An Apprentice on the Move: Kendall Ross

_EST1022Kendall Ross, chef de partie, does not stop moving, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. Ross is part of a traveling culinary team on tour with Rod Stewart and Cyndi Lauper, cooking three meals out of a mobile kitchen for a crew of about 100 people in a different location daily.

“We have a large transformer to power everything, two ovens, six induction burners, one flat top, two circulators, one cryovac machine, a Robot Coupe, KitchenAid mixer, pots and pans and smallwares that we pack on a trailer every night,” says Ross. He works directly with two other chefs, with complete creative control over the menu. “It’s a great environment,” he adds.

At 24 years old, an ACF national member, Ross is a graduate of the ACFEF apprenticeship program at The Broadmoor Hotel & Resort, Colorado Springs, Colorado, and staged in such acclaimed establishments as Daniel, The Nomad and The Gasparilla Inn & Club, to name a few.

His outlook is humble and optimistic: “It’s still early in my career. I’m still at the point where I’m learning the cuisine of the masters.” In his downtime, he connects with chefs in cities that he met in years’ past. Indeed, maintaining these connections, along with a solid work ethic, opened the door to this position.

In the future, he plans to open an upscale-casual restaurant in Charlotte, North Carolina, his hometown. For now, he is building on his experiences to find his voice and develop his own cuisine.

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Follow along to see what Kendall’s life is like since graduating from the ACFEF apprenticeship program at the Broadmoor Hotel & Resort.

 

 

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The Most Important Things I Learned as a Chef Took Place in the Dishpit

By Paul Sorgule, MS, AAC

The position of chef is enormously challenging; it requires the full gamut of skills as an accomplished cook, a manager of the kitchen environment, a savvy financial wizard and the leadership qualities of a winning football coach. What every successful chef learns is that the complexity of this job is only manageable with the right team in place–a team of dedicated technicians who take their position seriously and perform with minimal intervention. To this end, a chef can only realize success in his or her position if the lessons learned along a career path are appreciated and practiced.Dishes

The title of this article may seem to focus on those essential employees who tirelessly address one of the most thankless jobs in the kitchen, but in reality the intent is to encourage every chef to take the time to reflect on all of the lessons learned throughout his or her career. When this is held close to the heart throughout a chef’s time in the kitchen, only then will he or she achieve a high level of success.

Let’s look at some of those lessons addressed along the way:

Great Food Requires a Clean Canvas

Cooks and chefs invest time, talent and personal pride in building food that tastes as wonderful as it looks. If the plate is the canvas and it’s not pristine, then all else is lost on the customer. Your dishwasher plays a critical role in presenting your cuisine.dsc_0733_31512100093_o2

Respect Comes Through Example

If a chef strives to earn the respect of his or her staff, then it is essential that he or she set an example of appreciation for each and every player. Respect your dishwasher.

Everything in a Kitchen has a Place

Just as mise en place is critical to a line cook’s success during service and a server’s efficiency in the dining room, so too is mise en place important to the dishwasher.  Knowing exactly where specific plates, flatware, glassware and pots and pans must be stored and ensuring they are in place when a cook or server needs them will be important for a smooth service. Train your dishwashers about mise en place and appreciate their attention to detail.

A Simple ‘Thank You’ Goes a Long Way Toward Leadership

Motivation is a concept that is in the hands of the beholder, yet the small things that leaders do to set the stage for personal motivation are ultimately important. Taking a minute at the end of a shift to shake a dishwasher’s hand or pat them on the back with a very sincerely thank you will go a long way toward building respect. Encourage your line cooks to do the same.

Cost Control Requires Many Eyes

Kitchens run on very tight margins–portions that are too large, the loss of china, glassware, and flatware due to carelessness, and wasteful use of cleaning chemicals can be the straw that breaks the restaurant’s back. Your dishwasher has the eyes to monitor these things and keep the chef informed. Appreciate the value of your dishwasher as a profit maker.

The Kitchen is Only as Strong as its Weakest Link

Often dismissed as interchangeable parts, the dish crew is considered by far too many cooks and chefs as the least significant members of a kitchen team. This is far from accurate. If you don’t agree, just watch what happens in a kitchen when the dishwasher doesn’t show up.

