Often mistaken for Justine (by customers, not us) due to their mutual love of horizontal stripes. Her sense of humour may be dry like the Sahara, but her baking isn't. Moist cookies and bars galore. So many delicious treats, she spoils us. She and I are currently enjoying a long-term game of before and after you've gone with the wind beneath my wings of desire: the band of brothers Karamazov. What category was THAT??? Also, she's got some tricked out dance moves, which she sometimes breaks out during service.
Shane works at Sam James Coffee Bar and Sam and I have worked out a share system. His extensive coffee training with SJ gave him a solid platform on which to start building cocktails (a little pun for the cocktail nerds). He is precise, particular and fast and loves it when you talk Australian to him. His band, Fast Romantics, is just my speed of indie rock. And look at him, he's a Rudy Valentino for the ages.
Aidan's mind works at warp speed. He ALWAYS has a smarter, better, faster comeback. It makes me crazy, but also makes me laugh. A lot. He totally never takes the joke too far and never needs to use his inside voice. He is probably wondering why his wine smells like doritos. It's because he lives on doritos, so everything smells like doritos. Paid for by doritos. When not hanging out around the Hoof, you can find him dj-ing awesome sets at all the cool bars.
We found Daiki through Koya's (dearly missed OG JRD) network of japanese reggae dj's who also dish wash. At first he was shy as he was learning English. But now he won't shut-up! And so lippy. Kidding! Daiks, as I like to call him KILLS it in the pit. He somehow even finds time to help polish and do roll-ups. He also takes care of all the dishwasher scheduling snafus and is just all 'round awesome.
Sarah just started. And no we didn't hire her because she has the Hoof "look". The idea that we only hire converse-wearing brunettes who have awesome jeans is TOTALLY ridiculous. They also have to be smart, not uptight, and have a wicked sense of humour. Oh, and be really awesome at service. So ya, no bias here. ps wear stripes to your job interview
Masa has a huge following as a reggae dj. He's been working really hard at the details and always has the latest club reggae tracks to blast before service.
British Julie does so much behind the scenes stuff, I don't know what I'd do without her. She's really grown as a manager and has made it possible for me to feel very comfortable not being at the Hoof for a service here and there. The lights and music are always right and I know she can handle whatever the night throws at her. Loves dogs and horses. And shopping. And man, that girl can run. She's up to, like, 20 miles or some crazy-shit high number like that.
Shun struck a few tough-guy poses, but I chose this super-smiley one....we treat our dish washers like gold, can't have them looking like they're in prison on the "people" page. He's a man of few words, but very conscientious.
James brings great enthusiasm and was just so excited to join our team. He keeps that enthusiasm while taking his job very seriously, we are glad to have him. Will def update this as I get to know him better, but he seems really nice.
Cale is full of quirks and charm and youthy enthusiasm (but only for cool shit). He has great taste in music and nail polish and is incredibly nice to deal with. No complaining, just gets shit done. I never think he's going to shuffle off to buffalo in the company sunfire, with the company debit card but.... you never know.
Dan is a tireless salami making and terrine baking force. And he does it all while doing prep for the Hoof and snack service at CB. It's the greatest kitchen job in town (no stressy hoof services) if you have the required self-motivation. Luckily, he does, in spades.
Jesse and I like to go to the Sasmart. Sometimes we buy sassafraz. I am so happy with his relaxed yet strong leadership. There is real collaboration in the kitchen and lots of communication with the FOH. He's settled into the Hoof groove and has already introduced so many great new dishes, like the instant classic "pop and chips blood pudding" and the perfect surf 'n turf of "oxtail and scallops". His excellent sense of humour helps make long hoof services even more fun. Loves Vancouver. Gives great hug. Roland on Jesse: "This guy is more black than I am", but said like how Roland would say it.
Owen has a great sense of style and a natural ability to negotiate the tight space of CB while giving equal attention to everyone. Ladies melt and hand over numbers constantly. I have seen this. It's amazing. Such a charmer. Can't count a till for shit though. Whadda ya gonna do?
Cio is the reason we brought brunch back. I saw he was ready for a challenge and wanted to create a new position for him. He really ran with it. He is so into cooking and learning and teaching and talking food and is truly finding his voice as a young chef. Runs the line with a zen touched precision. Is a conqueror of massive challenges. Always figures it out.
