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  • Writer's pictureJames G Yeo

The Author's Corner number 2

How are you today? Today I am talking about my career as a Chef. So I will start from when I started working in the kitchen for the first time. I was 14 when I started working at a local restaurant in Leader doing dishes and prep. I spent about two years working with that restaurant until it closed down. A year later a new family re-opened the restaurant and hired me as a prep cook. It was then that I found out that I could go to school for cooking as my boss asked me if I liked cooking and I said yes. The one thing that he told me that it is not the best paying job however if I wanted to travel the world I would be able to get a job anywhere as a Red Seal Chef.

In 1996 I moved from Leader to another small town in Saskatchewan. When I got there I was able to get a job at the motel's restaurant as a line cook. I stayed there until after Christmas of that year and then stopped working so I could pay attention to my school work.

The following fall after I finished high school in 1997, I moved to Edmonton, Alberta to take my schooling at NAIT for culinary arts. I did the two year program and during those years I work at Planet Hollywood in West Edmonton Mall for about a year before getting my chance to work at the Sheraton in the heart of the city. When I finished school I spent about a year with that hotel before making a shift to the Fairmount Hotel McDonald just a few blocks from the Sheraton. I did a year there before I left for one of the restaurants in the downtown core.

In 2001 I wrote for my papers and I passed the tests to become a Red Seal Chef. That summer I took a year off from the kitchen and moved back home to work in the oil field to payoff my school debt. In May of the following year I had a job waiting for me in Halifax, Nova Scotia and moved back to the area of the country where I spent the first 7 years of my life. I would spend my work career there at The Lord Nelson.

When I was in Halifax I was taking business classes when I was working at the hotel. I left my position at the end of December of 2003 so I could focus on my schooling. The idea I had was to make my way to Toronto to work in the hotels down there and make a name for myself. Then I wanted to open a restaurant of my own. That was the part that did not happen.

In January of 2005 I was diagnosed with schizophrenia and the stress of running a kitchen or a business I realized that I would not be able to handle it. This did not stop me from working in kitchens though because I moved back out west to mom and dads and I started to work at a motel in Provost, Alberta and I spent a few years with them before I tried a different part of the industry.

I started with a butcher shop and learned about the process of how the meats are done from the live cow to the cut steaks and roast. I never got into make the fancy sausages however I was able to understand what the meat goes though before getting to the table.

I worked for the Butcher shops for about three years before I got my job at the hospital. When that happened I saw what goes into feeding patients healthy and good meals. I had some training about diets at NAIT, the hospital showed me more of that side of the cooking industry.

I would leave the hospital after a few years until I tried to leave the industry to see what else was out there. I ended up working for a department store in stocking there food side of the store. So, really I just learned a different part of the food industry. I spent about four years with them when before my love for the kitchen got me to do it again. That was in 2017 when I started with a group out of Edmonton who had a restaurant in Lloydminster. I worked there until COVID happened.

When COIVD came, I moved home and at the age of 41, I decided to retire from cooking other than for cooking for my parents and friends. In April of 2020 I made the decision to move home and help my parents. In September of 2020 I made the choice to retire to start taking care of my own health and to make the time for me to follow my new career as an Author.

That is the cooking story and I could fill many pages with the stories that I have from my time in the restaurants and hotels. I do miss the kitchen though. Maybe someday I will write a cookbook and that would mean that I would be able to play once again in the kitchen.

So, stay safe and next week I will talk about my first book, An Individual's Innocence : The Silent Scream. Everything from the birth of the story all the way to the release in October of 2016.

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