Monday, January 30, 2006

Why I Cook

Why do I cook?
Well, truth be told, I am not cooking all that much anymore. But the longer I am out of the profession, the more I seem to enjoy cooking again. And it sure has been a long time since I stopped cooking for a living. I came to Canada as a chef on April 1 (insert your silly April Fools joke here if you must), 1993. I secured a job with the Four Seasons in Vancouver before I arrived and stayed with them for about a year.

With my friend and fellow chef Peter Sturm whom I met at the Four Seasons we decided to open a Billiard Cafe in New Westminster. During the five years we operated The Black Dog Billiard Cafe I still did some cooking for the Cafe's menu.

When, after five years, we decided to call it quits, it also meant the end of me as a professional chef. I got hooked on the Internet and started building a career in the web development field.

So, as I said, the longer I have been away from cooking professionally, the more I enjoy it again. It has now been seven years since the end of the Black Dog and twelve years since the end of the Four Seasons. Cooking is fun again!

I now cook mostly for my great wife Esther either when it is my turn during the week (oh yes! we have a strict schedule of who's turn it is when) and for special occasion. I really like to do a big production cooking on the rather rare occasions when we have friends over.

Maybe one day I'll add a recipie section to this blog.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Why I Run

Why do I run?
Simple... I love to eat! No, seriously, I have a tremendous appetite and unfortunately not too much self control. In June of 2001 I weight in at over 250 pounds and my doctor told me that I am developing type 2 diabetes. He then made an appointment with a diabetes clinic for me so I could learn all about my "new lifestyle".

So I figured if I had to change my lifestyle that drastically, I would do it on my own terms and with me in the drivers seat.

During my apprenticeship as chef back in the 80's I did learn the basics about nutrition. Although I was always much more interested in "good cooking" rather than nutritious cooking. Seeing if those two could be combined was not really a priority for me. Drawing on this somewhat weak knowledge of nutrition, I looked at my diet to see what easy changes I could make that would give me lots of bang for the buck -- the low hanging fruit so to say. I quickly realized that besides eating too much, I ate way to much carbohydrates. But who doesn't??

So on June 26, 2001 I started my diet that did not include carbs - period. Well, as much as possible anyway. Thankfully it was summer and lighter eating in general is easier. I started going to this Salad Bar place in Yaletown (Hyrise Produces?) every day for lunch. A big-ass salad with lots of egg and tuna and ham and god-knows-what. For dinner I would usually have another salad with chicken and/or tuna and the like. I dropped pounds like you wouldn't believe! But only for a while. And then I stagnated and needed something else...

One day, on CKNW, the talk radio station I listen to, I heard an ad for Le Physique - a personal training facility in Vancouver. Since I was out of high school I have not seen the inside of a gym! So a more private facility with someone there to tell me what to actually do there and motivate me sounded like a good option. I looked them up online, emailed them and got a call back the same day. We arranged for an initial meet to see what this is all about. When I went there the Lorraine (the owner) did a good job on selling me. I signed up for about a month worth of sessions - 3 times a week.

Each session included 1/2 hour of cardio and for the longest time this did not include running. After a while though they added some light running/walking, then some running, and so on.

This gave my weight-loss a much needed boost. And it also gave me an additional boost of energy. Soon I wanted to do more than just the 3x/week and I started to go swimming in the morning. Did I mention that we have a small pool in the building? Well, we do. Thus going for a quick 30 minute swim in the morning is not so bad. But again, after a while this too turned pretty boring. In the meantime I have been doing more running at the gym and I decided to take it outside. I live in South-East Vancouver and the there is this stretch of walk ways along the Fraser River going just shy of 1.5 miles in one direction. I started out walk/running this almost 5k stretch and after a while managed to run the whole thing.

That is pretty much it... now I can not stop running.