Do Chef Certifications Matter?

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Certification is useful and some credentials are quite impressive, given the amount of work that goes in to earning them, but certification is no substitute for actual skill and experience. There’s a dizzying array of acronyms for the various certifications chefs can attain: CEC, CCA, AAC, CMC—and the list goes on. But do these certifications prove anything? […]

A New Club Culinary Renaissance Is Here

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Club chefs are pushing the envelope even further, experimenting with new ideas, techniques and strategies. Over the past two decades, clubs’ food-and-beverage programs have evolved substantially. No one would deny that. We’ve abandoned mediocre, fast-casual fare and stepped up to provide upscale, modern and creative cuisine in a variety of formats and venues. We’re now […]


Finding Balance

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When we find that precarious equilibrium, we try to identify what worked so well, so we can replicate our success. Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to dine at Alinea in Chicago. It was equal parts exciting, overwhelming and, to be very honest, strange. My favorite course (out of 18 courses) was called “Paint.” […]


Five Reasons You Should Attend Chef to Chef

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I love January. Not only is it my birthday month, but there’s this sense of calm that washes across the industry this time of year. You’ve all been hustling for the past two months trying to do more with less, and now you’re finally able to stop, catch your breath, get some sleep, see your […]


Club Kitchens are Becoming the New Proving Grounds

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The more club chefs I meet, the more I find a common thread among you: you care deeply for your members, and you inspire one another to be better. Remember when Thomas Keller’s Per Se got that scathing review in The New York Times and lost two of its four stars? Everyone everywhere was shocked, […]


What Inspires You?

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People like to think writing is romantic. The writer sits at his or her desk, sipping coffee, gracefully clicking away on the keyboard as the next award-winning piece comes smoothly together. The truth is—for me, at least—writing is primarily the result of asking a lot of questions, doing a lot of research, scribbling on a […]