Saskatoon, Treaty 6: Frankie

(Photo by Jennifer Sparrowhawk, Intro by Kyle Bender)

Four years ago, I was fortunate enough to meet Frankie when I started working at a local hotel.  I remember thinking before saying a single word to each other that she seemed like a cool and confident person, and luckily I was right.  Our first conversation was very memorable for me; I remember sitting in the break room eating my lunch, too scared to talk to anyone. Frankie came in and sat down across from me and initiated a conversation. Here marks a distinct difference between her and I.  I was too scared to talk to anyone because I was worried people would think I was a weirdo, and Frankie comes in with absolutely no timidness, and started throwing questions at me like Larry King.  I’ve admired her confidence ever since and try to follow her example.

Ever since that day we’ve become increasingly stronger friends.  I have always found it easier to talk and get along with women, and this was my first “bromance”, in a sense.  Not only did we have similar interests in cooking, film and music; but also more importantly we have a friendship built on doing stuff together and helping each other out.  It’s not just about getting together for drinks and talking nonsense with Frankie, it’s more about doing things for your friends.  She was the one who started offering me help when I needed it, and more importantly would actually follow through.  Since then, we have helped each other out, no matter if it’s as small as helping pick up groceries, or moving to a new city.  It’s been one of the most fulfilling friendships I’ve ever had.

Lastly, I want speak of Frankie’s ambitious spirit.  This more than anything else speaks of who Frankie truly is. I think she is overly ambitious really, but only because I could never keep up.  I know that Frankie has had some difficult times in her life, but not once has she ever played the victim.  I’ve always instead seen her channel her frustrations into other aspects of her life; cooking, working, volunteer work, and even entrepreneurship with her perogies.  Both for herself and for the memory of her mother, which I respect immensely and am so proud of her for everything she’s about and all the choices she has made in her life; especially the choice of being my friend.

What kinds of projects are you involved in right now?

Currently I am gearing up for Girls Rock Camp Saskatoon in July. I was asked to be the Kitchen Supervisor this year, so I have quite a lot going on for the two weeks.

Besides that, my roommates and I are working on our yard to get it ready for an exciting summer filled with activities. I want to build a stage in our back yard so that local musicians and anyone who comes through and wants to play a small house show can use our house to do so, and typically the cover will be free for the show, with an option to leave a donation.

I also make perogies as a hobby. I started out wanting to make perogies like my mom used to, but ended up making perogies like I wanted. It began when I moved back from Edmonton, constantly testing flavors and handing out freebies. I have recently taken my website down, as well as the social media. From now on, orders will be by email or word of mouth.

What’s your day job? What do you like about it? What’s challenging?

I am currently working as the Catering Coordinator at Station 20 West. I just started there about two months ago. I needed a change from a typical kitchen set up where you go to work, prep for evening service, do the service, clean up, go home and do it all over again the next day; Station 20 offers that change. The people there are diverse and amazing.

I have been cooking for about seven years now, and I have learned many skills in that time, but one thing I have really taken away from any job in the cooking world is patience. I don’t mean patience with people, I am very short on that, I mean patience with food. Food takes time; you have to know how the process works. Like if you are building a soup, there are many steps needed to achieve the final product. That is one of the most challenging things to teach new cooks. A lot of people want to rush the task because there is a lot to get done in a day, but with practice, cooking becomes second nature. I have worked under a lot of great Chef’s, who have taught me a lot. It hasn’t been an easy journey, but every step I have taken has been worth it.

With this new job, it is like turning over a new leaf. I am in charge of making sure the caterings go well and everything runs smooth. I also do the food ordering, I am always searching for local providers to work with; that is proving to be one of the most challenging tasks of this new job. That and people talk directly to me now, it doesn’t filter through the Chef. So if there is a problem, I am in charge of fixing it most times. The other day, our cooler that holds drinks in the front of the café broke so I had to figure out how to fix it. It was exhilarating and terrifying, but I managed to get the cooler running again.

What’s important to you?

Having alone time. Without it, I get socially exhausted and sassy. I am more of an introvert, but I enjoy going out with pals to shows and meeting new people. I’ve met some of the best people in the past two years.

What do you like most/least about Saskatoon?

I like the people most. It all started with Girls Rock Camp Saskatoon that has lead me to meet a lot of talented, amazing people from all backgrounds. Without a doubt what I like least about Saskatoon is no 24-hour pizza joints. Going to New York and being able to grab pizza so late at night was a dream.

What is your impression of Regina?

Interesting that this question is being asked. I am quick to dislike Regina, but only because of my past experiences there. I have heard a lot of good about Regina lately, so I think I need to give the city another chance and go explore it a little more.

How do you survive the winters?

Typically I have always worked so much during the winter season that I tend not to notice the world is still revolving outside the restaurant. I like to think if I had more time in winter, I would be doing more outside activities. I love snowboarding, however I am quite laughable at it. My main mode of transportation is my feet, so I get to have a lot of long, interesting walks during the cold season.

From the Proust Questionnaire: When and where were you happiest?

I have moved around quite a bit in my life, so I tend not to get too attached to a house, or any furniture or inanimate objects. That being said, I had a moment a little while back where I was laying in my bed, with the window open, listening to the outside world. I could hear the cars passing and people scurrying, birds chirping, and I just felt at peace. I was comfortable, happy and calm.