San Antonio CC’s Executive Chef, Nelson Millán, and his team have created a culinary culture where learning and growing is a way of life.
Mentoring the next generation of culinarians is not only a privilege but a responsibility bigger than each of us as individuals. These up-and-coming cooks are the legacy we leave behind. They are the seeds of a new generation. And there are many more to follow.
I remember the days when the old-school chefs used to hide in the corners of the kitchen to execute a specialty task or technique. They’d avoid interacting with the rest of the staff so the younger cooks could not find how it these techniques were done. Unfortunately, some of those techniques went to the graveyard with those chefs and never evolved or flourished in the hands of a very capable generation.
Our philosophy at San Antonio Country Club is simple: we will not withhold anything from our team. We truly make a conscious effort to share knowledge, skills and teach techniques to one another. In doing so, we evolve as individuals and as a unit every single day. We have become prouder and stronger because of this simple approach to our craft.
This philosophy extends to the externs from the Culinary Institute of American in San Antonio who work with us in three-month stints. Even though they are with us for a relatively short time, they still benefit from our interaction immensely. It is rewarding for all of us to watch our extern’s progress from the day they arrive until the day they return to classes.
It takes a village to teach an extern. So every member of our culinary team interacts with and works with our externs. This way, they leave SACC well equipped to work all parts of a professional kitchen.
We are blessed to have low turnover and team members who stay with us for the long haul. The shortest tenure in our kitchen right now is 3 years. Because of this, though, our performance and way of interacting with one another, has become second nature. But then we get a letter like the one below from a former extern and we realize the impact of our teaching philosophy and our culinary culture.
It is my hope that you enjoy this letter as much as we do.