After 13 years of working and travelling in dozens of countries across the world, Chefs Run Wild had finished and I found myself falling in to the regular “normal” life of waking up, going to work, coming home, cooking dinner and going to sleep where I could wake up and start the entire process again the next day. Don’t get me wrong, I had a lot of fun in between but this regular pattern is a bit too predictable for me. A predictable life is easy and comfortable but easy and comfortable gets very boring, very fast. For me anyway…..
I was stuck in a job that I really wasn’t happy with and in a city that was overly priced and for no good reason. I needed a bit more excitement in my life. Some sort of purpose. A job I could be proud of and something different. Oh, and rewarding at the same time. Oh… and allowed me to travel. Is that too much to ask?
With not really much of a plan, I quit my job, packed up all of my stuff in boxes, left them with Lyndon and bought a ticket to Bangkok …..Déjà vu. All I knew is that I needed to get out of Toronto. Sorry Toronto! I have met a lot of great people there but it’s just not for me!
I arrived in Bangkok and spent a few months travelling across Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore before I found myself in Bali. By this time 6 months had gone by before I finally started looking for a job. I sent 2 resumes to Canada and one to an NGO in Cambodia. Yes Cambodia of all places.
Why Cambodia you ask? Well when we were filming our web series, before it had turned T.V. series, we visited a training restaurant for former street kids in Phnom Penh called Romdeng. We met the project coordinator, filmed and ate there as well as got a behind the scenes look at the kitchen, the students and how the organization works. Since then, I had always dreamed of working there but for some crazy reason, I actually thought I wanted to settle down. (Watch the video at the bottom)
To make a long story short, the NGO in Cambodia was the only one that contacted me. 1 out of 3 ain’t bad! After a few Skype calls, they offered me the position of Chef Advisor/Trainer. The NGO was Friends-International. They have been voted as one of the top 100 NGO’s in the world and have been around for 20 years now. Friends-International works with other NGO’s around the world to set up social businesses to help empower marginalized youths and their families by teaching them skills so that they can find work, support their families and become a part of society.
We work with 6 different restaurants across Cambodia and Laos (with another coming up in Bangkok soon). The restaurants train former street kids, victims of abuse and marginalized youths on how to work in the hospitality industry in real live training restaurants.
All restaurants are award winning restaurants and as Chef Trainer/Advisor I travel between all 6 restaurants, Friends Restaurant, Romdeng, Sandan, Marum, Makphet and the new Khaiphaen. I advise the head Chefs as well as train them on how to train their teachers and students, teach about hygiene as well as helping them to organize their kitchens better. And a million other things but I am trying to make a long story short, right?
After months of feeling lost with work and not knowing what the hell I wanted to do, I feel I finally have found my place. I am living in an exciting country with beautiful people, helping others that are less fortunate, I am proud of what I do and it’s the most rewarding job I have ever had. So yeah, I think all the boxes are ticked and I think I finally found my dream job.
What’s your dream job? Let us know in the comment section below.
If you ever find yourself in South East Asia, check out one of the restaurants. You never know, I might be there too! You will have a fantastic meal while at the same time helping others. Have you ever eaten at one of the restaurants? Let me know what you think!