Treat your Dishwasher Well–Without the Dishwasher, the Kitchen will come to its Knees

The fact remains that every cook cringes at the thought of having to wash dishes when the dish crew fails to arrive. Cooks know how physically hard, thankless and mentally challenging the job is. When the dish crew is short staffed or not available, the entire system is pushed toward potential failure. Appreciate your dish crew.

No One Person is More Important than the Other

In the big scheme of things, once a cook or chef experiences the task of doing the job of someone else, then the importance of that role becomes vivid. Every position is _2T_3549important.

Your Dishwasher Might be your Next Breakfast Cook

How many excellent breakfast cooks or prep cooks had their start as a dishwasher?  Look into a dishwasher’s eyes–do you see the desire to learn? Is that spark of passion present that can be molded into a great cook? Don’t look at a person for what they do, look at them for what they might become.

Your Dishwasher Might be a Chef Someday

Ask any chef about their first job in a kitchen. My money is on the same response: “dishwasher.” In fact, I would assume that any chef worth a grain of salt that did not start in the dishpit is at a real disadvantage. I rest my case.

Treat Everyone the Same, Yet Everyone Differently

Everyone in the kitchen must be treated fairly–a restaurants’ employee handbook will likely state this in so many words. At the same time, every employee comes to work with a different set of baggage, challenges, interests and needs. That dishwasher who is consistently late for work may not be able to afford transportation based on the meager wages paid. Empathy is one approach, but helping that person arrange for dependable transportation is a step toward true leadership. Be empathetic and help find solutions–that’s what leaders do.

Think about it: One of your Lowest Paid Employees is Responsible for the Most Expensive Piece of Equipment and One of the Most Expensive Inventories in your Operation

Maybe you have never thought of the dishwasher in this regard, but that dish machine may tip the scales at $20,000 or more and the inventory of china, Riedel glassware and sterling flatware could cost significantly more. Know how crucial that person is to your restaurant’s financial success and invest in his or her training.

Dishwashers are Team Members, too

When you celebrate a great service, include your dishwashers. They had an important role to play that is just as important as your line cooks. Bring your dishwasher into the fold.ACF Atlanta Sunday Misc Pictures (267)

If you don’t have the time to treat your dishwasher with respect, when will you find the time to hire their replacement?

Every chef I know complains about the revolving door with dish staff. I have worked as a chef in operations where a dishwasher help wanted ad is always posted–if you don’t need them today, you will need them tomorrow. Treat your dishwashers with respect, train them, acknowledge their work and demonstrate their importance to the team and maybe, just maybe, you won’t need to be constantly on the lookout for new staff.

15 Minutes a Day Spent Helping your Dishwasher may be the Most Important Investment you Make

Finally, one of the best things that a chef can do, each and every day, is to take off that chef coat, put on a bib apron and jump behind that dish machine or pot sink and give your dish crew a hand. When the entire kitchen sees that no job is beneath the chef, then they will understand that you walk the talk: “Everything is everyone’s job in the kitchen.”

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Paul Sorgule has been a chef and educator for more than four decades holding positions as hotel executive chef, food and beverage director, faculty member, dean of culinary arts and provost at a prominent culinary college. Sorgule is president of Harvest America Ventures, a restaurant and culinary school consulting and training company he formed in 2012. He blogs about culinary issues and finding that work/life balance at www.harvestamericaventures.com.

PLAN BETTER – TRAIN HARDER

 

Toques Off to ACF Northeast Region Culinary Salon Competition Winners

Chefs and students from across the Northeast gathered at the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Northeast Regional Culinary Salon to battle it out for ACF’s annual regional awards Feb. 24-25 at The Culinary Institute of New York Monroe College, New Rochelle, New York. Four competitions took place at the salon to determine who would receive ACF’s Northeast Region titles for Chef of the Year, Pastry Chef of the Year, Student Chef of the Year and Student Team Regional Championship.

The following ACF Northeast Region competition award winners will compete for their respective national titles and a cash prizes at Cook. Craft. Create. ACF National Convention & Show, Orlando, July 9-13.

