ms. charlotte

Charlotte is leaving Ottawa today.

It makes me sad :0(

Don’t get me wrong … I am so incredibly thrilled that she is going to a new place – new challenges, new adventures, lessons to be learned … all that great stuff that a move to a new city entails.

But it doesn’t mean I won’t miss walking into the whalesbone and seeing her.  Pestering her with all sorts of questions … having our monthly scheduled industry night dinner @ Oz Kafe … listening to her crazy stories … hearing her laugh … just enjoying her joie de vivre.

I’ve known Charlotte since she was 18 … she’d just moved to Ottawa and was ready to experience anything and everything.  She brought a sarcastic wit and wicked sense of humour to the house (6 roomies that summer in a house that really only had 4 bedrooms and 1 bathroom … with a mushroom growing out of the bathtub).  I can remember her attempting to bring order to our little backyard garden (it didn’t happen).  I can also remember when she decided she wanted to be a bread baker … early mornings learning to make fresh bread.  You should ask Charlotte to make you bread … it’s pretty awesome.

I’ve followed her adventures over the years … culinary school in Prince Edward Island … working in Vancouver … working in Niagara on the Lake … coming back to Ottawa and taking the food scene by storm.  I feel like a uber proud big sister.

But I have to say it’s in the last few years that we’ve become closer.  It started because we genuinely enjoyed hanging out together … and then obviously a shared passion in food … and then Charlotte did the nicest sweetest thing ever.  She invited me to stage at the whalesbone.  She wanted to offer me the chance to see what working in a restaurant would be like.  And then she took the time to show me how to do the simplest of things … because although I can bake up a storm, cleaning mushrooms for 4 hours isn’t something I’d done before (and fyi … wild mushrooms can get pretty dirty).

But since friends tend to forget to tell each other how much they mean to one another … I’d like to take this opportunity to let Charlotte know what she’s taught me …

I learned that you should never attempt to plate ice cream on 6 desserts until all the components are already on each dish.  Otherwise … you have to start all over.

I’ve learned that manicuring shallots takes a really sharp knife … but that I can do it.

I’ve learned that I probably shouldn’t be hanging out on the line in the middle of a Saturday night rush … trying to get a perfect picture.  Lucky for me … Charlotte still let me do it :0)

I’ve learned that I can do anything.  As Charlotte told me every single weekI might never have done something, but it doesn’t mean I can’t do it.  It just means I have to try … and practice.  But that I can do it.

Charlotte taught me to trust my instinct when I bake.  To just go with what I think tastes good … and she applauded every single thing I have ever made.  Seriously … she was always the first person to offer me praise for anything I brought in for her to sample or told her about.

This past year has been a super difficult year for me … it’s still a struggle … but in the beginning it felt unsurpassable.  Charlotte always asked me how I was doing; we started a ranking system.  We applauded when I got to a 6/10 … and when I was having a 3/10 day … Charlotte let me stand in the prep kitchen and just cry.

And finally … Charlotte taught me to give 100% to everything I do.  That every person that comes into the whalesbone deserves to get the same experience – the same beautiful plate, the same standard of flavours … I shouldn’t just scoop ice cream on a plate and think it’s ok … it needs to be perfect.  People deserve that.  People deserve our best.

I think I echo lots of sentiments when I say it’ll be strange to walk into the whalesbone and not see our fiesty chef with the short-shorts and a kiss for everyone … But I think every single one of us are so proud of our little Charlotte … for everything she has done … and everything that is to come.

I don’t know if Toronto is ready for Charlotte.  But I know that she is totally ready for Toronto.

So without further ado … good luck Charlotte (the harlot).  Don’t think this is the last you’ve heard of me … I’m gonna come and stage with you in Toronto :0)


5 thoughts on “ms. charlotte

  1. This is beautiful, Lynne. Let me take this opportunity to tell you how much I appreciate you. Your passion, drive, resilience and intelligence inspire and encourage me every day. As lucky as you were to have Charlotte appreciate you, we are all extremely lucky to have you in our lives. I am a better person because I know you. Xxoo

  2. lynners
    i love you. Ive read this 4 times now and it fills me with so much happiness and joy to know that I have a friend like you. Thank you for this. ill cherish it forever

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