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 Richard Mathis’ thoughts.
What a week.
From the moment I walked up the driveway of the beautiful CIA Greystone campus, I knew that I was in for quite a week…too late to be nervous at this point. The time is now to make things happen.
Everything that had been drilled into our heads by Chef Roland Henin had started to click. This challenge is not something you can study or practice for at the last minute… it takes years and years of hard work and dedication to the culinary craft. The last few months have been focused into a few specific areas of study which, on top of running our daily operations, proved to be quite a challenge to give proper attention toward.
I think the biggest challenges overall would have to be the timing of everything. There were four cooking practicals and seven written exams in a four-day period that saw us hop back and forth from Garde Manger preparation to Mediterranean written tests to a nutritional cooking practical, etc… At this point, if you’re not ready —- YOU’RE NOT READY.
Without the persistence and dedication of Delaware North’s corporate and regional chefs, the outcome could have been very different. Chef Henin and Chef Kevin Doherty have provided countless hours of support throughout the training process and to that I owe my gratitude. I have never worked for a company so dedicated to the professional development of its culinary staff.
As the other chefs have said, the instructors were fair, but they’re not handing out the points. They were fair and consistent in their judging and tireless in their evaluations…tasting seven chefs’ Garde Manger apps, salad hors d’oeuvres and platter pieces.
I certainly look at things differently now having been through this process. I am now much more excited about my career and look forward to many years to come with Delaware North.
Thank you for the opportunity.