Jordan McLean is not easily rattled. That is evident when he stays calm despite a mix-up in a delivery that will considerably shorten the time in which he has to pull together a big dinner. This quality is a plus in a profession where tempers are known to run high the restaurant business. Jordan is the new owner of the Tuscany, together with his wife Jill, and the couple feels a strong sense of responsibility for Bowen Island as they are one of the largest employers with 30 to 40 staff members in the summer.
"We're employing and training young people and we're teaching them more than the restaurant business we also give them life and employment skills," Jordan said, adding that he spends more waking hours with co-workers than with family so the bonds have to be strong and positive. Jordan joined the team at the Tuscany in May 2012 as front of house manager and has worked to build strong relationships with front of house and kitchen staff. He took over operation of the Tuscany last week and is busy setting up a structure and systems to be prepared for the busy summer season.
In addition to experience in the food and hospitality industry (Jordan is a Red Seal Chef, has studied baking and butchery at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts and has worked in a variety of restaurants), the McLeans bring a deep appreciation of Bowen to the job. Jill's family on her mother's and grandmother's side are long-time Bowen Islanders. And Jordan grew up on an island, Grand Cayman, where he lived in a small town and witnessed the transformation from third to first world.
The plan is to keep serving the Tuscany's popular menu items and increasingly add new items on the specialty board. Jordan plans to record comments that help him build a menu that reflects islanders' tastes. He also has a wealth of new ideas. One is for families to call ahead to have a pizza and a table ready when they arrive. "We also want to integrate more locally grown foods," Jordan said. "We are in discussion with farmers who can supply them for the summer."
Tuscany Restaurant will also continue to display local art starting with that of their own multitalented employees.
Keeping his cool through minor mishaps has seen Jordan through a couple of incidents already, one of them involved a smoke-filled restaurant on the first night of independent operation. The pizza oven fan had broken and needed to be repaired. As soon as the next day, Tuscany was back on schedule to deliver pizza to the Bowen Island Community School.
With files from Joanne Raymont