Hiring a chef at your club

Executive Chef Joe Martin from the Country Club at Castle Pines in Colorado spent time with our ClubBuy GPO team and discussed the chefs who have influenced him and what's important to consider when hiring a chef and or cook at your club.

The three chefs that I think that are the most influential on me currently, there'll always be Thomas Keller, just for the basics of what he teaches you through his cookbooks is the importance of why he buys things, the importance of why he does what he does. Those little tidbits are always in there. And as a chef training younger cooks, it's such an easy tool to utilize to show them why things are done. Another chef that I'm really looking towards is Marco Pierre White who is just an absolutely amazing man full of desire. Like I just discussed, a desire to be the best. But more importantly is just his stance on making sure it's the best all the time, making sure that he's at the top. And then lastly is that Grant Achatz who came from Thomas Keller and runs a Alinea group in Chicago. I think that his presentation value, his work ethic and just the avant-garde mentality that they have with everything they do is so influential in understanding. And those three chefs, I don't really think that a lot of people coming to a country club would connect them with a club. And that is an important thing to me because utilizing what those chefs are doing, utilizing their teaching is going to only make the experience for the membership better. So it's looking to those chefs, looking to all the other chefs who have ever done anything great. What did they do? Why did they do it, and how can I incorporate it into the experience that my members are going to have here at the club?

I think the most important thing that you're looking for in someone who wants to come into the kitchen is that they have desire. And that I'm taking straight from Thomas Keller in a talk he did at I believe Harvard, where he discussed that people who constantly come to him talking about how passionate they are, passion ebb and flows. And I'm taking this directly from what he said and I completely believe it, but a desire to be a great chef, a desire to be involved in every aspect of the kitchen is what makes a person a great chef. I have a desire to see my kitchen clean, which is why I personally clean it. I have a desire to see the people succeed that are in my kitchen, that are in my group, which is why I'm extremely willing to help them. I would prefer to be on the line prepping and handling the product, not downstairs constantly out doing Excel sheets, and trying to find better ways to order, but showing your staff, showing the people under you that you have a desire to be there and a desire to be better is what is going to make those cooks become better cooks. So if you can see that in someone that you're hiring, that they want to show up, that they want to be there, that they show up early to learn, that's what I'm really looking for in someone I hire is that they have a desire to embrace the lifestyle, embrace everything it takes to be a great chef.

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