I recently asked chefs across Delaware North Companies to e-mail me their favorite accomplishment from 2010. Here is what I received from Chef Ed Kowalski. I will continue to post these as I receive them from our chefs.
At first thought, selecting a “Best Accomplishment” for the past year would seem relatively simple, right?
To quote ESPN’s Lee Corso: “Not So fast, my friend.
The year 2010 saw numerous accomplishments in both my personal and professional lives, each one of which I am equally proud. To select ONE as my “Best” is akin to answering the question, “Which one of your children is your favorite?”
I have discovered many of my personal achievements this year have been directly influenced by my professional life as a chef. For example, planning and organizing a family reunion in June 2010 (including family members who have not seen each other in decades or, in some cases, NEVER), and managing to incorporate some of my late grandmother’s dishes into the menu is one of the most treasured times of my LIFE (not just 2010). My grandmother was the inspiration for my career choice and, although she was not with us in person, she was no doubt looking over my shoulder as I cooked.
Another proud moment of 2010 occurred while sitting at a baseball game with my 13-year-old son. During the course of our conversation, which had turned toward the upcoming school year, Noah announced that when he went to college he wanted to go to culinary school and become a chef like me (what father doesn’t tear up when his child says he/she wants to follow in his footsteps?) either that, or a crypto-zoologist, so that he could study Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster.
It is much easier to narrow down my professional choices. Although it is always a great accomplishment to serve our guests and client at the standards they have come to expect from us, my favorite accomplishments took place outside of Nationwide Arena. I had the opportunity to travel and assist with the openings of two new venues in 2010: Metro Bank Park in Harrisburg, PA, and the New Meadowlands Stadium. I have enjoyed working alongside my fellow chefs and culinary minds at each of the venues I have been fortunate enough to visit during my career with Delaware North. Still, there is something special to me about a new stadium opening. The hard work that goes into preparing for Opening Day and the anticipation, both of the staff and the fans, makes it an electric event.
It is a great thrill to watch as our guests enter a venue for the first time. I love the look of wonder in their eyes as they take in the gleaming facility and the excitement in their voices when they see a favorite item in the concessions. Assisting at any venue, new or old, is also an opportunity for me to take notes and incorporate new ideas once I get back home
So, what lies ahead in 2011? What am I most looking forward to? Aside from (hopefully) a deep playoff run by our Columbus Blue Jackets, I think I am most excited about working with a local school as part of the Chefs Move to Schools program instituted by First Lady Michelle Obama.
As a parent, I realize the importance of a good education for our children, and it is just as important for them to learn healthy eating habits as it is to learn algebra. As a chef, I believe it is one of our duties to teach….whether it is teaching one of my cooks to brunoise a bell pepper or teaching a middle-schooler (and their parents and school kitchen staff) the importance of making good choices when eating. Education is important for the welfare of our youth. Who knows, maybe some of those same students will be inspired to become chefs themselves?