Northeast Region Chef of the Year – Chef Michael Pillarella, CEC

Chef Michael Pillarella, CEC, Executive Chef, Wianno Club, Osterville, Massachusetts, earned a gold medal and the highest overall score. He is a member of ACF Rhode Island Chapter.

Pillarella’s  winning dish featured pistachio crusted lamb loin, braised veal cheek croquette, parsnip purée, rosemary and mushroom bread pudding, roasted carrots, eggplant and golden raisin relish, and natural lamb jus lié.

Sponsored by Plugra European Style Butter

Chef Maria Wu, Pastry Cook, The Ritz-Carlton New York, Westchester, White Plains, New York, earned a silver medal and the highest overall score.

Wu’s winning dessert featured spiced créme fraîche ice cream, brown butter cake, citrus white chocolate flexi ganache, passion orange gel, kaffir crumble, mango curd, coconut snow, coconut tuile, mango salad and micro cilantro.

Northeast Region Student Chef of the Year – Yudelka Torres

Yudelka Torres, Student, Culinary Institute of New York at Monroe College, New Rochelle, New York, earned a silver medal and the highest overall score. She is a member of the ACF Long Island Chapter.

Torres’ winning dish featured a tasting of farmed Idaho Brook Trout comprising seared filet, braised baby fennel, olive oil poached tomatoes, tourné potato and “Caldeirada” sauce; trout in puff pastry with spinach and mushrooms with lemon emulsion; and tourt and bacon mousseline-stuffed shrimp, parmesan tuile and shrimp-flavored arborio purée.

Northeast Region Student Team Championship – State University of New York at Delhi

Sponsored by Vitamix

State University of New York at Delhi, Delhi, New York, members of ACF Chefs and Cooks of the Catskill Mountains, earned a silver medal and the highest overall score.

Winning Menu:

  • Filets de Sole Lady Egmont lightly poached with mushroom and asparagus cream sauce.
  • Salad of beets, pickled grapes, fennel and orange, with goat cheese mousse and beet gelee.
  • Chicken trio with fall vegetables and apple cider calvados sauce.
  • Pistachio and chocolate terrine passion fruit bar, raspberry sorbet, tropical fruit and mint.

Thank you to all the competitors who competed! For more pictures, visit the ACF Flickr page, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Meet the Northeast Region Culinary Salon Competitors

Toques off to the ACF’s Northeast Regional Culinary Salon competitors! This year’s competition takes place Feb. 24-25 at The Culinary Institute of New York at Monroe College, New Rochelle, New York, ahead of the ChefConnect: NYC Northeast/Southeast Regional Conference, Feb. 26-28, at the New York Hilton Midtown. Keynote speakers include Chef Costa Magoulas, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC; Chef and Restaurateur Malcolm Mitchell; and Chef Kevin Sbraga.

REGISTER FOR CHEFCONNECT: NYC

The competitors are facing off for a chance to represent their region in the national competition held at Cook. Craft. Create. National Convention & Show, Orlando, July 9-13. The regional winners receive round-trip airfare to Convention, a five-night stay at the Convention hotel and full Convention registration.

ACF regional culinary salon competitions are part of ACF’s Signature Series, which provides educational and networking opportunities through ChefConnect events and competitions for culinary industry professionals and students. ACF believes that competitions play a vital role in the development of the culinary craft by testing chefs’ and students’ knowledge and skills in a competitive format. To learn more about ACF competitions, eligibility and rules, visit www.acfchefs.org/competitions.

Root for your favorite chefs and keep up with the action by following ACF on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

Northeast Region Chef of the Year Competitors

Competition begins Feb. 25 at 8:30 a.m.
The assigned protein is a bone-in loin of lamb plus one other cut of lamb of the competitor’s choice. Competitors have 15 minutes to set up, 60 minutes to fabricate and cook, 10 minutes to plate and 15 minutes to clean up.

