Not many twelve year olds know the secret to making crisp fish and chips from scratch – even imitating the English by wrapping the entire thing in newsprint. Yeaman, though, remembers fondly making fish and chips for his parents when they came home late from work. “I love working with my hands- it’s always been a passion for me, I loved helping out in the kitchen. I think that’s really what started it for me and got me to where I am now. I don’t see it as a job, I see it as a passion and it’s enjoyable working with things that are constantly changing.”
Perhaps this is what sets a chef apart from the rest of us. Every gesture is precise, the result of years of practice. Yeaman displays these precise movements thoroughly enjoying his role as guide to his fellow cooks. “I like to lead by example. I have very high standards and I expect a lot out of my chefs. I love to mentor people, and watch them grow.”
Beginning his formal culinary career at George Brown College in Ontario, Yeaman quickly began work at Jump café (part of the Oliver-Bonnacini group) before being offered a five month stage at three-Michelin- star restaurant The Fat Duck, in Bray England. Since then he has worked at two Oliver-Bonnacini restaurants (two of Canada’s best: Canoe and Auberge du Pommier), under Rob Feeney at Relais and Chateaux’s Lumiere in Vancouver and later at The Jesmond Dene house in Newcastle, England. Ultimately Yeaman settled in Calgary taking the reins at Chef ’s Table.
As Yeaman points out, beaming, “we have a great team here. The small team that we have is quite talented. As a chef you never stop learning, I learn through my cooks every day, and they learn from me- you can even learn something from the dishwasher.”
This is an excerpt of an original article. For more about Theo Yeaman see the Fall 2008 issue of City Style and Living Magazine.