Is it crazy of me to do this to my pineapple....
I guess old habits die hard. I worked for a catering company while I was in college, called "Gourmet Greens". It was located in the kitchen of a fine restaurant named "Zoom" in downtown Toronto. You may have heard of the Rubino Brothers, Michael and Guy. They are Toronto restauranteurs and currently own the restaurant Rain. They also star-in and produce the Food Network Canada show "Made to Order". Well, they were the owners of Zoom and Gourmet Greens. In addition to being minor celebrities, they are also known within the restaurant community for big egos and the sort of staff treatment that generally goes along with that.
I'm not trying to make any allegations here, because other than being generally rude to me, I wasn't mistreated by either of them. I worked in their catering business for 6-8 months and neither of them bothered to learn my name. This is the kind of employer they are. There was a definite "You are so lucky to be working for me" attitude. I have heard stories of cooks working 13+ hour days on salary wages and even sleeping in the kitchen after closing the restaurant because they had to be there at the crack of dawn the next day. This could be only gossip, but it is not far from things I personlly witnessed at other top restaurants. There is a mentality amoung some cooks that abuses of power like these are worth it just to learn from the chefs. I have worked for ego-driven chefs, and I believe that they will treat you like garbage only if you let them. You must assert yourself!
But I digress. While I was working at Gourmet Greens, we prepared breakfasts and lunches for Bay St. Executives. Sandwiches, salads, fruit platters and desserts. I thought I wasn't learning anything. I begged the restaurant chef, Lorenzo Loseto (currently of George), to move me up to the hot line. I know that he thought I couldn't handle it. I'm not sure he realized that prior to working there, I had 3 years experience on a hot line serving 200+ people per night. After many failed promises, I quit. I remember Lorenzo telling me "You think you haven't learned anything, but you'll look back and realize that what you have learned is invaluable. Every chef needs to know how to make these simple products." Later on I realize that he was right. I know how to make the best sandwiches and composite salads due to that job. I can make a simple arrangement of fruit look stunning. I can clean a pineapple to look like a winding path up the side of a mountain. Although I wish I could have had the opportunity to prove that I was a capable cook, I'm glad I worked there and also glad I got out of it when I did. I moved on to job on the line in a restaurant and lounge in Toronto's Entertainment district.