Friday, 28 June 2013


Given the opportunity to write an essay for an opportunity for a dream week with Acadian Sturgeon and Caviar...this one is straight from the heart.

Whoever said that a bad day’s fishing trumps a great day at work wasn’t too far off, but they probably weren’t a Chef. Don’t get me wrong: I love to fish and next to my passion for all things food, fishing is a very close second. Ever since I was a small kid, I’ve had fond memories of time spent on the water with my father, fishing the whole day away. Those early mornings were so easy to wake up for knowing the prospect of chucking a baited hook and some easy fish to trick into taking my offering was the order of the day.  To this very day, I still eagerly drag myself out of bed at ungodly hours for a great days fishing and now have my faithful friend Maddox, the retriever, to accompany me. Our routine:  Timmie’s coffee for me and a milk bone for Maddox then the road to our special spot for a day on the river. Not bad….Not bad at all.
As I have matured, I’ve really begun to embrace the Art of the Fly Fishing. In all its aspects, from learning how to control my drift, to reading water, matching the hatch and tying my own flies…it’s all fun. There’s something so beautiful in hiking out into the bush, waders on and a pocket full of my latest creations to try on Mr. Salmon, Mr. Trout or Mr.Whatever I can trick into a tussle. I have been very conservation oriented right from my days of being a boy scout till now, so it’s all catch and release. Just a photo for me. a sniff for Maddox, a thank you and on your way. There have been many days where I don’t catch a thing; sometimes it’s because Maddox splashes around too much, sometimes it might be me, sometimes it’s just not in the cards. I’m not bothered one bit…I love being one with nature. I realized long ago that it’s the journey, the drive with Maddox, the morning crisp air and the beautiful surroundings: this takes my breath away.  I don’t think that there’s anything much better than being hip deep in a river, the birds singing all around, trees whispering and yourself alone in nature’s beauty.  Magnificent!
With my obvious love of fishing I have always been fascinated with the sturgeon, a prehistoric monster of the deep, well not so monstrous in attitude but in its potential size! With its unique outer skin, plates not scales, and its strength, I have always been interested in them. In fact, the Sturgeon has been a proverbial ’white whale’ or ‘bucket-list’ for me, as I’ve always wondered what it would be like to catch one and handle it —  the power and the size are a bit intimidating — but it has always been a major attraction to me.  So as you can well imagine this opportunity to get up close and personal fascinates me to the extreme!
In my Chef life, my love and passion for the best quality in ingredients is of the greatest importance. To take the time to learn where my products that I serve come from helps me tell a story to those who enjoy my food. It means taking the time to forge strong relationships with like-minded people who are passionate about what they do, inevitably they produce a product of superior quality. I loved your story about “love at first sight” with the sturgeon, it made me laugh but also led me to believe that you care so very much and take immense pride in all that you do. Having been a fan of yours on Facebook has also led me to believe that you are passionate about food and the you make full use of the entire fish and nothing goes to waste; this is something I admire and believe in as well.
Here is a little background on me and where I’ve come from in terms of food. I started to cook at the early age of 11, I thank my father for this (for my love of fishing and cooking) as he was the one who inspired me to cook. I apprenticed at a boutique hotel called the Waterside Inn and worked in their fine dining restaurant called The Breakwater, under Chef Dirk Noort, who is currently Chef Instructor at George Brown College. I mentored under Master Chef D’Orsi who medaled in the category of Fish at Bocuse D’Or.  I was recruited right out of culinary school to work in the United Kingdom. I had two placements: Mapledurham Golf Club and The London Street Brasserie, a Michelin Star establishment. I can honestly say it was a mind opening experience, and one that I will never forget. Currently, I host food related events like The Diner en Blanc Toronto and I am a culinary instructor at Dish Cooking School in Toronto, teaching corporate team building events.
When I am not cooking with food, I most certainly involve myself in the food community with my blog Baguettes and Butterscotch, my food oriented photography, my work as a social media community manager for a gourmet food multinational, currently working on the photography for a cookbook and as a food writer/photographer for View the Vibe, National Post and Swallow Food in Toronto.  So as you can see I am quite busy with food. I can be found on various twitter accounts but my principle account is @bnbutterscotch where I have nearly 2100 followers, most are food lovers from all over the world. I am constantly on Facebook where I post about food, events, photography, my love of motorbikes, fishing and travel.
Currently, my Klout score is 60 and I am influential about the topics of food, photography, blogging and event planning. I love using Instagram to post frequently about food, on occasion about my dog Maddox and current events in Toronto.
As for what this adventure would mean to me? I think this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have a wonderful adventure. For a unique opportunity to combine my two passions of cooking and fishing together into one is something too hard to resist! I am ready to get elbows deep into the whole experience from the aquaculture (hopefully I get to see how sturgeon are farmed, maybe even tag one), to time spent on the water trying to fish for one (I know that the fight is incredible) to cooking with every part of an ingredient that is so unique from head to tail…truly, to me, it is  an adventure that I can’t believe I might have an opportunity to participate in. It would really be something memorable to write home about…my only regret is that Maddox won’t have the opportunity to take a sniff of Mr. or Mrs. Sturgeon….oh well, a good photo will have to do.
Here’s hoping for a great adventure in taste and passion.
Yours fondly,
Chef Nicholas