September 2023 ACI Newsletter: From the Executive Chef

September 2023 ACI Newsletter: From the Executive Chef

What’s up, ACI family? I wanted to talk a little bit today about the importance of liking your job. I know this one is tough because sometimes we need to take the job that’s available, even if it’s not our dream job, because, at the end of the day, we have bills, obligations, and responsibilities.

But, whenever possible, I think it’s so important to not only like the work we do but to like the place where we do it. I have been fortunate enough to be working at ACI for 17 years now. What started as a “working experiment” for me grew into a job where I’ve spent a vast amount of my professional career. Recently, I had to take a little time away from my job to get some surgery. Thankfully, Chef Wilson was supportive of this, so not only was I granted the time off, but I also wasn’t replaced while I was recovering!

During my weeks away from ACI, I focused on recovery and physical therapy and being the best patient I could possibly be. I tried to embrace the process of recovery, and I used the time off as a little mid-life reset if you will. I worked on myself a little, tried to explore my thought process on some things, took a lot of deep breaths, and thought about what I wanted the second half (hopefully) of my life to look like.

But, when my time off came to an end, it was inevitably time to return to work and the real world. It’s funny how even after working somewhere for 17 years, you step away for 8 weeks, and your whole routine falls to pieces. It almost felt like I was starting a new job! But as I parked my car, put on my chef jacket, and walked into the building, there was an overwhelming sense of coming home. Of course, if I had no adult responsibilities and an infinite supply of money, I would choose to stay in my real home and spend the rest of my career cooking for my 3 favorite customers (my wife and kids).

But if there was any job in the world that I had to return to, I’m glad it’s this one. I love this place, and I love teaching people how to cook. I will always treasure the countless relationships I’ve developed with all the interesting people that come to ACI, both students and instructors. This place is a second home to me, and I hope in your career, you find a place that feels that way to you, too. If you’re reading this, thank you for being a part of it.