My very first culinary competition was in 1994 here in Atlanta, Georgia, and I remember preparing a pan seared Atlantic salmon with roasted vegetables, turned potatoes and a simple beurre blanc (wine reduction/butter sauce). While I was completely overwhelmed with emotions, the fact that I was comfortable cooking under that level of pressure proved to me that I had a solid understanding of the fundamentals of cooking. What most people don’t realize is that pressure lives and breed in the kitchen. It’s as vital as using salt and pepper! Without pressure, there’s not a sense of urgency.
I want to start off by saying thank you for the overwhelming response since the launch of my culinary platform. We’ve seen thousands of visits within the first month and the volume continues to grow each day. My mission is to share the experience and knowledge that I’ve acquired along my journey to becoming the first minority Certified Master Chef (CMC) with people who share my passion for food. Whether you’re just a casual culinary enthusiast or a culinary professional seeking to take their career to the next level, we’ve got something for you! Having spent many years successfully developing future leaders of the culinary industry (learn more), I’ve had the distinct pleasure educating thousands of students across the country on every phase of the culinary process from A to Z. With that being said, there is currently a major need in the world for quality culinary education as the days of the large culinary educational institutions are slowly coming to an end.
While I’ve been quite fortunate to have tasted great success throughout my career, I must say that I didn’t accomplish this level of success by myself. It is a widely known and accepted fact that great tutelage is needed in some capacity (remember: being a student never ends). In the old days, a chef’s was educated through the apprenticeship process where one would learn almost exclusively by way of shadowing and observation. In more recent history, large culinary institutes have all but dominated the culinary educational experience providing well structured, college-like tutelage. Now with the advent of the internet, technology has given educators endless possibilities to engage students in the educational process.
One of my favorite Chinese proverbs states that “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” Since passing the exam I’ve been asked on several occasions “what’s the one piece of advice I would give to an up and coming culinarian?” My response to those questions consistently has been “if you want to be respected as a great chef one day, then start preparing and thinking great now”! I am a firm believer of how you practice is exactly how you will perform…and this theory is grossly tested when you are placed under a very stressful situation.