Here’s part 3 of our blog series introducing Chef Jay Nutt. This is your inside peak into the industry!
Get to Know Chef Jay: The Industry
What is an average day like for you?
An average day at the resort would start with me coming in through the kitchen door and saying hello to the staff already on. I first double check that everything on the board is accounted for, in process or in prep. Then I check clipboards, emails, voicemails, and the schedule so I know who is in and when.
Depending on what role I’m playing that day (whether I’m in Club 1885, The Boathouse or Mount Julian), I start doing a mise en place list. I need to make sure we have all the ingredients, check the fridge and freezer to make sure everything is labelled and structured.
Next I look at upcoming reservations and events to see if we need to order anything and make phone calls. In the growing season I also check with our farmer and forager on-site to see what’s coming out of the garden in next day or two so we can use it in our soups, garnishes, etc.
A typical day also has me answering questions from staff, event planners and the occasional customer. I provide ongoing support to the kitchen staff and communications to our front desk. Finally, I’m on the line at some time during day, preparing food. It might be that I’m expediting during a busy moment in the Boathouse – lunch rush for example. That’s a short day…
What chefs inspire you?
My original chef David MacGillivray, and I’m a big fan of Thomas Keller in his early French Laundry days – classically inspired but simple.
How does dining in rural Ontario compare to the worlds big cities?
On the one hand its very different. The pace is different. When you’re dining in small towns and cottage country, you’re there to relax. The next thing on the agenda just happens whenever you get to it. In current times, people are more willing to put their phones down when they’re on vacation.
What rural Ontario dining has in common with the big cities is that it has a sense of place. Last spring I was in NYC and stopped at a little diner for breakfast, and it felt like NYC. In Paris, you actually see people on bikes with baguettes in their baskets, and you get a sense of Paris. Here at Viamede, you also get a sense of place – you’re in 100 year old buildings, you walk by the place where pigs are raised and carrots are grown. You get a sense that rural Ontario is timeless – you have all modern conveniences, but there is the post office and clock tower and bank in the centre of town. I love that feeling.
What projects are you excited to roll out here at Viamede?
I like the challenge of reimagining the menu at Mount Julian with my own take on forest to table dining. I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to build a team and helping them grow to represent the resort and the region. Take a jazz analogy: just like the previous chef, who had a fantastic style of jazz, I’m excited to continue playing jazz, knowing that with my leadership it will be a slightly different flavour of jazz. But still fabulous, imaginative, delicious jazz.