Assignment # 1
October 24, 2017
Reflecting on a time in my life when I used branding to my advantage, would have to be when I first decided I wanted to become a chef. I had been working in the industry since my late teens, at this point it was go back to school, or excel in the industry I was currently working in, but I didn’t finish chef school. I also had no intention to do so, this came up a lot when I interviewed for high-level positions. I had the experience, skill, knowledge, and capability of those who had attended George Brown , however, I was always asked if I would be going back. No! I had no intention to go to school for something I was already doing much better than my colleagues who had, many times I was already directing these individuals on how to operate a section on the line or even the tools or machines used to complete the task at hand. What would I do, I had worked in Toronto since I was a child, everyone who was anyone knew of me, I couldn’t lie about who I was, and they would not stop using my labor at a discounted rate.
I was 25, with 6 years professional supervisor experience after landing both a scholarship and a lead prep cook position right after high school graduation. I made the choice to work and make a good living. Now I wasn’t about to turn back. I was now working at the Westin Castle Harbour hotel downtown Toronto, a few days away from joining the Union, I asked myself is that what I really wanted. To just be a cook for the rest of my life. I knew the answer was no. With that, I gave my two weeks notice, packed up my apartment and moved to Montreal.
First, I rebuilt my resume to highlight all the top position I’ve held, my skills and responsibilities, this got my foot in the door. I then purchased a great quality camera and started building a personal profile after getting a job. Taking photos of items, I worked on when at work. I then took my skills to home, showcasing mixed drinks ingrediency, I even started to write out the recipes for food items.
It had already been a month at Queue de Cheval, one of Montreal most respected establishments, I had so much content. I then took to the internet, I first created a dashing linked in profile, then a Facebook page. I started to promote myself as a personal chef. When I originally got into the industry that was my objective, however after the 2008 market crash that was one of the many job titles which became a luxury item not many people could afford making it a very niche market for celebrity chefs.
It was three months later when I had a fully up and running blog I told one of my coworkers about. Two weeks later I was approached, the coworkers told me of a place looking for a new chef, it was a small operation but the manager had seen my profile on linked in and my Facebook page, he thought I was a good fit for the bistro and wanted to meet with me.
In short, I took that job, I was underpaid as I was an inexperienced chef, but what I gained from that position could not be bought. I was given a kitchen and staff for full creative freedom. This allowed me to even further my blog and resume.
In under 6 months, I went from being just another line cook in Toronto to receiving job offers from hotels in Banff and parts of BC. By the age of 27 I was a professional chef, earning equal pay as my male colleagues. When I went back home to Toronto it was very hard for employers to low ball my pay as job opportunities where jumping out at me, perception is everything and if used correctly personal branding could propel someone to success