Well guys! We made it! I don’t know how some of us, even myself
at times survived this last term, but we did it, so first of all
congratulations! It’s amazing what can happen in a span of three
years though. Before I started attending LeNotre, I was lost, and didn’t even think
it would be possible for me to even go to culinary school. However, I knew that
I had dreamed of becoming a chef and owning my own restaurant since I was
little. Instead of watching Sesame Street, I would watch Yan Can Cook and play
restaurant with my older sister almost on the daily, making menus and drawing
out restaurant plans.
Like many gathered here today, my dream is to become the best chef, but not only become the best chef but to become the best teacher to my friends, family, and those who will come to work under me. As we leave the comfort of our school, journey into uncharted lands, and make our way up in the culinary world, let’s not forget to remember our beginnings, and stay humble to those seeking knowledge of the culinary world. We are only as good as the crew that is behind us and supporting every step we take. Mistakes are prone to happen, but how we deal with those errors will classify the chef we are.
Not every recipe, tasting and plating will be perfect, but that’s okay. We will grow and learn from them. There are many things we cannot learn in a school setting and the only way to learn those ways to experience them first hand. To become a chef, we have to be a certain type of person to overcome the obstacles that present themselves, but not only to overcome them, but to completely conquer them. A great chef once said to me “A diamond cannot be made without pressure.” Lets not forget that saying when we are faced with pressure of a busy service, or busy days following up to a very important meeting or wedding. That same chef has taught me that it’s not perfect we throw it away. That when we place something on a plate not only are we presenting the food but who we are as chefs.
The beauty of what we have chosen to do for a career is that it is a universal language. No matter where you go, if you say you are a chef, people find new respect for you. It is one of the few things that people understand. Another beautiful thing about the culinary world is that you never truly stop learning. You might become a master of a cuisine, but there is always going to be one new technique, cut, or style that you will have to learn.
The path that we have decided to follow won’t always be the easiest, especially on holidays, anniversaries, or special events. But let’s not forget the burning passion that has driven us to pursue such a difficult career.
Many have spoken about how they will run their kitchen when they become an executive chef or what type of style of cooking they will do. But few will ever think about the legacy they will leave behind. How will someone remember you? By running a kitchen with and iron fist or being a compassionate person who truly cares about their culinary team and takes their time to know everyone individually. Leave a legacy that will make others take the same path you have and help ignite the torch that will be passed onto those who come after you. There will be one day as we fade out and the new generation of chefs fades in. Let create something that will drive them to perfect an already perfect recipe.
After high school, I started to think that going into Culinary Arts was an unrealistic goal as it’s not only a tough career, but one that isn’t always financially stable. But even though I was scared, I realized that life shouldn’t be about making money, but doing what you love. Because of this, I was sure that I wanted to go to culinary school and decided to take a chance. Which is what everyone in this room did.
There will be moments in this industry where you will want to give up. You’ll think you’re not good enough or that you’re in way over you head, but don’t listen to that. Know that even the greatest chefs started somewhere and had those very same thoughts. Instead of giving up, they pushed through it.
We’ll gain a lot of scars, have a lot of doubt, but most importantly, gain a lot of knowledge and fulfillment in our choice. It’s time for us to venture to places we have never been, to go further than we have ever gone, to dream bigger that we have ever dreamed, and never give up. We have made it this far. My hope for all of my fellow classmates is that you follow your passion and put your own stamp on it. We’re fighters, we’re warriors and will get through anything scars and all. Never give up, this is your dream, so live it.