Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lots to update

I know its been a while, to be honest its been a really hectic work week. The kick off of the work week was a huge event that Canoe put on for E Tv. This party was for about 90 people, it was open bar, and there was only 4 people serving the event me included. At first it seemed like it was going to be hard to keep track of drinks , since you have to run down to the low bar , we were in the restaurant. Once you get back to the restaurant the person who ordered the drink , or the people where gone, it was difficult to find people in a crowed room . But the whole event managed to run really smoothly. I was very happy to have to more event knowledge under my belt. Plus a person from e news wrote back our event director with rave reviews of the serve .

The next day during the day we had another similar even to put on . This event was for Royal Roads . It was a party for all the Masters graduates and the event was also for 90 people. This time we did it with only 3 servers. It was a buffet style , with open bar. Which meant one person was constantly bring up food, one was en-charge of drinks(me) and the last person was bussing. Although we all took turns doing a little bit of everything. As soon as this event was done I had to go rush out and go up Island. I had two family birthday parties all weekend.
When returning home I started work right away. Lately I have been scheduled for restaurant shifts , which means that I have for sure shifts. This was awesome as I was starting to get sick of on call shifts. Then mid week I had to go into ER with another Kidney stone. This is my second stone in 8 months. It was super lame and very painful. I was in ER for 6 hours , the first 4 I spent basically without painkillers. After my cat scan showed that I have 3 including the one that was giving me pain it my kidney. This news was pretty scary. This means that at any-point one of those Kidney stones could decide to start their journey and which point( because they come with little notice) I could be at work ,driving or school.

After recovering from one of my kidney stones I decided to work a gig again with Truffles Catering. This event was at the Hudson, which was amazing . The event was a party on the roof serving all the executives who helped build the Hudson. The pre work before the event was alot of heavy lifting. Which I was not super pleased about , just having a kidney stone the day before. We had to lift crates for beer, wine cooking things up to elevators , then to the storing room, which was far, then finally to the roof, which was even farther. There was a lot of stuff to bring up because the event was three days long. The event went smoother then the set up, I passed appies, poured wine .

Thursday, September 16, 2010


This last week has been a good week . The start of the week was a bit concerning , when receiving my schedule I was scheduled 5 days on the patio. Patio shifts are getting a bit risky to take on these days due to the weather. To make matter worse when checking the weather forecast they were calling for a week of rain. Lucky , the days that it rained I got the opportunity to move inside and work. It was great, I usually work outside so it was great to work in a different atmosphere. The restaurant is a bit more fine dinning. Which means as a server you have to act more professional, plus you get asked more questions about the menu and wine list, so it is a bit more of a challenge. Its nice because it gives me the opportunity to showcase my food and beverage knowledge.

This weekend I am on my way to a family get together. I am really looking forward to seeing my family before school starts . Plus it is my nephews first birthday , which will be rather exiting. I hardly get the change to see my family when school starts. Therefore I am really looking forward to a good vist, and catch up.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Get blogging

I know I know its been a while since I have blogged, not to much to report . Working , attempting to get some last minute summer stuff in before school starts . Today I took my full license test , and passed! Which is rather exciting! Which means legally I can have a glass of wine and drive now. Work has been going well. We have cut down on patio servers , this means that we have bigger sections now . I am really liking bigger sections . Normally the servers outside have 5 tables , now we have 6 or 7 tables. This is better for tips and keeping busy .

I just found the best white wine. It is by White Bear, it is a Riesling. It tastes like granny smith Apples , yum ! Plus a percent of proceeds go to saving bears. By me enjoy this wine I am contributing to saving endangered species. Yay!

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Wow , I cannot believe how fast things have flown by during this last C0-0p . Until completing my midway evaluation sheet I was unaware on how many things I have learned at Canoe. I have improved my multitasking skills like crazy . I am able to think and do so many more things at once. This allows be to spend more time with my tables. Plus I must say my product knowledge has more then doubled. I went into Canoe with very little beer knowledge , what I did know about beer is that I did not care for it . Today I can proudly say I can drink beer and enjoy it . All the beer at Canoe is great . Plus they produce five different types of beer . All five of these beers have unique characteristics which make them easy to break down to tables and find out what they like. I have also taken lately to drinking beer out , not at Canoe . My favorite non Canoe beer lately (because I love all of Canoes beer!) has been Phillips Phoenix , man it is great

My wine knowledge has also improved , not only can I open a perfect bottle of wine at a table but I know all wines my the glass at Canoe. There are about 12 different wines. I know their characteristics , and a idea of what they will pair well with.

