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Letter From the Editor Vol.10

2007: Resolutions and Revolutions

January 2007

At StarChefs’ International Chefs Congress in New York this past September, Morimoto looked up from the daikon he was impressively unraveling with a chef’s knife to say he’d like to spend a week in Thomas Keller’s kitchen learning new techniques. That’s Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto with his hugely successful restaurants and empire of knives and beer, adding learning to his agenda. In this egoless spirit of self-improvement, StarChefs encourages all chefs, regardless of your position in the kitchen hierarchy, to stay on top of your game. Line cooks, push yourselves! Executive chefs, don’t rest on your laurels!

Before you took this job, did you dream about staging abroad for a season? Did you always tell yourself, as a young culinary student, that you’d open your own restaurant by the time you were 35? Although not all chefs dream of owning their own restaurant...Albert Raurich, chef de cuisine at el Bulli, had a dream to work at the best restaurant in the world, not own it: "I've been here 11 years and I am more than satisfied--I love my job!" So, what are you waiting for? Go out and find a job you love!

To help inspire resolutions and revolutions, this month we’re introducing Barton Seaver, 2006 DC Rising Star of Café Saint-Ex and Bar Pilar, as our newest chef columnist. Barton’s focus will be on sharing how he puts his culinary philosophy into practice with his community, staff, and guests, demystifying relevant terms like sustainable and organic, and highlighting national issues in sustainability as it relates to food. For those really serious about their self-improvement this New Year, take note of Barton’s recommended readings on the subject matter at the end of each column and make a point to know your industry better, from the farm, all the way to the table.

Another new feature, Fly on the Wall, gives chefs a professional behind-the-scenes of exclusive culinary happenings. Check out our coverage of Charlie Trotter’s 19th Anniversary Dinner and read an interview with chef de cuisine Matthias Merges. Charlie Trotter sets the standard very high, not just in fine dining, but in giving back. His charity, The Charlie Trotter Culinary Education Foundation, awards scholarships to students seeking careers in the culinary arts and works with Chicago-area youth to promote education as well as an interest in cooking and food.

Will Goldfarb, of Room 4 Dessert in New York, is living the dream with his own successful dessert bar. Will shares his ideas, techniques, and products—even more inspiring because he thinks it’s perfectly normal. But if you’ve worked for one of those chefs terrified of another cook copying their techniques, you’ll certainly appreciate Will’s sense of openness. Read Willpowder to get a taste of his line of flavorings and stabilizers, along with recipes for each one.

As with taking on any huge tasks, it helps to make a list. Think about setting down some serious goals and make a realistic plan to reach them. Chefs, think about what you learned this past year and make a point to share it by taking on cooks who want to learn and helping them go farther. Cooks, think about what you want to learn, and from whom, and actively seek it out—mentors don’t appear out of nowhere! For those of you dreaming about opening your own places, if you didn’t go to a school that taught it, it’s not a bad idea to take a marketing, food costing, or business management class.

So take Morimoto’s advice: embark on your own educational quest!

Cheers!
Antoinette Bruno
Editor-in-Chief

 

 


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