Oregon, here I come

Well, after about 3 months of looking and deliberating of where I could end up, I decided to work with Jerry’s team at the Jacksonville Inn in Jacksonville Oregon.  Built in 1861 (I love history) this hotel has been in operation as it currently is for over 33 years.  Jerry Evans, the owner, had faith enough to hire me (he had over 300 resumes to weed through) and I couldn’t be happier.  This is the first time I have worked for an independent owner.  I really has a different feel to it, but there is a huge focus on being the best and taking care of people.  There are no hidden agendas.  This is very refreshing and did realize how much I have missed out working so long in big business type environments.  In its 33+ years in existence, the awards and accolades it has received are too numerous to count.  It’s walls are adorned with celebrity photos and awards from over 3 decades.  Everyone from the Smothers Brothers to former president George Bush have stayed here.   I feel I have found a good home.

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Some Photos From Oregon and Big Sur




Here are some photos of the areas I visited..
The first two are of Jacksonville, Oregon. Beautiful.
The middle two are of Big Sur from my balcony at Ventana.
The last one is of an unfortunate car that got caught in the mud slide in Big Sur which caused me to have to stay an extra night because of the road closure. Continue reading

Some Things Happen For a Reason

While away in Oregon, I got a call from Ventana in Big Sur, California. I had actually applied for an Executive Chef Position there after learning that they were looking about 2 months ago. This is where I had got my culinary start over 14 years ago. This is also the property I use as the standard that I have measured other places I have worked. Apparently a wild fire had destroyed the restaurant about 10 months ago and it is in the process of being rebuilt.  They have built a “Bistro” restaurant that has been servicing the Inn in the meantime. Needless to say, I was very excited about the possibility to go back there. The property and surrounding area is truly magical.
After a couple phone interviews, I had changed my plans and added a leg to my trip to go to Big Sur. Upon arriving, I had learned that there were several people I had worked with before that were still there. It was great being able to see everyone again. I was asked to cook for an informal tasting. I was happy with what I made and hope I will be able to move to the second round of interviews which will include a trip to San Francisco to cook for the corporate guys. I think this is the first time that the Inn has been managed by a management company in it’s 35 year history. After visiting, it’s clear that they are doing great things. Also, there are some cool toys in the kitchen including a PacoJet, CVap and a Couple immersion thermal circulates. We’ll see how it goes.
The tasting I made included Roasted Heirloom Beets with Herbed Chevre and Pickled Onions, Seared Spring Lamb with Minted Pea Puree and Kalamata Ravioli and Oven Dried Strawberries with Strawberry Consomme, Basil Tapioca and Citrus Cream.

West Coast Bound?

For about 4 years now, I have had this desire to move back to the West Coast. This is where I am from and this is where my family and friends are. It just so happens that I have had the fortune of coming across 2 prospects that are on the West Coast. While both warrant investigation, I may not be sure they are really what I want. So, in the meantime, I am off to Oregon and California on a 9 day whirlwind. I’ll be back on Friday. Hopefully all goes well.

Looking for work…

Well, it’s been awhile. This economic environment is making it hard to find a good chef position. After speaking with several business owners and chefs I have discovered that the hiring managers are receiving between 300 to almost 1,000 resumes and applications for chef positions. How do you compete and stand out with that? While I have registered with a couple trusted recruiters, I really do not want to dilute my standing while looking for a job. My strategy is to hold tight, network with my colleagues and communicate with my friends in the industry. I want to continue to improve and refine what I know and not accept any position. In the meantime, I will be re-evaluating my resume to be sure that the format and style are current. Wish me luck!
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