I am stating to get very exited about school . I love September , I love fall fashion , student life return to victoria . The influx of youth returning , and of course fringe feast , Rifflandria, and of corse my birthday . Lately however , I am starting to get a little stressed out , will my student loan come in on time? will it be enough money to make it through the year. It is my goal this fall to apply for as many school bursaries as possible. Plus I have given myself till the end of September to decided where I am going to go for my second Co-op. So far I have it narrowed down to 3 places , Whistler ,Banff -Canmore or just staying in Victoria. It can be difficult packing up you life for just four months just to return for another 2 months of school. Choices , Choices!

As Far as work is going they have implemented a new schedule for the patio. This new thing is through shifts. Instead of starting at 11 and working until 5 most of us are scheduled 12-till close. Which sometimes can be until 9 9:30. For myself today working a though on a Saturday it is going to be a very long day . Without any breaks:( . On my plus side you make bank , it will most likely be a good tip day , plus an opportunity to go into overtime. Downside 9 hour days running you butt off , with little food and absolutely no breaks. Arg!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Howard Soon

As you know one of my main goals during this Co-op was to learn more about wine. Today I attended a seminar at Canoe hosted by Howard Soon . Many different people where there some from different hotels around Victoria , and the majority of the people were from Cascada liquor store. Howard Soon is the Master Wine maker for Sandhill winery . This year Sandhill won for best wine in the Canadian wine championships. He was a very interesting man . As a business man he always puts wine quality first . This really came through when he said that the Sandhill winery would rather have a larger yield , because this means that they are only using the highest quality of grapes. Howard has been working in the wine industry for over 35 years and now. As well as teaches other wine makers the art of wine making. Many of his students make wine for other VQA wineries loacated in Okanagan. Some of this wineries are X0X0, Red Rooster and Peller Estates all these companies are under the same company of Sandhill winery .
We all got the opportunity to try many different wine varieties. Here is a list of the wines we got to taste. Pinot Blanc, Pinot noir , chardonnay , unoaked chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc (my favorite) Gamay Noir, and two different types of merlots. Personally I Preferred the White wines over the Reds . Although I have been enjoying wines for the last couple years I still find red wine to be to full bodied and tannins. During the end I got to personally introduce myself to him and ask him a few questions . Then he asked us questions based on his seminar. I answered a few questions right and won myself a prize. A Peller camping chair . It was the perfect ending to such a informative gathering .

Monday, August 9, 2010


A couple days ago I had the opportunity to work my first Catering gig with Truffles Catering . We are both owned my the same company , however, are quite separate. On Saturday Truffles were short staffed so they called Canoe to see if any servers would be able to work for them . Due to the patio being closed I got called. It was great , my job can be very redundant so it was fantastic to be able to mix it up. The event that I ended up helping with was a wedding . The wedding was located near Sydney , right on the water. When I arrived I was put to work right away. I was a little nervous because I had never done anything like this before. I was given the job of bartending . All night long I poured drinks for guests, the majority of the drinks were wine and beer. When the bar was slow I helped re-fill waters and clear tables. After the event was over we had to disassemble all the tables and chairs. This was actually very tiring because the chairs and tables were quite heavy , plus all the caterers had worked a full 9 hour day.
This was a great experience for me. During the event I got to see the fundamentals that went into throwing a event . I learned that the majority of then things catering company's provide are rented. From the tables to the plates. This allows for very little over head. I found this very intreating because you don't need to have a lot of equity to start up a company . The over head is much smaller then opening a restaurant . Perhaps in the future I will first start my career off first starting a catering company rather then a restaurant .
I am going to try and stay on working gigs with Truffles Catering . They apparently are quite a flexible company , they allow you to work your own hours. For example you email them what days you can work , and they will have you work if they have an event . This will allow me to make some extra cash while working at Canoe , and perhaps throughout the school year. Plus will give me the insight I will need if I ever want to open a Catering Company.
Today has been a very productive day for me . I paid my web declaration fees so I can register for school for October , and finally completed my Student Loan. After completing all of this I feel stress free. The only thing I need to accomplish now is my Co-op meeting . The meeting will hopefully take place this week and everything I need to do will be complete.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Half way point

