This column is a continuing series by Chef Peter X. Kelly of Xaviars Restaurant Group which runs every Thursday.
YONKERS, N.Y. -- Few professional fields offer the immediate satisfaction of the hospitality industry. I feel very fortunate that at a very young age I knew what “I wanted to be when I grew up."
As a chef and restaurateur, I know instantly if a guest has had a good experience. Seeing the smile on the face of someone who has just enjoyed a wonderful dish at one of my restaurants is a thrill I never tire of. Watching a family celebrating a significant milestone at a table in the restaurant allows me a terrific feeling of knowing I helped create a memory for that family.
Having been working in the industry for many years now, I feel my most important role at this point is to inspire and teach the next generation of chefs and restaurant owners. Having the opportunity to work with youth and share my vision for what hospitality truly means is humbling. Sharing whatever knowledge I may have with young cooks and students offers me a way to relive all the many mistakes I made, while allowing me to steer the next generation away from those same mistakes.
We are living in a time when food and where it comes from, and how it is treated by the cooks responsible for its preparation consumes us. TV, movies, radio, social media and most publications give a great deal of attention to the Culinary Arts. The reason is that cooking and eating is so important to all of us. It’s how we nourish ourselves, how we spend time with family and friends and how we show care for loved ones.
My hope is that this next generation of chefs will embrace cooking and hospitality as not just a profession but as way to make this world just a little more hospitable and delicious.
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