Monday, 31 December 2018

It’s not goodbye it’s just see you soon......

It’s hard to believe my Canadian journey will end in just 2 short days. 7 months ago, I journeyed more then 7000 km across the world leaving what normal life I lived behind to start an epic journey of the unknown.
I don't miss Ireland, it’s sad to say but its events and lifestyle there that sort of push me away from settling there. Why settle somewhere where you don't feel like you belong when you can live here in Canada and be amazed day after day by the stunning beauty and natural offerings that this country offers up. 

I have gained some skills that I haven't had before and adding too and improving skills I have learned before, practise makes perfect. I’ve learned to manage my time efficiently and improving on the quality of the items I produce. There has been lots of negative moments over my time here, but I've learned not to look on everything with a negative attitude and take from that experience the positives and learn from this. I've learnt some pointers on where I would like my career as a chef or within the hospitality industry to go from this point onward. 
I try to have a positive attitude when I go to work, Here I was quick to judge a person’s character before I got to know them, for this I am in the wrong. Coming here to the Banff springs I wasn’t all too sure what my position was. I was classed as a “Second cook” like a commis chef in Ireland. Some people in the pastry shop filled me in on how the Canadian chef brigade works. Some establishments require you to have a red seal to gain a position higher than a first cook and to achieve this seal you must complete an exam and have a certain number of hours worked and signed for before applying. In a way, I felt cheated in been giving a second cook position, I wanted to come here and grow myself as a chef, but I felt the title didn’t allow this. It doesn’t have any authority or say when it comes to situations. Other people don’t really take notice of your opinion because you’re only a second cook.
On a different note, Fairmont offer lots of different leadership and various training programs not only for chefs but for every department, to allow the individual grow and succeeded in their desired position. One thing I like about working here is that after six months of full time employment you are entitled to apply for other positions in other departments within the hotel or transfer to any hotel under the Accor hotel brand worldwide.
I'm on the fence if I like working in such large hotels are if I want something more relaxed. I'm all about the fast pace life style but sometimes it’s not worth the stress. I'm not at all daunted now by such large-scale tasks, I think working here in the pastry shop or any other outlets you will learn to deal with volume which is a skill itself as if you move onto another establishment you won’t be defeated by large tasks. Me personally I'm all about the last details, the finishing touches which working here I haven't seen a lot of. Many chefs here care but some don’t, and you can tell who does and who doesn’t. A comment I overheard from somebody who works on the bakeshop that "as long as the bread is done it doesn't matter what shape it is", I think to myself if this the chef I want to be? is this the standard I want to set for myself.

I came to Canada with a very different attitude and outlook on life than the one I am leaving with. I admit I feared the thought of starting work at such a large hotel. It was my first time working in such a large-scale pastry kitchen, which added to my fear.  However, I settled in quite fast.

I don't really know what my expectations or goals were for my International work placement. I didn't know what I wanted from it......
For my time here, I've only worked on the production shift and the Vermilion Rooms pastry shift, this shift was all about people who worked in a weekly rotation, who would make and execute the production of the desserts and execution of the live service of these dishes. I enjoyed this a lot as I like to both produce and work on a busy line keeping active. The production shift, which is all about the mass production of multiple dessert items from dough's, layered slab cakes, glass verrines, the setup of banquet plated desserts, VIP events, etc. I was happy with staying on these two shifts after seeing how some of the other work was executed on other shifts like am, bake shop, outlets etc.

Christmas here at the Fairmont is the busiest time of the year. This Christmas day we produced over 8000+ individual desserts for over 3000 guests.
If for anyone who is reading this, I plead you not to shy away from the thought of considering looking into applying for a job at the Fairmont Banff Springs. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and go for something you wouldn't normally go for. Living and working Banff at the heart of the Rocky Mountains is such a magical and incredibly lucky opportunity and experience to say you have done in your life. Something that not all people who want to do this get the opportunity to do so. Working for the Fairmont brand under the Accor Hotels brand there are endless opportunities across the world to expand and grow both yourself and your career. The Accor brand has over 5000 hotels across the world offering endless experiences.

Over my time here I have made some close connections with people, I'm glad to know that I can call them friends for life. People that I will miss very much when I leave. Making new friends and expressing my true self is something I have always struggled with since a very young age. Here, I just felt so comfortable being myself and introducing myself to people. It’s hard when you’re finally settling in and you must leave it all behind. 7 months is a long time, but it’s gone so fast, I’m happy with how my I’ve spent my time and all the experiences I’ve had so far. Turning lots of moments into memories.
Ice Skating on Lake Louise December 2018 

Living here in Banff has truly been an unforgettable and life changing experience, this town and area has so much to offer, something for everyone no matter what the season is. I am glad I got to experience both the summer season and part of the winter. Getting out in the open and being active whether it be going on a hike, cannoning or going up on the slopes skiing keeping active really adds to a positive attitude on life. Having my friend and fellow college Tom here with me was reassuring, having some to talk to in times of need or to have a somebody who is going through the same experience you're going through. This winter i tried my best to show the poor chap how to ski like a pro but I don't think he got the right idea of skinning......point being the idea is to go ski down the slope not ski up it.....

I hope some day very soon that i will return to Canada and experience more of what the incredible country has to offer, there's so much more I want to do and see. But unfortunately for now its goodbye from the rocky mountains.......but stay tuned for my new adventures very very soon! :)
Sulphur Mountain Oct 2018

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