Israel Berube gets some advice from Crumpet Shop owner Nancy McFaul.
See that guy dancing in the kitchen at The Crumpet Shop? It's Israel Berube, a musician, a poet, a crumpet artist. He's the bubbly presence who can't stop grinning while he cooks those magnificent discs of doughy goodness.
What was your first cooking job?
Israel: I was 14 years old and I got a job working at Sbarro's Pizza at a mall in Anchorage.
Are you a native Alaskan?
I am an earthling... as far as I know.
So you got your start in the food court. Where did you go from there?
Oh my goodness gracious. As far as cooking goes, my next spot was at a place called the Roosevelt Café, which is similar to the Crumpet Shop. It's a family run business. This really cool lady started it up. There was a stage and she had coffee and wraps and it was my vision of what a perfect place should be. Welcoming, versatile. Everybody was open-minded.
SW: How did you end up at The Crumpet Shop?
Well, I was working at Utili-Kilts and I was laid off. It was actually one of the best things that's ever happened to me because I found the Crumpet Shop job. I actually wanted to work here since I first moved to Seattle. Before I got hired at Utili-Kilts, I tried to get on here, but they had just hired somebody who had worked here before and had just come back from school. But I was persistent. I came back after I got laid off from Utili-Kilts at 4:30 in the morning. My mom taught me early bird gets the worm. I showed up here wearing my little tie.
And a Utili-Kilt?
Israel: No, no. I only wore those when I worked there. They have great air-conditioning, but they're dangerous to skate in.
Is it hard to get up that early?
Israel: Yeah, I am so not a morning person. But I've been able to acclimate myself to the morning waking up thing. And now, it's really nice because I have a whole day to do things after I get off. I'm just enjoying things a little differently. I love change. It's perfect for me.
Check back tomorrow for part two of this week's Grillaxin when Israel Berube talks about his music and how he pours a lot of love into making crumpets.