Any highlight moments for you at the competition?
The adrenalin you get just before you start, when you don’t know how you’ll do … you just wish and pray — you believe in God so much at moments like that! Our Hot Kitchen there was one of our best. The craziest part was bringing the Cold Kitchen glazed plates in the van … crammed in with the entries, afraid to breathe, travelling at 25 km per hour because even a little bump could jar the food.
When were you the most anxious?
Before we went into the kitchen we’d be using for the hot competition. You’re using a kitchen you’ve never seen, an unknown environment — that’s the biggest challenge. The first thing we did when we got there was check out the kitchen and the equipment. Everything was there — ice-cream machine, robocoup, tilt skillet, pots, pans, utensils, everything we needed — and all brand new. We were stressing out for nothing, but until you check it out, you’re anxious.
Any surprises at the competition?
No hot water in the hot kitchen to wash the dishes and equipment as we worked. We didn’t need the deep fryer, so used it to heat water. And I was surprised at all the people watching while the team was cooking.
Did you get much sleep?
No. Between the hot competition and cold competition and lending a hand to Team Alberta, I think it was probably upwards of 50 hours straight without sleep. Then I slept for 20 hours.
You said pink is your lucky colour and you planned on wearing it under your chef whites. Did that happen?
Yeah. I even bought extra pink underwear. Patrick was my roommate and he was always laughing when he saw me.
What are you most proud?
What we accomplished as a team. We were more like a family … how we bonded. It was an intense time together, and awesome. And I kind of miss them.
What are you taking away from this experience?
Everything that I’ve learned. I didn’t know what to expect and never expected to learn that much. It was big, overwhelming to represent Canada. I’m more organized in my own life. How to assess and set priorities … determine what can wait. I’ve grown a lot and learned. Gotten a little wiser maybe?
What’s something you especially admire about your teammates?
The focus that those guys have, how they get into a zone. Really awesome. It’s intense. Pat and Brad are like robots … their dedication, pride and passion.
Trade-offs to being part of the team?
The time commitment: it takes you away from friends, your personal life. I knew those guys more than I knew myself!
What will you reminisce about years from now?
The feeling of representing my country in the most amazing trade in the world, which is cooking.
Would you do again?
Yes, anytime, with no hesitation. It does take a lot of your personal time, but it’s worth it.
Last thoughts on the whole experience?
There was a lot of good chemistry on this team. They were a humble group of chefs, and very welcoming to me over the two years of my involvement.