Patrick Kriss: Chef School grad puts quality first
With the clock counting down for competitors at the 2006 San Pellegrino "Almost Famous" Chef Competition in California this past October, George Brown Chef School apprentice Patrick Kriss began to experience the most stressful - and unforgettable - 45 minutes of his life. His ravioli of braised sweet breads had taken slightly longer to cook, forcing him to turn the heat up on the rest of his carefully planned menu in order to finish on time.
"There was no way to get around the time crunch other than to move faster, and so I told myself that I'd travelled all the way here from Toronto so I just better get it done," says Kriss. "It was nerve wracking, but fun and exciting all at the same time."
It is not surprising that someone of Kriss's calibre in the kitchen chose speed and skill, rather than shortcuts in quality, to deliver his six-course menu on time. As a graduate of the George Brown Chef School apprenticeship program, Kriss was trained under a style quite the opposite of cutting corners. "My instructors at George Brown College reinforced the importance of cooking in a proper and disciplined manner."
Kriss earned the distinction of being the first ever Canadian at the San Pellegrino competition by winning the regional title in Montreal earlier in the year. It was a feat that Kriss attributes to "lots of hard work and early mornings at the Chef School with my coach, Chef Charlton Alvares, combined with learning from a number of different instructors at George Brown College with different styles."
Currently, Kriss is putting his culinary skills to work at Toronto restaurant, Auberge du Pommier. As with his experience in the competitions, "there is a lot to see and a lot to learn from."