Ciao Oct/Nov 2018 CIAO_OctNov2018_Digital - Page 12

inthekitchen no bark, all bite Hard work and a hands-on approach have reaped rewards for chef Jackie Hildebrand. by Kaitlin Vitt For many, the adage “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” seems like farfetched advice. Life gets in the way, and passion fades to hobby, if anything at all. That’s not the case for Jackie Hildebrand, the executive chef of Hy’s Steakhouse and Cocktail Bar. “I blinked, and I was here for 14 years,” she says. Jackie, 34, started working at Hy’s in 2005 after a friend said the restaurant was hiring. This was the same year the steakhouse moved from Kennedy Street to the Richardson Building. Jackie hadn’t been into the new location until her interview, and was wowed by the restaurant’s impressive size. After only two weeks of working at Hy’s, she knew it was a good fi t, telling the sous chef at the time, “I’m not leaving.” In a high calibre kitchen where perfection is expected at every level, the best learners tackle every task, no matter how small, with gusto. Like a sponge, the young chef absorbed any and all information thrown her way. She learned from other chefs and by getting her hands in everything. After three years of hard work, she became sous chef. In January of this year Jackie was promoted to executive chef – the fi rst female executive chef across the fi ve Canadian locations in Hy’s 63-year history. The restaurant industry has a reputation as a ‘boys club,’ but for chef Jackie, the signifi cance of the promotion didn’t register until it was on paper. “I come from a line of really remarkable and strong women in 10 ciao! / oct/nov / two thousand eighteen