Defining Professionalism

November 2009 · Chef John Reed, CEC, CCA

The concept of professionalism is very simple for me. It started when I first put on a chef jacket nearly 28 years ago. I understood then as much as I understand today that the jacket is not about me but about preserving and respecting of our predecessors and giving back to those who have yet to put the jacket on. I approach each culinary opportunity with the philosophy that I learned from a Japanese quote “One Meeting, One Opportunity”.  Every time I cook, speak, instruct or interact in my work and home I have to present myself and complete the task at hand better that one would expect and give back as much as I can to make the experience the beneficial not for me but for them first.

In cooking it is not just about using the right technique and being disciplined in the process. It encompasses how I respect the ingredients, maintain the cleanliness of my station, how speak and act to those around me as they work alongside, and how it will affect the person I preparing the dish for. This is the same for presentations, educational opportunities and career guidance. I put my preferences and position aside and understand what is the person really asking from me and do whatever I can to fulfill their needs. In some cases being truthful may not be what they want to hear but if you are honest, sincere and respectful you have done what is expected of a professional regardless of profession.

A professional does not use their credentials or resume as defining their professionalism, it is their actions and the positive impact it can have on the lives of others. The greatest award I can receive is seeing the success of others who choose to wear the chef’s jacket as I have chosen to do.

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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