So how does an Urban Cowgirl become a chef?
Follow me on the trail ride and I will share my journey.
Like many of us, we start out with an idea or a passion for something we see ourselves developing into a career.
I was always an active person. I enjoyed dancing, skiing and being in nature; but it was my love for horseback riding and everything that went along with that magnificent intuitive animal that lead me to my first chosen career.
I was thrilled to be in a select group of out of province applicants to attend "Humber College Equine Studies”. It was the only two year intensive Equestrian program available in Canada.
So off I went from Vancouver to Toronto where I immersed myself in this wonderful world of equestrian knowledge and practical experience. I ate up everything the program had to offer.
After my two years reality settled in (plus student loan), I began my employment search.
This chase took me through many obstacles. Up steep hills and into deep valleys and then rather suddenly my course did a complete "Turn on the Haunches". That's equestrian talk for an "About Face" or in my case... GO NORTH.
I landed a summer job in Dawson City (Yukon Terr.) working in a hotel as prep girl making mostly salads and desserts
To back up here for a moment, my parents who were true foodies at heart taught me to appreciate the value of quality ingredients and how it contributes to our overall health. “Everything in moderation" they would say.
Little did I know how important this nugget of knowledge was going to carry me into the next phase of my life.
At this point I knew my equestrian career was trotting away.
And so the beginning of my foodie passion, coupled with a need to be creative commenced.
I worked in various food service establishments while travelling; including a Heli-Ski resort, and fine dining in the hospitality trade. I Returned to Vancouver and opened a bagel cafe in the West End with my (not so silent) partner. Love my Dad, but it had its challenges being business partners. I experienced a whole new learning curve as a young entrepreneur.
Later I decided to raise the bar and went back to school where I completed the professional training at "Dubrulle French Culinary School".
This landed me into the catering industry where I continued my passion for people, food and expanding my love for developing recipes. During my catering years I got married, started a family and life was full on.
Having a family increased my awareness for providing healthy choices for snacks, beverages and foods with clean ingredients. I love to take a recipe and "Healthify" it. This is my made up word for replacing empty calories with more nutrient dense ingredients and lowering the sugar content, particularly with baking.
Fast forward to 2014... I officially said goodbye to catering and other contracts to form my current company "Chef Pola Culinary Inc.”
I now focus on finding selective pure and sustainable brands to bring to the Canadian marketplace with my husband and sidekick "Steven". He brings over ten years of experience and relationships in the natural products industry to the table.
This is the beginning of a wild RIDE, so hang onto your hats and follow along. Yee Haw! Always a Cowgirl at heart.