As a seasoned chef for over 18 years, Charles knows food—reallywell. Having worked in kitchens for the majority of his youth and adult life, he has gained profound insight into efficient kitchen operations, and also an appreciation for the diverse palates of his diners. I had the opportunity to sit down with Bayview’s Executive Chef to learn more about his amazing career!
How long have you been a chef?
It is really the only job I have ever known. It started with my first job in high school – working in a kitchen. Working in such an energetic environment, combined with my love for food inspired me to become a chef. Eventually, I landed my first chef’s position at a small golf and country club in 1999.
Why are you so passionate about food?
Food brings people together; it’s the centerpiece for special moments.
What cuisine do you focus on?
Canadian Cuisine; Canada’s multiculturalism has inspired me to celebrate the flavors of the diverse communities that have settled in our nation through my food.
What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day begins mid-morning with our daily pre-shift meeting. I present the day’s agenda to the kitchen staff so everyone is aware of their responsibilities. Then it is on to lunch service, recipe development, getting ready for one of our great events, and of course paperwork.
Describe the role in 3 words:
What are your biggest challenges as a chef?
As a chef, I am responsible for building a team. This is a challenge and an opportunity for many individuals with different skills, personalities, and strengths to come together and deliver an excellent dining experience. Food can be very personal, and so it is a delicate balancing act to incorporate the desires of the membership as a whole. Trying new ideas, soliciting feedback, learning from what works and what doesn’t…it is a journey. I hope everyone tries some of the new and different options that we will be putting out.
What do you like most about your job?
I love the membership and creative freedom. I appreciate the opportunity to produce dishes that satisfy the membership’s expectations but putting my own spin on it—very fulfilling.
Any difference between working at a club vs. restaurant?
Yes, I believe the principal difference is that at a club you see the same customers everyday. So, you are only as good as the last dining experience! But, you also get to know the members very well, which not only provides the benefit of experience but also creates a sense of community.
In your short time, what is your favorite memory at Bayview?
Participating in the rebuild process and feeling the overwhelming support of the membership when we make improvements. For instance, we recently re-opened the Oak Room after making a number of changes, including the food offerings. It was very satisfying to see members enjoy our enhancements!
What goes into developing a menu?
Our Grill Room weekly features menu is seasonal and is based on what we are able to source locally. Other major influences on our menu development include membership feedback, and my own vision of the kind of food that I think will really hit the mark. Occasionally, the two do not jive but that is o.k. We need to be a little adventurous once in a while.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
It was especially tough for the kitchen staff during construction, due to a number of limitations that we had to work around. With that construction finished, we are ramping up our productivity and quality. Leading this effort is very satisfying.
Something interesting about you?
I am a father of three wonderful children, and I am inspired by what my children enjoy eating. I previously worked for the Calgary Flames before coming to Toronto. It was like having the golden key to the city – it was a lot of fun!
To learn more about Dining at Bayview and upcoming special events, please visit our website. Bon appetite!