Being in the industry for a near 11 years now, I've seen my share of restaurants. Each one more unique than the next. As any other industry you take a certain amount of knowledge and try to apply it to your current job.
I found the Iron Goat through their exec. Chef Michael Hay, who I have been friends with for a near 10 years. We have stayed in close contact through all of our travels. Michael going to Banff and me moving from Toronto to Montreal with pit-stops in Chicago and New York. It was soon decided that in January I would come out to Canmore and see what I could do to help.
The First thing I actually did was research where, and what Canmore was all about. Needless to say without ever seeing the mountains before, I had fallen in love.
Upon reading reviews about the Iron Goat, I noticed that they were in a slight bind. There were mixed reviews about the food and mixed reviews about the service. Right away I knew I had to use my strengths and start in the kitchen. If its one thing I've learned as a chef, if you are serving quality food and you are proud of it, it makes the job of a server that much easier. Some chefs don't have the luxury or even courage for that matter, to walk out to a table and promote or sell their dishes. As servers, its their duty as the front line to promote the food which even they are proud of. Its makes you as a diner, enjoy the experience a lot more when your server is knowledgeable and courteous to your needs.
My goals for the Goat were simple. Use my knowledge and techniques to produce simple food with great flavors. I knew I could not remove any of the staples, IE the meatloaf, which is still fantastic. I had to create dishes that were visually appealing and ensure that they could be done consistently. I worked with the close knit kitchen crew and showed them that great food does not necessarily have to be difficult. They just had to learn to take the time and pour their hearts into every dish. Kudos to the kitchen staff for making this change. As chefs we have to adapt to peoples personality and believe me when I say it, there is a ton of personality in the Goats kitchen. A special thanks to Sous Chef Adam Janisse, who supported all my ideas and was there every step of the way to learn and to teach as well.
Two and a Half months later, I depart for my home in Toronto. Leaving behind something that I feel is still somewhat incomplete, but still proud of. I'm proud of the fact that i gave people a reason to come back to the Iron Goat. Not only the employees but the diners. I thank Canmore for supporting my food, and supporting the Iron Goat. especially during the Valentine's Family Day weekend where I launched "To Food with Love." The comments and feedback from that weekend made me proud to be a chef and proud of the Staff at the Iron Goat.
This experience gave me the opportunity to do what I love to do, which is train peoples palates. Locals understood my vision and were hands down ready for my next creation.
A special thanks to Chef Michael Hay, Dan O'Leary- G.M, Michael "Buck" Leslie- A.G.M and of course all the staff of The Iron Goat Pub and Grill.
And to YOU Canmore... I was told when i first came here, The pace of life is measured not in minutes but in experiences, and I am proud to say I have experienced Your Canmore.
Best Dishes, Sincerely
Chef Tristan D'Souza