Chef Minds: Yoda Olinyk

Chef Yoda Olinyk from Yoda's Kitchen shared with Forest City Cookbook some insights of what it means to be in the culinary world and what is it that keeps the flame and passion alive!  

Forest City Cookbook - Chef Yoda Olinyk

What is your idea of a perfect restaurant?

A perfect restaurant is one that cares about its customers but also about its employees, supplies, farmers and community.

What was your most extravagant purchase?

We spent thousands of dollars when we were renovating Glassroots, and at the time everything seemed extravagant. We have a "wish list" but everytime we get close to being able to afford something, we have to fix a door or a leaky pipe or something else. Extravagance rarely exists in small business. 

What is your favourite food journey?

My own <3 I've had the chance to work for so many great chefs, been beaten up (not literally), broken down and built back up. I worked at a restaurant that was on my lifes-list-of-things-to-do, I've worked overseas, I've picked macademia nuts in Australia, I went from wanting to go to butchery school in France to carry on my family name, to becoming a vegan chef. It's all pretty cool!

What words/phrases do you most overuse at work?

The F bomb definitely gets used  alot ;) We used to  a have swear chart in the kitchen between me and two other guys. Whenever one of us says the F word, we get an X. We've completely lost count!

What do you regret most after all your years in the business?

Not taking time for myself before the burn out set in. It's so common in restaurant people and I see it in a lot of my colleagues. Taking time for yourself is even harder when you're leading a team.

What do you love most about this industry?

The friends I've made, people I've met. Also getting to EAT! Chefs are often starving when they're at work... they're too busy to actually eat. But I make sure my crew sits down for family meal almost every single day. Sharing a meal with the people I spend the most time with is incredibly special.

What is your current state of mind?

Overwhelmed, amazed, frustrated, excited, stressed, proud, hungry for more, ready to slow down.... it's a rollercoaster to say the least!

If you could change anything about the restaurant industry, what would it be?

That people would stop complaining about the cost of good food!! That way, we could pay chefs an honest wage for the work they do.

What do you consider your most essential ingredient?

Salt. No, love. No, salt!

The work/life balance struggle is real... How good of a juggler are you? Advice?

I'm not the one to ask! Getting a pet, especially a dog, forces you to be home more and it forces you to go home after a long day instead of going drinking and puts things into check.

What do you consider as the lowest depth of misery?

If something horrible happened to my body and I physically couldn't cook anymore.

When you finally retire, were will you live?

Spain or Portugal or France or Italy. Somewhere where eating and drinking is celebrated.

What is your most marked characteristic?

I hope that people would say that I am incredibly hard working and that I was a good boss or leader. That would make me really proud.

What is the quality you most like in a chef?

The ability to listen, share and take criticism. This is something I never had, but I strive incredibly hard for in my position now.

What is your greatest inspiration/motivation?

Knowing that people depend on me for learning, their apprenticeships, their paycheques and a safe, happy workplace.

Superman or batman or Wonder Woman?

Wonder Woman, obv.

What is the first thing you remember cooking?

Onion buns with stew with my mom

Neil Young or Tragically Hip?


Favourite kitchen word or phrase?

Do no harm.... but take no shit!!


  T: @yodaskitchen F: @yodaskitchen 

Photos by: Alieska Robles