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Chef Philip DeMailo, CEC, CCA
Executive Chef, Pier Sixty
New York City
ACF Long Island Chapter


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Chef Kenneth Kehn, CEC
Executive Chef, Angelo’s 677 Prime
Albany, New York
ACF Capital District-Central New York


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Chef Michael Pillarella, CEC
Executive Chef, Wianno Club
Osterville, Massachusetts
ACF Rhode Island Chapter


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Chef Nathan Snyder, CEC
Executive Chef, Maumee Bay Lodge & Conference Center
Oregon, Ohio
ACF Columbus Chapter

Northeast Region Pastry Chef of the Year Competitors

Sponsored by Plugrá European Style Butter
Competition begins Feb. 25 at 6:30 a.m.

Competitors must use passion fruit, mango and crème fraiche in their hot/warm dessert.  A cake component such as financier, pound cake, genoise, etc., must also be included and utilize unsalted Plugrá butter. Competitors have 15 minutes tor set-up, 60 minutes to cook, 10 minutes to plate and 15 minutes to clean up.

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Chef Michael Santos, CEPC
Pastry Instructor, Stratford University
Baltimore
ACF Greater Baltimore Chapter, Inc.


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Chef Maria Wu
Pastry Cook, The Ritz-Carlton New York, Westchester
White Plains, New York
ACF Property Membership

Northeast Region Student Chef of the Year Competitors

Competition begins Feb. 25 at 7:10 a.m.
The assigned protein is trout. Competitors are to prepare two portions of each dish. Competitors have 15 minutes to set up, 60 minutes to fabricate and cook, 10 minutes to plate and 15 minutes to clean up.

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Chef Thomas Downey
Student, State University of New York at Delhi
Delhi, New York
ACF Chefs and Cooks of the Catskill Mountains


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Chef Yudelka Torres
Student, The Culinary Institute of New York at Monroe College
New Rochelle, New York
ACF Long Island Chapter

Northeast Student Team of the Year Competitors

Sponsored by Vitamix Commercial
The skills phase competition begins Feb. 24 at 4:45 p.m. (EST) and the cooking competition begins Feb. 25 at 10:00 a.m.
(EST).
Student teams participate in a two-part competition. In the skills phase, team members will compete in a relay-style format with 80 minutes to complete all four skills. Teams will have a fifteen-minute setup window and a 10-minute clean-up window. In the cooking phase, the assigned protein is Filets de Sole Lady Egmont. Teams have 20 minutes to set-up, 75 minutes to cook and prepare, 15 minutes for window service and 20 minutes to clean-up.

Columbus Culinary Institute, Columbus, Ohio
ACF Columbus Chapter

Ohio.JPGPictured: Chef Thomas P. Hunt, CEC, AAC, Rory Ware, Shannon McGrath, Nadia Cox, Andrea Davies, Eric VanMeter and Chef Michele Willoughby, CEPC


Pierpont Community and Technical College, Fairmont, West Virginia
ACF West Virginia Chapter
west-virginia

Pictured: Jay Mahoney, Stephanie Hawkins, Shelby Helmick, Kayleb Band, Luke Lavenski, Jerica Yingling and Assistant Coach Allison McCue


State University of New York at Delhi, Delhi, New York
ACF Chefs and Cooks of the Catskill Mountains

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Pictured (top row): Tom Downey, Peter Blayne, Matthew Julius, Alex Johnson, Carly Yezzo, Jerusaline Johnson, (bottom row:) Daniel Hess, Arthur Grady and Jessica Shultis.


The ChefConnect: NYC Northeast/Southeast Regional Conference takes place Feb. 26-28 at the New York Hilton Midtown. There’s still time to register for hands-on workshops and seminars to grow your professional development, learn new skills and network with other chefs in the industry just like you!

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Toques Off to ACF Central and Western Region Competition Winners

Chefs and students from across the Western and Central regions gathered at the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Regional Culinary Salon to battle it out for ACF’s annual regional awards Feb. 3-5 at Joliet Junior College, Joliet, Illinois. Four competitions took place at the salon to determine who would receive ACF’s regional titles for Chef of the Year, Pastry Chef of the Year, Student Chef of the Year and Student Team Regional Championship.

