Restaurant workers who keep it all running

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(Continued from Page 2)

Hyuk-Joo Na mentions his brothers and his parents a lot during a chat at Provence Marinaside (1177 Marinaside Crescent). Na, or “Scott”, as everyone at the restaurant calls him, starts work at 7 a.m. and beavers away until 3 p.m., six days a week.

Eight years ago, after studying marketing management at BCIT, he was having a tough time finding work and decided to apply for a dishwasher position at Provence. He slaved in the dish pit for two years before gradually assuming more responsibility. Now, as a prep cook and jack-of-all-trades, he gets items like soup and crab cakes ready before the dinner rush, orders and receives stock, schedules staff, and oversees dishwashers.

He laughs modestly when asked what makes him a solid employee: “I just try to be on time, and try to work hard and have a good relationship with my employer. And yeah”¦ ” he trails off, rather than trumpeting his talents. For Na, it’s about putting in an honest day’s work and inching toward his dream of running a family restaurant with his brothers.

Na returns to his work, while Jasen Gauthier, chef de cuisine at Provence, sits down with the Straight and lists the qualities that make him worthy of recognition: “Has a lot of heart. Really looks after the place like his own. Goes the extra mile.” He says Na also has a knack for putting staff at ease with his calming influence.

As a 30-year industry veteran, Gauthier sees the value of someone like Na, who’s willing to stick it out. “I think anybody who’s been in [the industry] a while should definitely get recognition because most people that I knew when
I started aren’t in it anymore,” he says.

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Tony Fox
Great article - we often see a restaurant as being inextricably linked to that chef's name on the menu, but forget there's a whole cadre of people who help make that chef's vision appear on the table. Thanks for sharing these stories, and I hope we see more of them!
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