Tuesday, February 19th, 2013...7:35 pm

A Fork in the Road: Parts & Labour and the Parkdale Mentorship Program

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Those who have been following the Gradlife blog for awhile (PS. I love you) may already be aware that I take part in the Parkdale Mentorship Initiative which engages Grade 10 students in exploring career opportunities after high school. There is a certain irony to this project, as some of us Grad student mentors are similarly finding ourselves (again!) at the decision-nexus of what to do with our lives post grad school (see last week’s post, or this one, or this one, or even this one). The truth is some of the advice we hear each week resonates beyond the ears of the mentees!

Head Chef of Parts & Labour Matty Matheson comments on the decor by Castor.


Our last mentorship session was “Culinary Week” which involved a MasterChef-style cook-off, as well as a visit to one of Parkdale’s hot dining (and dancing) spots – Parts & Labour. After welcoming us into the restaurant before noon on a Saturday, Head Chef Matty Matheson made me feel somewhat unaccomplished as the resident genius behind the tasty success of the restaurant (he may or may not be the same age as me). Not one for traditional schooling, Matty shared with us that he always worked best with his hands, and was inspired by his grandfather’s cooking and restaurant growing up in P.E.I.

The calm kitchen before Brunch begins.


Armoured with a boisterous and colourful personality, Matty was engaging as he shared with us some insight into his own career-journey. As he shared his story of discovering his passion with the mentees, I could not help but think that many of us grad students are on the same indecisive path. Although (perhaps?) closer to the end goal than some of the high school students, I am still struck with the stress of whether each decision I make is the right one. 7, 17, or 27, the path may become clearer but I might continue to find myself at a fork in the road. All I can do about that is make the most of it, do the best I can, and use that fork in the most advantageous way possible – perhaps a bit less literally than Matty did.

Looking for less philosophical advice, and interested in how to make a student-friendly meal of beans and toast? Check out Matty’s take on a student favourite here.


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