Man, Co-op has already made it to the half way point . The last few months have flew by , its pretty crazy. I was thinking today how far I have come at Canoe, my wine and beer knowledge has enhanced as well as my confidence. When we first started Dunlop I remember serving my first table and how nervous I was . How uncomfortable it can be serving different groups of people that you don't know or have little in common with. I feel the last 3 months at Canoe have really helped me. Lately my tables have even commented on how their service was wonderful. This has been a real confidence boast. Plus the staff that work at Canoe are amazing . Just moving to Victoria a year ago Canoe had provided me a great chance to meet people that work in the industry. Many people that I work with work other jobs , which has given me insight into other places as well. For instance how other places are to work for , and the kind of work atmosphere other jobs provide. Making me feel like part of the industry.

This week has been pretty hectic, although , thankfully non of the drama has come from work . I (again) just returned from up Island . While I was there decided to get my car looked at . It has not been running well . After everything was done and fixed , the final bill was over 1000 dollars which was alarming . This means that I am going to have to save extra hard this summer to start saving for school . :( Plus get my butt in gear for completing all my student loan stuff.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Function Groups

This has been a interesting week for me , lately at work I have been getting more function groups. Function groups at Canoe are parties of 15 or more. Some Functions have set menu's while others just have special circumstances ; like my party on Monday, they were a tour group from Spain. Prior to these two functions I have never done one on my own . So Monday was a little nerve wracking . Serving of this caliber is not difficult , its just staying very organized . Tour groups like to come in and have drinks waiting for them , then you start by bring up the first corse , which is usually a salad , follow with the entree, then dessert. My party was 16 people , so bringing up food , clearing and maintaining drink orders can be difficult if not organized. Everything however went awesome which is great because managers always phone the tour company to check up on service.

Then the rest of the week I have been serving on the patio. Things have been pretty chill, due to the nice weather. Which can be nice , and a little frustrating , due to the fact that tables have been camping out after being billed. Which is not normally a problem , but when all 5 of your tables are staying 25-60 minutes after billing it can be lame . For both Canoe and for my tips . I think I need to be a little more aggressive after billing . Not super aggressive just clearing everything off the table , such as water glasses , so they dont feel as comfortable to camp.

My last day of the work week I had another function. It was for our liquor company. They are also located right across my house so I frequent it a lot . It was neat to serve them and to make more personal connections with the people that work there. This will come in handy when I am inquiring more about wine , to increase my wine knowledge.

After work I actually had two days off in a row , so I went up Island to see family . One the way home my car broke down , so I had to call in to work and get my shift covered . This was a real bummer . Although I am feeling nice a rested after three day off.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The last two weeks have been crazy busy. I have been working six day weeks for the past month now. They are going well , however , when I have spare time off I hardly feel like blogging . I also have a journal in which I write down daily summaries it helps me keep track of work stuff for my blog. Last week the weather has been smoking hot . Servers must apply sunscreen every couple hours to avoid getting a nasty suntan. I have been really on this, because I have been burnt a couple times. I am finding the heat hard to work in . Its hard to find time to stay hydrated while working a full section. Plus I felt lethargic in the heat , which makes for a long shift. This week has been cooler(thank god). Making for a better week.

Usually I work day shifts , but last weekend I worked three nights I a row, Friday , Saturday , Sunday. Friday night was crazy busy . I have not worked a super busy shift for a while now , therefore I was a little off my game . It was so busy that throughout the night we had 10 or more people on the wait list . When there is a big wait it can get complicated to keep track of billing . For example you can bill a table , then go inside to grab drinks /food and return back to find a brand new table in place. Which means while inside , the last table left cash , left then in was bused and re-sat. This gets complicated , epically when you are not busing the table your self. If the customer takes the receipt and leaves cash the busers (who are also smoken busy ) will just leave the envelope(with cash) anywhere in the server station. That night not including my cash tips I made 150 dollars , however , at some point 100 dollars got lost, so I only made 50 dollars during the whole night . Days like this can be frustrating. Oh well! The next two days were a lot smoother.

