There’s an ongoing joke in the restaurant biz, where executive chefs are regularly asked – who cooks the food when you’re not there? The answer is always given with a smirk – the same people who cook the food when I am there.
Presumably most foodies are wise enough to know that the product emerging from restaurant kitchens is the work of an entire team or brigade of staff, not just one person. Brigades can range in size from two or three people in small, family-run restaurants to hundreds of staff in large hotels. From dishwashers to sous chefs, sauciers to pastry chefs, the average restaurant runs on the concerted effort of many people, and that’s the just the staff at back of house.
Which means now more than ever that a career in just about any aspect of the culinary arts is a hot commodity. Canada’s hospitality sector currently employs over 1.7 million people and will require another 300,000 professionals by 2015 to remain competitive. Sure, some people have a natural talent for cooking, but for most, the key to landing jobs in the top restaurants is more easily attained through proper training.
In Toronto, that means the George Brown Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts.