Focus, Focus, Focus.

I have asked the chefs who recently completed their Pro Chef Level II Certification exams to share their thoughts and memories on the long process. Below are Chef Jessica Barnes’ thoughts.

I would have to say the hardest part of the Pro-Chef II Certification would be is trying to maintain focus. Organization and planning are obviously important, and they can be done ahead of time. I felt prepared walking into Greystone Monday morning. All of my prep sheets were done, Mise En Place lists organized, and my platter presentations done. Cooking food is the easy part. I thought – go in there and perform. I thought don’t get distracted. I thought. And there is the issue – distracted. My advice? Turn off your phone, don’t read your emails and don’t talk to anyone about anything but the test. The time for conversations and returning to the real world is Friday. Between Monday and Thursday, you don’t exist outside of those walls.

The rest of it was an educational, albeit stressful situation. The instructors were extremely knowledgeable and patient. The reviews at the end of each test were thought out, thorough and fair. The facility was incredible and easy to negotiate. I feel like a better cook, and a better person for doing it. The challenge was intense, but worth it.

Having worked for Delaware North Companies for the past three years, I find myself constantly impressed with the dedication to its culinary staff. I know a lot of this has to do with the persistence of Chef Roland and the generosity of Mr. Jerry Jacobs Jr., and to both of them I extend my thanks. To the gentlemen that I took the test with, thank you for your advice and council and I look forward to working with you all in the future.

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