I just returned from my trip up island today . My boyfriend and I have both been working six day weeks ; we lucky had the same day off together and decided to have some fun. We spend the day at the Parksville Beach, and took in the sandcastles. This trip was much needed, its nice to have small getaway trips in the summer. I am also trying to get time off to go to a wine tasting event at mount Washington. I think it will be a lot of fun ,plus it will teach me more about local wine ;which is one of my Co-op goals.

Monday, July 5, 2010


It has been a while since I have updated . Therefore, I am going to make this post worth while.
Last week at Canoe I had the opportunity to work my first function. Functions are tour groups that have booked with Canoe. When the Tour group arrives we serve them two different kind of beer , pop tea coffee and wine. Then they start off with salads, move on to the main and finish with desserts. When first setting up I was a little nervous , the tour group was going to be about 150 people and there were only four people serving the group. However it was easier then serving on large party. Basically the people at the tables serve their own drinks and we pretty much just drop each plate until the entire restaurant has food . Then clear the plates , and repeat with plate dropping . The only thing that was a little difficult was the people we were serving were from Spain , so it was a bit of a challenge communicating . The group stayed for a hour and a half , then it took another hour and a half to clean . For three hours of work I walked out with 80 dollars in tips which was amazing ! Plus I believe that this will be great practice for Dunlop.
I have been trying to further develop my goals , trying to focus on furthering my wine and beer knowledge . I got a book from the library about wines in California , they talk about the history of wines and the vineyard is important . I have been focusing on the wines in which we sell at Canoe. Although we carry more local wine it is still important to know. I plan on going to a couple wineries on the Island and taking a tour . I feel that tasting this wines and going to the vineyard will be a great and fun way to broaden my knowledge. I also plan on doing this with beer. When walking to work I pass two great breweries , Vancouver Island , and Phillips my goal is to tour both places.
Yesterday I hiked Mount Doug for the first time . I was not that much of a climb , but it sure showed me how out of shape I am . By the end of summer I want to clime to the top without getting out of breath . To achieve this I am going to hike Mount Doug twice a weak . Run thetis lake when possible , do yoga , and make weekly gym trips. Hopefully do all of this combined will get my fitness level back to where it was .

Friday, June 18, 2010

As you can tell I have neglected my blog goal to blog every monday :(. The reason for this is not a lot has happened over the weekend. The weekend at Canoe was okay I worked two short days because the wind was super strong, making people hesitant to sit outside. After those two shifts the weather stayed the same. One Wednesday I had beer school at Canoe it was awesome. Sean the Brew master is solely responsible for brewing all of Canoes beer. He had a PHD from I believe U-Vic and brew by the Purity Act of 1516. He puts on Brew School to teach anyone who works at Canoe more about brewing process. His Brewery is very neat , the storage unite where he stores the beer look like space ships. There are different vessels that the beer goes though depending on the stage . Example the first step of the process is melting the Wheat and the barely. The Sean transfers the beer though tubes. The interesting fact about this is he uses the natural pressure of the C02 to move the beer, which is rarely done. Everything he does is down to a science. Moreover, what's amazing about his beer is there are no fillers and everything is pure, he does not even pump extra C02 into the beer for added carbonation. Not only did we get the change to learn about the beer we also got to taste everything . I have had a couple beer tastings however I left Beer Schooling having more knowledge about the unique beer at Canoe as well as a little drunk .

The rest of the shifts this week have been the same , slow! Hopefully the weekend stays sunny and I will be able to work more shifts.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


This has been a great week so far. First it started off with me getting an extra serving shift in the restaurant. This was great because one its a guaranteed shift, and secondly the restaurant is more "fine dinning " then the patio , so it was the perfect opportunity to practice more up-scale serving. I have not opened a bottle of wine since school, so I got the change to open several bottles, which was great practice. Opening wine is not the challenge for me its cutting the tin foil around the cork that is problematic. When discussing this with the bartender he showed me a trick . It made my life so much easier. You can take the foil and pull it at the top , this takes one second and makes your bottle 100 times easier to open . This saved my life during that one shift , during that one shift alone I opened four bottles of wine.

