July 2013 President’s Message

July 2013 President’s Message

July 2013President Message

Back in the day”, is a term the younger generation uses often to refer to a couple of years ago. That term makes me personally laugh as I would imagine it does most chefs. For me, back in the day was a diet plate that consisted of fruit and cottage cheese. Meat was still cut when the customer ordered it. Stuffing was made with left over breads, not from a box.  Hollandaise was made several times a day in massive batches. Fresh fish actually came in fresh. We didn’t have tomatoes called ugly that used a slogan “Tastes like a tomato because all tomatoes taste good”.
In the 1960’s the American Culinary Team won a gold medal with a T-bone steak and baked potato. Hell’s Kitchen wasn’t a reality show it was a reality for most of us in a classical kitchen. The Food Network was on PBS with the Galloping Gourmet and Julia Child. Our job was considered domestic help up until the 1970’s.
Although our pasts may have been different, it made all of us who we are and our craft where it is today. From being hit with a wooden spoon to having a French knife fly by your head. If you didn’t smoke there was never a break, and a double was 18 hours not 8. Personally, I wouldn’t change anything except maybe being more active with the American Culinary Federation.
As chefs, we are judged daily from our guests, our bosses and even the government with inspections. The future is bright just as the past is a fading light. Our craft is changing faster every day, the requirements are different, and some say they are tougher. But we make our choices just as back in the day, so why would each of us become a part of our future. [Not sure what this sentence is trying to say? Revise?] ACF meetings give us a chance to reflect on our past, and maybe laugh a little; but it also gives us a look at the future and what we choose to make it. If you are a person who sits back and thinks like the Bruce Springsteen song “Glory Days”, complaining doesn’t help. Or, you can become involved, share your “back in the day”, teach others, and better yet continue to learn and create the future.
Personally I believe there is a place for Escoffier, the wooden spoon (okay maybe not the spoon); and the need to learn nutrition and trends. We decide our fate by our choices and actions; so think about how you can change the future of our beloved craft. It doesn’t matter how they achieve their education today if we don’t share our education of yesterday.
I shall finish with one of the most famous quotes of my time, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” – John F. Kennedy
It works the same with ACF. Get involved. Change things for your future and the future of Chefs.

Have a great month, Chefs!
Chef John Bell, CEC®, ACE®
President, ACF Gulf to Lakes Chefs & Cooks Chapter, Inc.
Chefbell3@aol.com

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