Thanks to one of the “intervenantes” at the CCHM, I got to do my “stage” at Cafe L’Artere, a really sweet co-op. “L’Artère is a creative dynamo. It is an alternative space that seeks to stimulate emerging artists, to create a neighbourhood coffee shop, to offer healthy and quality food options, to have transparent and self-managed governance, to encourage neighbourhood solidarity and to offer a workspace for the self-employed.”
(P.S. The photo wasn’t taken by me and I don’t know who the owner is.) Instead of two weeks it lasted three, and my tasks were shared like the rest of the crew (there is a total of 8/9 of us, with 1-5 working at the same time) from preparing meals to serving them, making coffee to cleaning up the place. I admit that preparing coffee and being a waiter really scared me because I’ve actually never done that before and I know that I lack social skills, but it’s been going smoothly, and I feel really comfortable here. It’s amazing, actually.
Everyone’s really cool, the ambience of the place is real chill, we listen to music all day, I get to wear what I want, I get to eat good food for free, and I can even create the dishes to be served on certain days! The kitchen is openaired which is a neat concept. Every Monday afternoon we have a meeting and discuss various important matters together. They regularly host shows and events, with a full-blown piano and classical guitar I can play to my heart’s content during my off-hours. On top of it all, starting Monday I’m officially hired and I’ll be working 4 shifts a week which is really awesome, but I have to come in once in a while on an off-day for catering services.
Everyone puts aside 4-8 hours a week to do their own work to help the business grow (which opened just over a year ago), such as accounting, creating menus, getting the word out, building shelves, taking care of catering orders and ordering ingredients. I’ve given myself the tasks of finding and creating creative recipes, working on a recipe book, calculating the costs of all the dishes, and taking care of hygiene and conservation of food. I’ll be working 32 hours a week plus 4 extra hours to work on these tasks, and I look forward to them!
How lucky I consider myself for having landed a job at the CCHM, which finally ended this month, and for now having found an awesome co-op cafe/resto to work at. Come say Hi! The address is 7000 Avenue du Parc, near the Parc metro station.
Still, I can’t believe how quickly that 6 months South at the CCHM went by – they said it would – and how it’s behind me now but it’s left me a lot of kitchen experience and knowledge which I greatly appreciate. It’s nice that I still see my old co-workers once in a while. Now I have new friends to make in the North end of Town.
Things are going great at work except that I’m working more shifts than I initially wanted to, and my work schedule is kinda weird and not grounded. I work early Monday with our weekly meetings running from 8:30pm-10:30/11pm, Late Tuesday (when there’s events), possibly Wednesdays on occasion (when there’s a catering service, though this date can possibly change), early Thursday, mid Friday, early Saturday, and Off for sure on Sunday… When one of the girls said everyone works 4 shifts, this is definitely not what I had in mind – I was actually hoping to work just part-time once I left the CCHM to work on my own projects. On top of that though, I’m on a government subvention which means that they have to say I worked the same amount of hours each week for the government to pay me, so I have to mess around to make sure my hours match up, which is more complicated than if I was just getting directly being paid by the cafe. Argh! I did mention I was looking for less hours and that I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of a semi-floating schedule, but I guess I should have spoken with more assertion, but of course I suck at that. Well, we’ll see how this works out. Maybe it’s not that bad; I just need to get used to it.