After the restaurant shift I worked a couple patio days. I love the patio at Canoe. Its totally exposed , which can be awful if the weather is not nice , however on beautiful days there is nothing else like it . It is warm and most of the 250 seats are in the sun! The people that come down for lunch and dinner are mainly locals , and they are the nicest people to serve because they are in no rush. The last patio shift I worked was so nice that I had tables until midnight, which is great for my Co-op hours.

I had a couple days off and went up Island, It was great to vist with parents , sister and friends. I have not been home for a while so I had a lot of catching up to do . I arrived home yesterday feeling more tired then before I left. However today I was called in for a shift on the patio and it became overcast as soon as I arrived so I was sent home and still paid for 2 hours . This was fine by me because the forecast is calling for 5 days of straight sunshine so I will be working all weekend hopefully into next week .

My short term goals this month are to pay off my credit card in full within two months . I rang up a credit tab of about 1400 dollars so that will be a bit of a challenge . To do this I will give all the tips I make to BMO until its all paid off. Then I need to start saving for a computer!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Not much to update......

So I actually have not worked since my last blog . Its super lame , I am getting super bored. I am thinking about perhaps getting a second job. Due to the fact that Canoe is so weather based. I got called for a job in Sydney today , however declined it because its to far of a commute.
Yesterday we had a host meeting , which was really informative. We had the opportunity to taste all the beers that we brew on tap . As well as try the new feature beer. Which is Amazing!!
I dont think that I like hosting as much . I said that I would host and serve to get more hours, but that does not seem to be working . I booked a meeting with Ryan the GM to see if I can be serving primary.
With all my spare time I have re-vamped my goals. When I first did them and meet with Lee my goals where more just action steps. So here are my new and improved goals.

1) To receive a destination on my Co-op
2) To learn as much as possible on restaurant sustainability
3)To receive great work references for the future
4) Learn as much as possible about beer pairing and further brewery knowledge
5) Enrich my wine pairing skills , and winery knowledge.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Long work week with no work !

This week has been a very frustrating work week. Because I have very little sonority as a server I have been placed on the patio for quite a few shifts . I was lucky enough to get called to take a restaurant shift last Monday . My last restaurant shift was not great, so I was very worried for this shift . However when I got there I had a few really great tables , then as the night progressed one server was cut and I had half the restaurant. which was about 8 tables. One of these tables was the General Manager of Canoe and his family, so I had to give 100 percent to this table. Meanwhile I also had a 12 top from Tourism Victoria , the people from this party were mainly from London which meant they had lots of questions about the establishment. My last table was another 12 top and a birthday party . This table was constantly ordering , keeping me very busy . I was really happy to have such a great shift . It really gave me the conference I need as a server. Plus to end the evening great I walked out with 140 dollars after tip out!

Unfortunately, the rest of the week did not go so well. For every other shift I was on the patio, and due to lack nice weather I was not needed to work. I had six shifts on call patio in which I did not work . It was very frustrating waiting around knowing that I am not working but having to be available just in case. All long weekend I actually had off , but had to wait around just in case without pay ....Lame! I hope the weather gets nicer.

With all that space time I have been going to Yoga everyday and getting myself back into shape. Plus I have been going on lots of walks and hikes . Me and my boyfriend also joined a beer league baseball team . Which is such a good time! Also with my spare time I have been revamping my goals , and making them stronger . I will post them once they are complete.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Week three ...day from Hell!

Week three was a very long week . It stated off with a kick off split shift , normally this would not have been a problem but I was not scheduled for a split and had a friend visiting and a birthday party to attend to . I started off working 11-4 then 5-10 . Plus because I was the first person sat on the patio everyone who wanted to be sat outside. Resulting in my section of six tables all being sat at once. This meant greeting every table , watering , getting drink order, getting drinks taking food orders, refills and billing ,times six . The weird thing about this is this cycle repeated itself 3 times with all tables coming at the same time and billing at the same time . What a stressful day !

