Photography by David Wile Image by: Photography by David Wile
Does she ever get tired? "I am always working," she answers matter-of-factly. "But I love it so much!"
Developing leadership skills
Lynn achieved spectacular success as executive chef for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, first in Toronto and then in New York (as the Sinatra song goes, if you can make it there…), garnering critical accolades as well as the distinction of becoming the highest-placed female chef in the entire organization. For her part, she credits those years with developing the leadership skills she needed to take her next career leap: opening her own restaurant, Ruby Watchco, in 2010.
In a city whose unspoken culinary rule is, Whatever else you cook, make sure you include a Caesar salad, Lynn made the bold choice of offering a daily table d'hôte menu—basically offering paying guests what she feels like feeding them, based on what's locally available. "I'm inviting people to come into my restaurant, and I want to give them the very best experience," she says. "I want to cook for my guests with as much heart and soul as I possibly can."
All about hard work
Just this year, Lynn opened a second restaurant, The Hearth by Lynn Crawford, inside Toronto's Pearson International Airport, offering her signature farm-to-table approach in a setting that not long ago was better known for cellophane-wrapped sandwiches and fast food. (Good news for frequent flyers: Fellow chefs Roger Mooking and Susur Lee have recently opened their own eateries at the airport, as well.) In many ways, running this new restaurant is more challenging to Lynn than the higher-profile Ruby Watchco. "At The Hearth, it's my name, my recipes—but I'm not there every day. Ultimately, it's about the great managers and the great training that you give the talented chefs there." As a leader, she says, her goal is to help everyone on her team "live up to all of their dreams."
For Lynn, the secret to success may not be easy, but it is quite simple: "You have to work just as hard or harder than everyone around you. I'm competing against myself. If the bar is set here, I'm always pushing it another 10 notches up so I'm achieving that excellence."
She continues, "You create your own destiny. If you love what you do and you are supporting those around you, you will be successful."
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|This story was originally part of "Lynn Crawford" in the September 2015 issue.
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