United Team

November 2017 · Chef John Reed, CEC, CCA

I made the commitment to witness the CMC® (Certified Master Chef) exam in person before attempting to take it. First and foremost, congratulations to Joseph Leonardi, CMC®, Shawn Loving, CMC®, and Gerald Ford, CMC® for the amazing accomplishment. The dedication it takes to mentally and physically prepare, and having the amassed skills to cook at the highest level over eight days with at least 30 other CMCs® watching your every move is daunting!

I look at the things and knowledge that I have collected over these many years. As this exam is structured, you must be able to take a collective skill set and bring it all together for a two-week stretch of your career. To do so, you must focus on the things that matter at that moment and dig deep into muscle memories, forgotten tastes, or techniques you may have only seen a few times. You must cook and lead with confidence, like a song you can sing in your head because you know all the words by heart. Those who do have the best chance of success. You don’t need to be perfect, but you must be at a high level of consistency over a wide range of disciplines.

The one big take-away from watching the test was not how they cooked or performed in the kitchen-that should be expected at that level-but seeing and interacting with a group of people and the amazing support system they had around them. I bet the first thing these chefs did was not to go out and celebrate with each other but to hug their apprentices and call their wives, parents or kids! To me, that is where your commitment to excellence starts. There are also the employers, sous chefs, other chefs and ex-instructors, all with skin in the game, hoping that their candidate is successful. They watch like parents at their kid’s soccer game or ballet recital, living on the edge of that emotional cliff of success or failure.

The effort to cook both professionally and at home with your family and friends is not a solo sport or best suited for an individual who is isolated in their own little bubble. If you ask any Olympian or high achiever, they always thank others, not themselves. Having the time to prepare a dinner can be done solo, but it can be tiring. Think of the dishes, the cleaning, the table, the beverages and even the music you are listening to. Someone must do it, and it needs to be on par with the quality of the food you are putting on the plates. If you had to do it alone, this is time you take away from the food. That is why we all need to be more open to a team mentality and realize that success is not an individual effort but a team sport.

I am asked by my youngest son why I don’t open a restaurant and when I am taking the test. At this juncture in my life, I give him a two-word answer: Steven and Robert! Yes, my children are the current leaders of our team, and I am in the support role. I want them to achieve their goals, and I want them to be successful. I am ok driving to practices and making sure their tuition is paid, as this is the journey of life. When they are on-board with me not being around as much in order to prepare to take these steps in achieving personal goals. This is when I will reach out to my team and ask for the help I need. I believe that these achievements are for a deeper personal journey, and that journey can be beneficial to more people than just myself.

So, to my readers, I will be asking for your support-by the way, this isn’t cheap!


Old Nation M-43

Old Nation M-43
I found this little gem of a New England-style IPA in Michigan.

Korean Cooking

K Food

K Food
For that inner circle. Here is a great book on Korean cooking, and you might find some insight into Galbijjim!

Download November Newsletter

John Reed
Chef John Reed, CEC, CCA
John Reed is a professional chef with over 30 years experience. John has extensive knowledge of culinary techniques, ethnic cuisines, food history and more!

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