Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Introduction to my GBC Culinary blog

Hi there,

My name is Tammy Hanlon.  I have lived downtown Toronto for the last 15 yeasrs.  I am currently a freelance photographer and in the past 4 years have taken to preparing, styling and photographing food.  I have used recipes for most of my life but have been creating my own the past few years.  Even when I use recipes I always modify them to what I think are better flavors, methods of preparation and quantity of ingredients.  I always analyze a recipe and change it to what I think would be a more appealing application.

Why do I want to be a chef?  I don't know exactly what I will pursue upon completion.  Attending culinary school can open up so many other roads.  We (myself and my husband) have had a dream for four years and I think going to chef school to gain solid foundations would help me with that dream.  It's buying and running a small 25 seat restaurant on a tiny island of the coast of Cancun called Isla Mujeres.  I am a very artistic and creative person and always have been.  I've been a photgrapher my whole life, professionally for the past 10 years and have always had an addictive interest in anything food related.

I currently do have an opportunity to work in a professional kitchen which is in a retirement residence.  I know you're going to think 'retirement residence' and I'll be serving banana pudding and unseasoned vegetables, this is a quite well to do residence in Unionville.  The head chef (who happens to be a friend of mine) emailed me their menu, which changes often.  They make things like beef bourguignon and sole meuniere.  This past summer I was baking at a restaurant in Cabbagetown preparing homemade kaisers for their sandwiches (burgers, smoked meat, pulled pork).  I wouldn't say I am a baker but I am genuinely interested in bread baking because of the science behind it.  You should check out the master bread baker Peter Reinhart!

My personal philosophy of cooking is that I would describe myself as a person that likes to try new things, what's trending now, new ideas and techniques.  That being said I have a love for the classics.  I recently purchased a smoker at the beginning of this summer and have been studying and researching about smoking meat.  I have recently gained an interest in curing meats and as I type this I have a 3 lb pork belly in my refridgerator awaiting a week long cure to start a maple bacon and an asian bacon.  I like to really master what I do as much as I can and every recipe or dish I prepare spawns 2 new interests and ideas that I pursue and research.  I belive in fresh ingredients and flavours as much as I can and trying new flavour pairings that are not typical is an exciting thing. Anything processed is a no no for me.  In the end it's all about what it tastes like, bottom line.

What I hope to gain from attending GBC culinary program is a more solid foundation and knowledge of not just cooking but other aspects of the industry.  I think what I will learn will take me from a cook to a professional (along with professional kitchen experience).  I admire the instructors/chefs that are teaching me and know that they have worked their tails off to get where they are.  I truly respect the knowledge I have gained from them after only 3 short weeks.

I will now leave you on a comedic note with one of the greatest restaurant reviews I've ever seen on Yelp:

To everyone I've met and those I've yet to meet I hope you have an amazing informative year!



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