computer guy I'm afraid, and I SUCK at typing. Give me a whisk...
I've been cooking for 35 plus years (yes, that dates me), and I've done almost every kind you can think of: restaurants (had two of my own), hotels in Canada and Switzerland, resorts in Canada and caribbean, convention centres, catering, competitions, teaching, lecturing, cooking demos, etc.... The only thing I haven't done are hospitals, prisons and cruise ships - they have a lot in common, though...
Memorable gigs: cooking for the Prince-regent of Bavaria in 1986, cooking for the Queen of England in 1987 (or was it '88?), doing a stage with Roger Verge in Mougins, France, meeting Susur Lee and Charlie Trotter, putting in CRAZY hours at the G-8 summit, going to Bejing, China to study the food services delivery at the Olympics, winning competitions...
"Lows": cooking lunch for the Contessa of so-and-so's DOG while executive chef in a four-star Swiss hotel, having to turn some millionaire's fresh dungeness crab salad into a grilled cheese sandwich...hmm, not too bad, I guess.
These days I spend most of my time planning, designing and advising, not so much cooking. A natural progression, I suppose as you get older and lose steam.
I was trained "the old way", classic French cuisine, butchery from the whole carcass down, baking and pastry making like they used to do it. None of these portion cuts and convenience products in my kitchens! That's how I prefer it, anyway. Auguste Escoffier is my hero. He was the greatest chef EVER (sorry, Gordon R.); he had vision, unshakeable principles and immaculate training. On top of that he was a perfect gentleman and didn't abuse his staff (I know this because my great-gran'pappy worked with him).
Pet peeves: I HATE how every Tom, Dick and Harry calls himself a "chef" when he can barely boil water. For years now, I have worked within our industry to both lobby governments to make cooks be required to have trade certification, as well as encourage cooks to pursue formal training and accreditation. I am an assessor of apprentices for our provincial government, and sit on various advisory committees for culinary schools and institutions.
Another peeve i have is how some people have to over-complicate menus and recipes, just to make them seem - what? - interesting? good? I don't know. Keep it simple, keep it fresh. let the food speak for itself. So often you get these hoidy-toidy foodies mix together contradictory ingredients which will either cancel each other out, or drag a perfectly nice ingredient through the mud - like "lobster mac n'cheese". Or foie gras on a hamburger.
Anyway, I'll check out the forum now and then.