If you would like to learn more about Chef James Kent's bio, click here.
Some of the most important things I’ve learned from Daniel Humm is that if you really want something bad enough and work hard and focus on it every day you will make it happen. This is something that has really resonated with me and something that I try to instill in my cooks and also my kids.
There have been so many significant moments in my life, all these moments have become the foundation of what makes me the chef/person I am at this moment. You start with the small ones like learning how to cook a piece of meat properly, or learning how to filet a fish. These seem very basic but these seemingly simple skills allow you to be ready for the opportunities that come your way later on in your career. Walking into Eleven Madison Park as a young cook was definitely one of the important moments in my life, and all the experiences both personal and professional prepared me to excel within the walls of the restaurant. Having my first child was also an important milestone, I feel that you can’t really grow professionally if you are not growing personally. Having a child allowed me to really mature and made me a better leader and definitely a better chef.
Having the opportunity to compete in the Bocuse d’Or was definitely a defining point in my career. More than anything it introduced me to an incredible team of mentors, friends, and peers. The community that I’m now a part of has been really important in my growth and has allowed me to move forward in my career.
Number 1, you have to really understand your team, you need your finger on the pulse and know how to challenge the cooks around you and give support when needed.
Number 2, your cooks need to trust that you have the best interest of the team, they need to know that with you in the lead they will always succeed.
Number 3, young cooks really want to be pushed, they need it. You’re not doing service by making it easy, by coddling a cook. They need be challenged. These are the guys or girls that are going to become amazing chefs one day.