Stu started as a food runner waaay back and after much cajoling finally let us mold him into a sensational server and bartender. He is the go-to for where shit is hiding in the many nooks and crannies of hoofland and I can always count on him. One of the few FOH who participates in prepping staff meal (his are awesome) but he has an advantage of having worked in kitchens. Loves food and brings such a great vibe of "water off a ducks back" which balances us all out. Total package!
Ok, Mitch is cherubic (clearly), wicked smart and just a joy to have around. We can't wait until art "school" lets out for the summer, so he can work ALL THE TIME! My personal favourite of his many school projects is the small talk destroyer. It automatically started in on the small talk when you shook someone's hand. So you didn't have to. Genius. Some technical difficulties. Patent pending.
Virgil is a very talented painter. So talented that Rolly and I bought this awesome piece he did of this wacko queenly figure on carpet underlay. It is so cool. He is learning the Hoof from the ground up, but has an innate love of food to start from and he takes the staff meal "rivalry" with Stu, very seriously. He and his girlfriend, Pardie (her name is a homonym for "party", she's obviously awesome) are truly adorable together and should never break-up (I do NOT want to update this anytime soon....ps, no one can ever quit).
Thousand watt smile, but I couldn't resist picking this stone face pic, 'cause he looks so good in it. Still a whirling dirvish after all these years. A fashion sense that knows no bounds, he is somehow, always years ahead of the curve. His cocktails are really great and often find their way on to the list. He is ON it.
Emily is learning from scratch (the BEST way) and is getting real good at controlling the weekend throngs at CB. Also, Hello! Cheekbones! It's funny that hosting is "entry" level in the restaurant business, 'cause it takes special talent to do it well. It's my favourite, that's for sure. Love hosting.
Jake comes to us from L'abattoir in Vancouver via Grand Electric (Hi Ian don't hate me). He has won countless awards and co-authors a fabulous wine blog called "Cherries and Clay". When he told me he liked my wine list at Raw, I almost choked up. Well it's in his hands now.....if...I...can...let...go. Come see him soon, I imagine he won't be in Toronto forever. But here's hoping!
Nickname: "Fashion" (it's all about how you say it). Her store, Woodlawn, on Dundas is super-well curated and full of beautiful clothes at surprising prices. Seriously, check it out. She also has a degree in bio-chem, which helps explain her scientific and precise approach to mixing cocktails (which she is very, very good at). She works incredibly hard at making her store one of the best in the city while still managing to come in every Wednesday and stir up cocktails. Is always impeccably dressed.
Beardo here comes from a coffee background, which has consistently proven to be a good base for learning cocktails. The other night I was in CB after work and he sat down to have a drink and these girls kept asking him to touch his beard. It was a little much. He handled it in stride and good spirit, which appears to be his MO.
Look at this girl. Fucking perfect bone structure. It took me forever to pick her picture as they were all EQUALLY great. Nozomi has the wackiest/best fashion sense of all Hoof staff. From her anchor pants to her gold coat, she can rock any look and although she looks great, I recognize how dumb I'd look in her outfits. My goal is to have her food running by the summer. Promote from within!
Sean brings the hustle. Last week I saw him just start putting the FOH dry goods order away. I told him he didn't have to, but he just kept stacking boxes. Now, that, is what I like to see. Great vibe about him seems like a perfect fit.
When Joash first started he moved at hyper speed and didn't say much. Now many months later, we've learned about his deep love of grimy rap (kind of a surprise for a guy heading off to study theology) and wacky t-shirts. His parents are the sweetest and it's obvious he gets his love of food from them. His care and enthusiasm will be missed.
Justine provides the kind of elegant, graceful service that almost can't be taught. Her food and wine knowledge is vast, but she's never, ever snobby about it. And don't let that angelic face fool you, she can filth it up with the rest of us....in fact, she probably started it. From REGINA. Someday I would like her to make me a hundred beautifully cut dresses, because she's really amazing at making beautiful dresses.
Matriarch to all things Hoof.
Kris is one of those super-talented cooks who's all humble and just slides in and does everything perfectly. A rare thing in this business of macho boys and puffed-up bro-vado (the WORST, but that was a pretty great pun).
Shaun's awesome dog couldn't make it to picture day, but trust me, that dog is awesome. Part wolf. This pic is kinda the best. He's all "listen to your Uncle Shaun, he knows a thing or two". One of the many great things about Shaun is he came to cooking later in life after working in the snowboard mag business. That means he is mature and doesn't have any of that out-to-prove-shit nonsense. He just loves cooking.