How does 28 years of “Friday Steak Nights” get better?
A father and Son story
Jason came to Last Door on April 17, 2010, he had been to several treatment centres while traveling all over Canada and the United States working as a part time chef living in addiction. Estranged from his son he came back to visit his father in New Westminster where he heard about Last Door’s no-nonsense approach to recovery; he says “I was attracted to the rumors of how recovery gets done in New West and then I went to a meeting out here, wow!”
The first couple of weeks were painful – still detoxifying from the drugs and getting used to the daily hustle and bustle of Last Door. If it wasn’t for the support of the senior residents, the community and the philosophy that the new guy is the most important guy no matter what; Jason says he never would of made it to his 30 days clean.
As time passed by he participated in the therapeutic chore duties and helped out in the kitchen. Dinner at Last Door is all about step 6 and 7 as you prepare and serve it he smiles. His father Fritz who is an Executive Chef started coming around to help out and before you knew it, his relationship with his dad was starting to heal and the food at Last Door was going from impressive to exquisite!
For the past 28 years the kitchen chore had always been managed by the current residents and one or two staff monitors, however Executive Director Dave Pavlus saw the drive and ambition from this father and son team that he offered him a job as Food Manager. With the help of his father, being finished a full set of steps, being there to watch his son’s hockey games and his involvement in one the best recovery communities in the world; Jason says he has no doubt he will be taking his one year cake in a couple of months. “The best part of my day is teaching the news guys about step 6 and 7 in the kitchen”
50 years as an Executive Chef, Jason’s father Fritz got his apprenticeship while in his late teens in Switzerland cooking French Cuisine. After leaving his home town in Austria and cooking across Europe he moved to Canada 37 years ago earning $1 an hour, he finally made his way to New Westminster 23 years ago. Fritz was part of beginnings of many of Vancouver’s top fine dining restaurants, Personal Chef to some of Vancouver’s most notable families and was a partner in the Cannery Restaurant. Today Fritz continues to be a Private Chef to some select famous Vancouverites as well as owning Westminster Catering – 604-521-2547.
When Fritz heard Jason was coming to Last Door he was skeptical after spending close to 100 thousand dollars on short term treatment programs in BC and the US. “treatment centres spend too much time talking about the problems, too much money on the luxury, showboating what they think they do and they don’t offer enough practical experiences on how to live clean outside of treatment” All of Jason’s treatment centres were institutionalized setting and you couldn’t leave the property. When Fritz came for his first visit at Last Door – he knew there was something special happening here and Jason might get a new lesson in life.
“Today it is beautiful to see my son following my footsteps as a chef, especially with a clear head” He got this new way of thinking by using what he learned at Last Door outside in the real world and talking about his daily experiences and feelings in the morning group settings. “It’s a great practical philosophy”
When we asked Fritz why is he helping out? “I am helping Jason and Last Door because food is in my life; I am pleased to be part of the growth at Last Door. There is no Big Box Shopping here, we buy organic when possible and we do seasonal cooking, trying to respect BC’s local farmers as best as we can, we shop twice a week at local markets and butchers to support our community and to get the freshest food possible. Last Door has no walk in Freezer and that’s an organization I can work with”
What’s next for Fritz and Jason, the father and Son team? “Other than improving the gourmet grade dining; our hopes is to put out acook book in the near future and to continue watching families heal from addiction.