Feb. 27, 2013 - Issue #906: Tegan and Sara - Pop goes their world
In the kitchen with Cean Holmes
The cozy dining room on the 104 St Promenade has become known as a go-to for fresh and creative comfort food. Serving up these culinary delights is Chef Cean Holmes, who shared his experience and inspiration in the kitchen with Vue.
Vue Weekly: How many years have you been in the culinary industry?
Cean Holmes: I've been in the industry for 22 years. I have no formal culinary training, being mostly self taught, and, of course, learning from many other people along the way.
VW: Why did you want to become a chef?
CH: I wanted to become a chef because chefs make more money than the dishwashers (barely), and get bought a lot more drinks.
VW: How old were you when you learned how to cook? Who taught you outside of formal education?
CH: I started cooking by learning to make chili when I was eight. As I said, many people taught me over the years, but special recognition should go to Alex Rotherham and Mark Harrison.
VW: How would you describe your culinary style?
CH: I don't really lock myself into one style, but I guess comfort food with a twist best describes what I do.
VW: What makes a great dish?
CH: A great dish is simple, fresh and clean. There shouldn't be a bunch of extraneous elements on a plate.
VW: What inspires you in the kitchen?
CH: Much of my inspiration in the kitchen comes from punk rock, especially the Ramones, my favourite band. Dee Dee Ramone once said something like "a great rock 'n' roll song should have three words and a chorus, and those three words should say everything you need to say." I try to take the same approach to cooking. Simplicity, simplicity ...
VW: What is the most fulfilling aspect about cooking for other people? What is the most challenging?
CH: The most fulfilling aspect, that's a tough one. Sometimes you make a dish, and you just know it's right. A good balance of flavours, it's tasty and everything is perfect—that's pretty fulfilling. The most challenging aspect is dealing with the myriad of things that can and do go wrong all the time. The dishwasher just called in sick, so did one of the cooks, and maybe a delivery that you absolutely need for service hasn't shown up, and the convection oven decides to stop working. You have to stay calm and think on your feet. It can get stressful.
VW: What advice do you have for novice cooks or people looking to refine their skills in the kitchen?
CH: My advice for novices: shut up and listen. Pay attention. Always be on time. Get over the idea that you're going to be the next celebrity chef, because you're not. Get used to the idea that you are going to do a lot of unpleasant, tedious, repetitive, hard jobs for a while until you prove yourself and can work your way up. And don't fucking whine.
VW: If you hadn't become a chef, what career path would you have chosen?
CH: If I hadn't become a chef, I probably would have been an astronaut—or a cowboy. V
Blue Plate Diner
10145 - 104 St
780.429.0740 vueweekly.com comments: powered by Disqus
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