“Do you want to help me prepare dinner for the Super Bowl Champions next weekend”, was the question presented to me by former Nestle Chef Walt Hawley. Chef Hawley was my instructor at the Colorado Institute of Art. Chef Hawley had left the Art Institute to work for Nestle. He was conducting two separate events for the University of Northern Colorado through MINOR’S. One event was an all staff training for the University of Northern Colorado culinary team, the other was a meal for the Denver Broncos. I replied without hesitation “Definitely!”
The first event was the all staff training. There were about 90 cooks who we would separate into groups and put them through a round robin style training which in the end would produce a lunch for all to enjoy. We trained the UNC staff in areas of salads, garnishes, grain cookery, vegetable cookery and dry and moist heat cooking methods, all using MINOR’S concentrates, sauces and bases. This was my first exposure to training a massive kitchen staff. We finished the training and joined the staff for lunch. During lunch the Assistant Director of Dining Services came over and thanked us all for working with the cooks. She also mentioned that there would soon be an opening for an Executive Chef. The University was about an hour away from Denver where I lived and at the time it did not strike me to pursue the opportunity. A few months later I returned with Chef Hawley to prepare a MINOR’S sponsored meal for the Denver Broncos during their training camp. We worked hard for two days producing a meal with MINOR’S products that would impress and satisfy the hearty appetites of the players. After dinner the Assistant Director approached me and said it was good to see me again. The position for Executive Chef of the University had just posted and she encouraged me to apply. Chef Hawley also encouraged me and it was because of that encouragement and exposure through MINOR’S that I was able to obtain the position that I am in today here at UNC.
MINOR’S has played an important role throughout my culinary career. At age 14 working at the local country club, my chef would tell me to prepare the prime ribs for the next day. Part of his preparation process was to rub all the ribs with MINOR’S Beef Base before placing them into the Alto Sham over night. As a young kitchen slave I remember using my hands to smear the ribs with that base and then loading them into the oven. We had the best Prime Rib around. We used MINOR’S bases for all our sauces and preparations at my first kitchen and I continue to use MINOR’S in my kitchens till this day. Part of my duties at UNC is to conduct product comparisons. Throughout the years we have had numerous companies come and ask us to test their bases against our current product (MINOR’S). We are always happy to oblige knowing that MINOR’S will come out on top in any comparison. We use our student customers, faculty and staff as taste testers and MINOR’S has never lost in blind testing.
There have been many special events and opportunities throughout the years that stick out in my mind as being once in a lifetime experiences. MINOR’S has been a part of more than just a few of those experiences. Besides opening the door to a fantastic and challenging career in University Foodservice, MINOR’S has also presented me with the opportunity to meet lifelong friends and colleagues outside the workplace. I was fortunate enough to take part in a competition sponsored by MINOR’S that allowed entry winners to present their recipes at the Aspen Food and Wine Classic. That event was over ten years ago and the chefs and I who took part in the event still stay in contact. Those relationships made possible by MINOR’S have become some of my strongest colleagues.
The culinary profession provides opportunities to satisfy, recognize and thank our customers every day. It is not often though that professionals are recognized themselves for all they do for their customers and overall what they give to the industry. In 2010 I was presented with the Western Region Chef Professionalism Award sponsored by MINOR’S. I know that there are so many thousands of chefs who are professionals out there and do their best for their team, for their customers and for the profession on a daily basis. It was truly an honor to be recognized and will always be a top honor in my career. I can’t thank MINOR’S enough for recognizing the professionalism that our industry upholds and those that uphold it.
At an ACF Convention in Las Vegas I was fortunate enough to join Mike Minor for dinner. He gave me an important lesson and compliment during dinner that I will never forget. He was telling an interesting and funny story to the group and after he had finished he leaned over, “You know what a sign of character is that lets people know they can trust you?” he said. “What’s that” I said. “Eye Contact, fewer people today follow the rules of conversation and maintain eye contact, you have character.” That comment stuck with me and still sticks with me whenever I am engaged in conversation.
This request for information asked to share why I am passionate about MINOR’S. In summary I can say that MINOR’S has been a part of my career for over 20 years, they opened the door to my position of 14 years, allowed me to make lifelong friends, colleagues and memories, offered me life lessons that stick with me on a daily basis and honored the culinary profession that I have chosen as my lifelong pursuit. Thank you MINOR’S.
That is my story, Thank you for the opportunity to share.