It all started at an early age for Brandon Nolin, who developed a love for cooking at home and is now working his way up through the culinary ranks as First Cook at the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort.
Brandon got his first taste of a professional kitchen working as a sous chef at a Greek restaurant in Penticton. Looking back he views the experience with great appreciation, having worked alongside a gifted and giving chef who supported him, taught him much, and nurtured his enthusiasm.
It became clear to him that achieving the career success he desired required an education, industry credentials, and more experience. He wanted “the theory and practical to speak for themselves”, thus he set roots in the Kootenays to begin the Cook Training program at the College of the Rockies.
A year after starting he joined the kitchen of the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort to develop his cooking skills and put into practice the culinary concepts he was learning. He works side by side the executive chef who is willingly grooming Brandon into a professional chef in addition to teaching him the operational and business side of the profession.
Brandon’s responsibilities also include supervising the steward and second cook positions, menu standardization, and giving guests the best possible experience. His talents are expanding into banquet work and he now holds full responsibility for the weekly Sunday brunch. As his skills and abilities strengthen his duties are also being extended into kitchen management for the resort, with the anticipation of assuming the full time chef de partie position in the near future, working directly behind the sous chef and executive chef.
Brandon views his greatest challenge as putting out a good product, meal after meal. He sets a high bar for himself and keeps motivated by focusing on guests as well as his own goals. He attributes his culinary success to past chefs who have given him the opportunity to do what he loves and who have supported and encouraged him every step of the way.
The industry to him is a lifestyle, and cooking, a profession where success comes from creating your own art. “Even when the menu is not yours, you make it yours with your own special touches and techniques,” says Brandon.
He challenges career seekers to be self-motivated and eager, and to not be afraid to make mistakes, saying that, “If you don’t mess up you will never learn how to fix it.” The bigger the kitchen, the broader spectrum you can do to expand your experience.
Brandon’s eyes are immediately focused on completing school and attaining his Red Seal. Pursuing his Certified Chef de Cuisine designation will soon follow. His long-term vision is to become an instructor, to keep the art of cooking alive and ensure continuance of the profession by helping breed the next generation of chefs.