Meet Darren Wyand,
Formally a Junior Member of PEI. Darren has attended two national CCFCC Conferences (Edmonton 2013, Outaouais 2014) as the PEI Branch’s Junior President.
Darren is sharing his journey of moving across the country for a job. Read his story below:
It has been a year since I moved away from home, the East Coast; I was in a safe spot living on PEI and had a comfortable life, great friends and great opportunities. This time last year I was finishing my formal schooling a Culinary Arts Diploma and a Business Degree and came to conclude that for now I have learned and absorbed as much as I could on the Gentle Island, and it was time for me to find a new place to call home.
Within a 3 week period I made some of the most life changing decisions, I found a job in Kelowna, I broke off a relationship, decided to leave before my graduation day, and moved all my life back to my parents house to downsize and pack away to come to Western Canada.
The Terrace Restaurant, at Mission Hill Estate Winery. The kitchen was comparable to an institution, teaching me organization skills, and challenging my culinary abilities. Working here was a new challenge I needed; I continue to follow these practices when working in other kitchens. I learned so much at Mission Hill, for example what I am capable of, I am not perfect, but that’s the aim of any cook or Chef in the industry. Working here has done that for me, showing me that you can work at a spot that does 300 covers and you shouldn’t loose focus on the plating quality or speed. You meet the expectation of pristine plating, clean lines, properly cooked food, or proper sauce thickness.
The Winery Chef Chris Stewart came to my school the Culinary Institute of Canada annually, and hearing him talk about the coursed dinners, the private vineyard lunches and seeing pictures of the estate and some of the dishes they made at The Terrace intrigued me of the property. As I was coming close to finishing school I began research of the property and the Kelowna area, fresh mountain air, a grand lake, early growing seasons, abundant food scene, famers markets that where just filled with fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish, which all finalized my decision to move to Kelowna to make this area my home for the summer.
The best advice I was given when moving to a new place, was from an F&B instructor at my college Celeste Cole, make your place a home. I would recommend this to anyone moving to a new area, first thing I did when I got to Kelowna was I made my room “my room” I made it to resemble me, comfortable for me, a home base for when I got home sick or needed to relax after a rough day (service).
Finishing my contract at Mission Hill, I now am focused on hotels, and am looking forward to the new direction. Working at the Fairmont Banff Springs, I am excited for the opportunities that I am finding here, I am working towards competing in Juenes Chefs Competition, and plan on transferring into another hotel in the coming years.
I am looking forward to the rewards of choosing this industry; I know I will sacrifice a lot but it’s a personal evolution that will ultimately end in having more life experiences and story’s than that of the average person. Along with respect towards myself for attempting to be part of such a beautiful and theatrical career.