Behind the screen: Meet JF Arseneau, software developer and foodie
JF Arseneau is a historian, a political, a foodie, an Acadian, a big fan of sous-vide, and a full stack developer who makes sure WealthBar’s website is working right for you. His path from the Acadian village of Petit-Rocher, New Brunswick to WealthBar’s Vancouver office is as long and diverse as his many unique interests.
Dreaming of becoming a video game developer, JF started out programming as a hobby in his post high school days, but unfortunately by the time he completed a formal programming course the dot com crash was in full effect. Not wanting to work another day in one of the Maritimes’ many call centres, JF took off in search of better opportunities.
Like any ambitious young man looking for steady work, JF headed to Quebec to pursue a career in academia by studying political science. He moved to Sackville, New Brunswick to complete his degree in history and Asian studies, when he realized that he did not, in fact, want to work in academia, so he worked in a grocery store in Moncton.
Between the organic apples and artisanal cheese, JF found his way back to computer programming by starting a web development business on the side. As his portfolio grew, so did his desire for a new place to call home.
He had a choice: Vancouver or Berlin.
“I moved to Vancouver for the food,” says JF. “That, and my friend had an extra room in her apartment.”
Following your tastebuds across the country is a bold move, but food for JF is serious business. His cuisine of choice is not the battered and deep fried fare of the East Coast–although he maintains that he owns four Acadian cookbooks–his love is Japanese food, and Vancouver has some of the best Japanese food outside its country of origin.
His love of Japanese food comes from a stint in Japan he did where he immersed himself in everything Japanese. He developed a respect for the culinary discipline of Japanese food, particularly chicken karaage.
“The thing to understand is that Acadians don’t have the best cooking in the world and it wasn’t until I went to Japan that I realized what food could be.” says JF. “Now my main dish is definitely chicken karaage and I’m kind of a snob about it, so much test a good restaurant based on their version of the dish.”
When not perfecting his chicken karaage, JF is experimenting with different and obscure culinary techniques, particularly cooking sous-vide.
Developed in the 70s by a French chef, sous-vide literally means “under vacuum”, which is exactly how it sounds. You put food in a plastic bag, vacuum seal it and then slow cook it in a warm water bath. The end result is evenly cooked food, but the downside is that the food doesn’t always look appealing.
“If you’re cooking a steak it comes out looking real grey and horrible, but then you use a blowtorch to add some colour.” says JF. “It’s also just fun to use a blowtorch.”
Whether it’s learning a new language, culture, historical fact, culinary technique or technological toy, JF is an experimenter and an early adopter, which is why he fits so well with WealthBar’s vision for a new kind of wealth management service.
Also, if you’re looking for the best chicken karaage in Vancouver, JF recommends Le Tigre.
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Abby Wiseman is a journalist, writer and communications professional based out of Vancouver, BC. She’s written for publications from the Vancouver Sun, Metro Vancouver, and BCBusiness, to being an Associate Producer for CBC Radio One. Follow her on Twitter.