Opinion Poll – Is Mother Nature having hot flashes or is this El Nino character for real?
All joking aside, this season’s weather sure has been “off”. Bill continuously tells me “you can’t worry about the weather Candace”. After 45 years in this business, finding fewer things to worry about I suppose is a good suggestion. In light of the weather, conditions on the Mountain have been first-class, all things considered. We’ve made snow at every opportunity, and will continue to do so to keep conditions at a level our guests have grown to expect from us.
Poley Mountain operates within the confines of a team philosophy. Rarely do we single people out. But today I’m going against the grain and introducing you to an important addition to our Food & Beverage service. Please allow me to introduce Chef Mathias Giermindl. The variety and quality of the food being served this season in the Slope Side Bar & Grill is in large part due to his efforts and the experience he brings to the table, particularly during any of our special events. So this week I’m going to share a bit of Chef Mathias’ past and how he found his way to Poley Mountain.
Upon graduation in 2008, Chef had little idea of what direction he would like to take with his life and his career. Following a particular conversation with his Father, that direction became clear as a bell. The question his Father posed to him? “What’s something you can see yourself enjoying 10, 15, or even 20 years from now?” Only one thing came to mind; “I loved eating and cooking. Even from a young age, I can remember learning to cook steaks in open fire pits or asking my Mother to buy me the strangest fruit I could find in the Super Markets.”
Chef enrolled at the Culinary Institute of Canada in Prince Edward Island that year. During his first year, in addition to his studies, Chef joined what is known as “Junior Chef”, providing additional opportunities to work on his training and accepted part time opportunities at local cafes, in addition to competing in the odd culinary competition. During his second year, Chef made the decision to extend his education an additional two years and entered the Culinary Operations program, where he “would get a true grasp of the industry and not only learn what was needed to succeed in the culinary world but to grow towards the top of it.” With the many extracurricular activities offered at the school, Chef would continue entering competitions and finished 3rd at the 2011 National Skills Competition.
Upon graduation, having received advice from various mentors, Chef embarked upon a number of culinary experiences around the World, choosing to “keep it fresh and not stick to one place too long during my young career”. His travels would take him from the Mountains of Alberta (Fairmont Jasper), back to Prince Edward Island, to London, where the true journey began. “I was quickly heading to the apex of my field, running small business and managing others with the knowledge I had gained at CIC. I was designing and preparing menus of my own creation, cooking and plating food with complete freedom. I was loving my job!”
With no desire to be complacent, and despite the love for his job, Mathias booked a ticket to London, England. Over the course of the next 3 months, Chef would travel to 6 countries, volunteering in bakeries, traveling to different farms and making cheese. During his travels he even assisted with the catering for an Adidas commercial. Upon returning home, it wasn’t long before Chef had the itch to travel again. But this “itch” was different – not only did he miss the friends he’d met along the way, and the connections made between food and cultures one can only make when immersed within, he “was chasing love.” They would spend the next 6 months on the road, again, volunteering, making connections, meeting friends new and old, growing as a person and building upon his craft.
Fast forward to the fall of 2015, with word spreading of the new lodge at Poley Mountain, Chef believed it was a natural fit and approached Poley Mountain Management. With aspirations of improving food presentation and quality, Poley Mountain likewise believed it was a good fit and thus a partnership was formed. As Chef puts it, “I was looking for a new place to show off what I had learned, hand in hand it was a fitting match for myself, a place to develop my industry skills and build upon all I have learned. And so, I currently reside at Poley Mountain, continuing to create the food that pleases the many mouths eating at this beautiful location.”
As Written for the Kings County Record, February 23rd Issue
Posted on Tue, February 23, 2016
by Candace Jeffrey