(My two girls at the Antipasti Section which is my favourite section)How do I begin? This is my long overdue post that I have been meaning to finish so I can share to people and inspire them through my journey.
In December 2014, I arrived in Sydney for another leap of faith. Throwing myself into the wind always fascinates me and gives me indescribable excitement -- Not knowing what would the result be, I just brought with me my big desire to finally live in my dream place to settle, Australia! Along with the big hope for it to materialise... and it DID!
(Rita Sadik - Jamie's Italian Marketing Manager at that time)
One of the first attempts exploring what shall I do in this country whether to pursue advertising or cooking? Through my creativity I was given the chance Jamie Oliver restaurant called Jamie's Italian to experience how the restaurant runs. Marketing Manager of KeyStone Group gave me that chance in Canberra where it is less busy and more time for the staff to show me things at the restaurant. She was also amazed how a big fan of Jamie Oliver I am so she also invited me to appear on a video promo of Jamie's Italian for Australian kids!
(Video shoot at Randwick for Jamie's Italian promo)
( Here is the link of the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BanI2RXnvI8 )
I stayed in Canberra for a few weeks and rented an Airbnb room in the apartment of Jonathan who is a very kind young gentleman who made me feel like a friend and family at his house. Everyday of my stay at Jonathan's place, he or his Mum who lived few blocks away will drive me to the Civic where Jamie's Italian is, and going home he and his Mum will pass by me at Jamie's and we all go home together. Me and Jonathan shared dinner everyday and most of the time I cook as I enjoy doing it even after a tiring shift from my internship. And when I left Canberra, Jonathan and his Mum drove me to the Bus station to bid farewell. His Mum gave me 20 AUD as I miss the bus trip schedule on my ticket and she just paid me a new one. Such a really good person! I am very blessed to find genuine people like Jonathan and his Mum.
( Jonathan and his Filipina Girlfriend arrived that day )
(Chef Jim and General Manager Liam of Jamie's Italian Canberra)
When I started my experience at Jamie's Italian, I immerse with the Store Manager Liam and Executive Chef Jim on my first day. The succeeding days, I also met a lot of Korean staff (as the head chef is Korean) and some cool Aussie Chefs that taught me valuable knowledge in a big international restaurant operation. To get me by, I had my free chef uniform, apron, daily food and new found friend Chef Stephen who is very enthusiastic about Filipino people. How does it feel to experience to the restaurant when I am not a chef and no experience in any big kitchen. Just given the chance to see and explore it is a huge privilege.
Everyday I would hear the word "BEHIND" and that is how you alert people in a busy kitchen that someone is behind them so they will be cautious or will give way. My experience varies from burning my palm with a hot metal pan at the fish section, shopping inside a freezing walk-in fridge with all the supplies, then carrying big vegetable crates that are heavy for the antipasti section, and lastly I sliced my finger a few times using the Mandoline. I am now friends with the blue bandage! The training and quality control on food and supplies are pretty impressive, hats off!
(Chopping and Peeling Gazillions of Beetroots with a Korean Girl)
(The Pasta Section Chef and new found friend Chef Stephen)
The people in Jamie's Italian Canberra are very passionate and true to the philosophies of Jamie Oliver, one good example is the admiration of Chef Stephen to Jamie as the most humble celebrity chef on the planet and a very hands-on restaurateur to his staff. Stephen and I shared a lot of blurbs about Filipino swears that he is keen learning and on my last day at work at Jamie's, we had a joy ride adventure at late night around Canberra as Chef volunteered to drive me home! And to return the favour, I let him join me and Jonathan have our late night dinner that I quickly prepared!
(Cooking the Famous Osso Bucco)
But as a petite woman, I felt it was really exhausting to go home everyday tired, sweaty and smelly. This made me admire people who work in the kitchen as a full time chef, hats off big time! Also it made me realise that my cooking is not a skill-based talent and I surrender that being a chef is truly a male dominated job that most men are more capable of doing than women -- take for example the grilling section whom I personally consider that it's like the feeling of burning in hell! Tremendous hotness! Not to mention carrying heavy crates and butchery! My conclusion is, my cooking is more of a talent based on passion and I consider myself as a Culinarian than pursuing a professional chef career. Jamie's restaurant has taught me a lot of unforgettable preparation and recipes on his signature dishes that are now part of my repertoire of my favourite dishes to make!
(A Vietnamese Chef having his last day on my first day of Internship)
(Chef Pavo is the substitute head chef)
Jamie's Italian became an instrumental tool unleashing the real desire of my heart. As of today, I am back in advertising and I believe it's in my blood. I turned my back a few times, but I do believe I have my professional skill and talent on this field as an Art Director that I need to flourish more here in the Aussie land and with new and inspiring creative people who believed in my talent. Now I am excited to begin that new threshold.
(My Bagno Selfie with my Chef Uniform)
Until my Jamie Oliver Selfie story at the Sydney Easter Show that you really have to read on ;p