The next day they gave me a large party upstairs at the restaurant. My table was suppose to be a 15 top but ended up being a 20 top. This sounds manageable but to make my shift harder everyone was paying separately. To make matters worse they were all ordering mass amounts of drinks and moving around. This make it very hard to keep peoples orders together. Plus though-out the night people kept joining the table adding more people to the already massive separate bill. When it was time to bill it was a nightmare. Everything was relatively smooth , however, one customer bill would not print. This was not just any customer it was the only rude mean customer at the whole table . It was awful , plus I could not find the night manager anywhere in the restaurant to assist me . This customer did not leave happy . After my shift was done I did not feel great about this shift and was actually starting to dread my next shift .

The next day actually went really smooth. I went in to help set up for Canoe's first annual surf Sunday's. I helped Ryan , the assistant General Manager . This meant cutting pineapples , unpacking lays and helping the bartender get ready for the night . Then while the event was on I served on the patio. It was very busy , however I managed to have a great shift . I made sure to stay extra organized and not stress. The event managed to be a huge success.

Week two

The second week went a lot smoother then the first week . Canoe is a very weather based business, over half the seating takes place outside, therefore it takes quite a few staff to work outside. To have this happen if you have been scheduled a patio shift you are "on call" . Unfortunately because I am new most of my shifts have been on call , and the weather has not been fantastic , resulting in not as many hours as I would have liked.

On the plus side I decided use my spare time in a positive way. The last couple days I have been sitting around waiting all day to call in at 3 30 for my 4 30 shift and not making a effort to use up the morning and the afternoon. So I decided to get a yoga membership. Before school started I was a big yoga practicer, however , when school started I did not have the time or the money. So my summer goal is to make sure that I go to yoga at least five days a week . That is until it gets to hot to practice! Since it is hot yoga or bikram that I pratice.

As soon as the weekend rolled around the sun came out , and I worked 3 long shifts. They went smoothly, although I am still getting used to larger sections. I am still working at getting stronger with the Matrie De POS system ; I am lucky everyone that I work with is always willing to help me out with the machine. Next week my goal is to start getting a handle on everyone names. Which is a huge goal alone...There is over 90 Canoe staff members.

Friday, May 21, 2010


So I am just posting for my first time today . When thinking about the Co-op Term I first thought that I was going to write a journal , however since then I decided I am going to blog . So my goal for these blogs is to blog every Monday . To keep myself accountable and current . This Blog is going to be from my May 3nd journal .

My first week at Canoe has been really wonderful, scary and a lot to take in . When first arriving I got the whole building tour with the General Manager. The restaurant is massive, there are many different storage areas around the building, as well as extra storage space outside. Canoe in the summer can set over 500 seats, so there is a lotof stuff that is needed to make the restaurant function. I got the change to meet some of the people I would be working with . Canoe in the summer employes over 50 front end staff alone . Hopefully I will get know people that work there!

I also got 3 books to memorize. Because Canoe is owed by the Truffles group they have their own handbook(which is massive to memorize). As well as they want their servers to know the complete menu all ingredients included , as well as the complete liquor menu. during the training week all new employees will be quizzed in order to complete training . This is a bit daunting for me . With school done my brain feels as if its on vacation .

My second day entailed learning how to be a host . In Canoe the host is responsible for taking all reservations , seating people , running food and calling servers in. The reason why they start servers off here so they can learn seat numbers . This first shift was long, but I managed to memorize all 500 seats during the shift.

My third day was hosting alone . This went fairly smooth , although I had a little difficulty finding things within the restaurant , such as paper towel. Everyone one at work seems really outgoing and nice.

My Forth training day was in the restaurant. My trainer Mark was awesome. He had me serving tables right away, and gave me pointers and help when needed. The computer system is different from any that I have used so far so it was a little bit challenging finding things on the system.

The Fifth day of training was in the Pub. The pub is usually the busiest place in canoe. My trainer and I had half the pub to ourselves, which is a lot of work. He gave me a couple table to take on my own . One of the tablse grow from a party of 6 to a party of about 30. In which I took all on my own . The whole booking went very smooth . However it was a bit challenging billing everyone because they were all paying separately plus they were constantly moving.