The following ACF Central and Western Region competition award winners will compete for their respective national titles and a cash prizes at Cook. Craft. Create. ACF National Convention & Show, Orlando, July 9-13.

Central Region Chef of the Year

Christopher Johnson, Owner/Executive Chef, The Meeting House, Rochester, Michigan, earned a silver medal and the highest overall score. He is a member of ACF Michigan Chefs de Cuisine Association.

Johnson’s winning dish featured pan roasted lamb loin, pistachio and herb lamb sausage, prosciutto, hedgehog mushrooms, roasted onion and green beans.

 

Angus McIntosh, Jr., CEC, Chef de Partie, The French Laundry, Yountville, California, earned a silver medal and the highest overall score. He is a member of ACF Akron-Canton Area Cooks & Chefs Association.

McIntosh’s winning dish featured herb roasted Elysian Fields Farm lamb, lamb liver mousse, creamed garden scallion, Nantes carrots, toasted walnut puree and natural jus.

Central Region Pastry Chef of the Year sponsored by Plugra European Style Butter

Julia Julian, CEPC, Culinary and Baking/Pastry Instructor, Fox Valley Technical College, earned a gold medal and the highest overall score. She is a member of the ACF Fox Valley Chapter.

Julian’s winning dessert featured a mango tart with toasted passion fruit meringue, coconut tuile, coconut creme fraiche ice cream, tropical fruit salad, passion fruit papaya, fluid gel and mango caramel.

Western Region Pastry Chef of the Year sponsored by Plugra European Style Butter

Dan Boman, CEPC, chef instructor, The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Phoenix, earned a silver medal. He is a member of the ACF Chefs Association of Arizona, Inc.

Boman’s winning dessert featured chocolate almond cake, creme fraiche ice cream, mango gelee, mango saffron sauce, passion curd, baked streusel and orange white chocolate ganache.

Gabrielle Edrosa, saute cook, Lake Quivira Country Club, Lake Quivira, Kansas, earned a gold medal and the highest overall score. She is a member of the ACF Greater Kansas City Chefs Association.

Edrosa’s winning dish featured quennelle of trout with truffle, applewood smoked trout, and trout roasted with a duxelle crust.

Madeline Black, student, Utah Valley University Culinary Arts Institute, Orem, Utah,  earned a gold medal and the highest overall score. She is a member of the ACF Beehive Chefs Chapter Inc.

Black’s winning dish featured ruby red Utah rainbow trout, trout and shrimp pan fried cake, smoked trout belly, orange scented carrots and parsnip sauté, tomato-fennel compote and vegetable medley.

Missouri-ACF Chefs de Cuisine Association of St. Louis Inc earned a gold medal and the highest overall score.

Winning Menu:

  • Sole Lady Egmont: slow poached Dover sole, white wine-fumet butter sauce, button mushrooms, asparagus tips and fleuron
  •  Beet and Goat Cheese Salad: baby field greens, golden raisin and apple relish, apple puree’, Marcona almond granola, wonder bread cracker and Champagne vinaigrette
  •  Thyme and Rosemary Roast Amish Chicken Breast: boudin blanc,  Brussels sprout puree, buttered vegetables and red wine poultry jus
  • Tanariva Chocolate Mousse: hazelnut cake, feuilletine crisp, citrus meringue, passion fruit gelee, orange compote and vanilla gelato

Hawaii-Kapi’olani Community College earned a gold medal and the highest overall score.

Winning Menu:

  • Filet de Sole Lady Egmont
  • Lobster salad with lobster “roll,” sweet corn pudding, avocado, apple, cucumber, tomato jam and yuzu dressing
  • Roasted chicken breast with smoked bacon and chicken mousse, butternut and bacon takoyaki, braised daikon, truffle celery root puree and red wine szechuan pepper sauce
  • Chocolate textures with tropical fruit accents, dark chocolate and coffee ganache, white chocolate vanilla mousse, chocolate powder, sea salt brownie, chocolate streusel, milk chocolate air cremeux, ginger syrup macarated Brunoise banana and lilikoi sherbet

Thank you to all the competitors who competed! For more pictures, visit the ACF Flickr page, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.