Chef’s Thoughts with The Country Club’s Joseph Leonardi, CMC

By | January 10th, 2018

As the Director of Culinary Operations for The Country Club (Brookline, Mass.), Joseph Leonardi, CMC, says he is motivated when he sees progress being made on a project that he or a group of individuals are working on.

As one of the American Culinary Federation’s newly minted Certified Master Chefs, Joseph Leonardi, Director of Culinary Operations at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., is an avid competitor who has amassed numerous awards at the regional, national and international levels.Joseph Leonardi, CMC

In 2009, Leonardi earned the title of U.S.A.’s Chef of the Year™ at “Cook. Craft. Create” (the ACF’s National Convention & Show). He managed the ACF’s Culinary Team USA 2016 and served as captain in 2012 of the ACF Culinary National Team USA, earning a silver medal in the hot-food kitchen and a silver medal in the cold-food presentation at the 23rd Internationale Kochkunst Ausstellung International Culinary Exhibition (commonly known as the “culinary Olympics”) in Erfurt, Germany.

  1. You’d be surprised to learn that I enjoy bee keeping and gardening.
  2. If I could trade places with one chef it would be Escoffier, so I can figure out what the hell he was thinking with some of his recipes.
  3. One of my most memorable meals was at the Cheeky Monkey in Boston with my wife, Lori.
  4. My go-to drink is coffee with one milk and one sugar.
  5. My last meal would be a big bowl of popcorn, lightly buttered and salted.
  6. My worst culinary creation was curdled cheese-and-ale soup.
  7. If I could change one thing about my club it would be to add more kitchen space.
  8. My favorite junk food is mint chocolate chip ice cream.
  9. If I wasn’t a chef, I’d love to be a warden for the game commission.
  10. I knew I wanted to be a chef when I worked in a bakery and was able to see the reaction on the customer’s face when purchasing the pastries I created.
  11. The most ridiculous member or guest request I’ve ever had was when a member who was adamant about being gluten-free insisted on eating the apple pie.
  12. I love being a club chef because it allows me the time to further develop my skills in my craft and to be able to mentor up-and-coming chefs. This continually pushes my team and I to be better each day.
  13. When I’m not in the kitchen, I’m outdoors, either hunting or fishing.
  14. My biggest mistake when I first started as a chef was having a poor management style.
  15. If I were stranded on a desert island, I’d want these five foods with me: butter, garlic, Arborio rice, shrimp, and popcorn.
  16. I cook instant mac-and-cheese at home, but I’d never cook it at the club.
  17. If I could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, it would be my father. I could use his advice.
  18. The most valuable piece of advice I’ve ever received was be confident in your abilities and stand up for what you believe in. Be true to your craft and cook from your heart.
  19. My favorite celebrity chef is Gordan Ramsay, because he says it like it is.
  20. The most important thing in my kitchen is that my team shows respect to each other and behaves professionally.
  21. I want to learn more about the people I have in my kitchen. Each one of them is unique and they all have such wonderful stories about their lives, where they grew up, and the foods they love. Each day I learn something new from one of them.
  22. My favorite ingredient is foie gras. Salt is the most overrated ingredient. (There are many other ways to bring out flavor.) I detest kidneys, and I can’t live without wild mushrooms.
  23. The rules of conduct in my kitchen are treat everyone equally, be respectful, respect the food, cook from your heart and learn from your mistakes.
  24. My most embarrassing moment in the kitchen was when I was demonstrating how to make a hollandaise sauce and I turned it into scrambled eggs. I guess I was a little long-winded that day.
  25. I would like to see more cross-training in clubs. In order for someone to be an Executive Chef, he or she needs to understand multiple departments, including accounting, the front of the house, banquets, grounds and golf events.
  26. I would like to see less 80-hour work weeks in clubs.
  27. My favorite book is Grand Livre de Cuisine: Alain Ducasse’s Culinary Encyclopedia. 29. My favorite movie/TV show is “Rocky.”
  28. My favorite kitchen hack is using saran wrap as a belt.

31: I am motivated when I see progress being made on a project that I or a group of individuals are working on.

  1. The hardest part of earning my CMC was letting go of what happened the day before, knowing I could have done better.
  2. I became a CMC because it has always been a personal goal of mine. I want to be a role model for my children and teach them that if you have a dream, it can become a reality, as long as you work hard toward achieving it. There are going to be obstacles in your path, but you can’t let anything get in your way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *