Perhaps the best way to explain
our goals at
and the Professional Chef's Association (and maybe more
importantly then our goals--our certainty of achieving them) is to
look at what's out there--both chef's clubs and web pages--and
see what, in my opinion, could be improved upon many of
I know what you are thinking--
could this one be any different?"
Let's start with chef's clubs
of one kind or another.
First, most chef's clubs are essentially
local, which can be fine for local events and causes, but which,
in our jet-setting international working world, limits their
scope. Next, because they rely on the "spare time" of members to
meet and work, they're limited by the successfulness of their
members' careers--let's face it, most busy, successful working
chefs don't have the time to devote to outside planning--they're
too busy, like we are, inside their own kitchens. This means
that sometimes the higher ideals and goals of the local
organization fail to materialize, and, in spite of the sincerity
of the chefs involved, they become more social clubs than active
Is that a bad thing? Not in
theory, but when one over-priced and under-attended "banquet"
leads to another, sometimes enthusiasm wanes, and people
naturally lose interest or give the group a lower priority.
These groups can be fun and they're great for local
networking...when everyone finds the time to get together. But
what do they do to help your career and improve your
professional expertise and help you keep in touch with
developments outside of your local area in the wide world of
Now then: what about web pages
dedicated (allegedly) to taking a professional look at the
culinary arts and the business of hospitality? Well, if you
examine them the way I have been doing for the past several
months you'll find a few things in common. First, they spend
more time and effort on having a "New York Art Director Chic"
graphic look than they do on content. Secondly, they pay lip
service to professionals but by and large are there for the
general public because they have no professional connection
beyond the site itself. In the end, they mostly wind up being
like a frothy, frilly, beautiful pastry that looks great but was
made without any butter, sugar, or eggs--only a group of
chemicals with flavorless anagrams for names. And as for
"currency" of information, a quick look at the "last updated" or
copyright dates will astound you--if the food you served was
this "fresh," the health department would shut you down!
SO what's the answer?
ProfessionalChef.com and the Professional Chefs Association, of
course! If I didn't think we could do better, I wouldn't be
writing this now.
First, about our web
pages--while we welcome the curious, the aspiring professional,
and the "food fan" to our public areas--what we've called "The
Front Of The House"--make no mistake: ours is an endeavor for,
by, and about Professional Chefs.
Frankly, the public areas are
out there to help YOU, our Professional Chef members, spread the
word about what you're doing--whether it’s a new menu, a special
recipe, a cookbook, a winemaker dinner or personal appearance,
or merely your regular restaurant's particulars. Everybody can
use good publicity, and of course we'll spread the word about
your work to the world at large via our "Front Of The House"
website--and help you find good help when you need it by
gathering information from outside sources and compiling it in a
place we expect the whole world to gather as we all spread the
word. So we're not out to exclude non-pro's…but we're here
primarily for YOU.
That focus is in our appearance
too. We hope our "look" appeals, but we make no claims for any
Art Institute lineage--our goal is to inform, to be genuinely
useful and not merely "cute" or "catchy." We're pro's, but pro's
are the people who work with self-assurance and practiced
skill--not flash-in-the-pan slickness. Uncluttered clarity, the
essence of a well-run professional kitchen, is reflected in our
style as well.
Now about our
www.ProfessionalChef.Com and our Professional Chef's
Association. First of all, those of you who like lots and lots
of meetings and committees taking you out of your kitchen and
away from your family are going to be a little
disappointed…you'll have to find some other way to take up all
that endless free time you have...NOT.
Part of being a professional in
the kitchen is avoiding waste--and that goes for wasted time
too. We're not going to drag you to meetings for meetings'
sake--and we don't have to! This website IS our perpetual
meeting, our online connection for the best kind of networking,
sharing ideas, and arriving at solutions to the problems that
plague us all. We'll do that lots of ways--through everything
from articles to message boards to live chat events to shared
recipes and tips to inside news and information to…well, there's
no limit, and I encourage you to write to me with ideas for
Next, we are very serious at
the Professional Chefs Association about maintaining real
standards of quality and education, and that's why we're
launching our own Chef's Certification program with an emphasis
on the business skills that go beyond great gastronomy. The
world's greatest culinary masterpiece is only as strong as the
solid business that creates, serves, and pays for it on time.
Coupling this top-notch training and continuing education with
the top "head-hunter" organizations in the world, we'll be a
constant resource for you to find the very best staff--or become
part of one. Best of all, in a world of inflated resumes and
"qualifications" that are often high on titles and low on
hands-on practicality and experience, you'll be certain to know
that if someone has achieved Certification from the Professional
Chef's Association, they are truly the real thing.
We will also help you make
connections to the top supplier and purveyor firms in the
world--with special considerations for members to be sure. We're
also seeking out the very finest in services that will enhance
both your personal and professional lives, including expanded
legal, financial, marketing and other business-building experts.
Once again, we'll obtain unique opportunities and deals that you
won't find anywhere else. In all of these benefits, you'll have
the advantage of knowing that your interests as Professional
Chefs will be considered first, because those doing the
considering share your professional point of view.
As a member, you'll even have
your own unique e-mail address that proclaims with its domain
name your life's work and achievement--when people send mail to
firstname.lastname@example.org, they'll know exactly what kind of pro
they're dealing with--and that mail domain will become a coveted
mark of quality in the industry worldwide. I don't know about
you, but somehow I think the address above has a little more
"class" and cache than "hotmail" or "yahoo."
So will we also have events in
the "analog" world offline as well as in this digital cyberspace
online? Yes. And they'll be superb events worth traveling for
and participating in. By streamlining the process online, we'll
be able to first find out what you really WANT in an event
(instead of either guessing or imposing any one person's ego on
the plans) and then deliver it and make it worth the effort to
attend. And when you do enjoy our "live" events, you'll do so
knowing that you're rubbing elbows with some of your true peers
from around the world, and not only the same local group you see
all the time anyway.
Of course, our local Chapters are
another source of face-to-face camaraderie and fellowship, and
they're forming every day. They will serve as the "building
blocks" for our larger regional and national events, and our
website will literally become the "web" that holds us all
together. Local is great, but sometimes, the best ideas come
from far away places and thanks to your connection to
ProfessionalChef.Com, you'll never be far away from the great
Professional Chefs of the world, and our information will be
updated as soon as it happens, or even before, thanks to our
dedication to make these pages as instant as the Internet
itself. Stay tuned, as they say, and we'll tell you more as time
In fact, there's a lot more to
the Professional Chef's Association and ProfessionalChef.Com
inside, so explore our online home and discover for yourself
what we're about, because in life, web pages, chef's clubs AND
kitchens, the proof truly is in the pudding or mousse if you
And one more thing--if you like
what you see, if you see the promise and the way we're going
about delivering on it, and if you realize that we really ARE
something different in both chef's clubs and web pages dedicated
to our common profession and craft, why not consider joining us
as members of Professional Chef and taking advantage of all
we've got to offer?
I can tell you this--I as the
founder, our expert staff, and all of our current members of the
Professional Chef's Association are dedicated to making sure
that you will never regret that you did. And its not only
because we're all such good or noble people that we feel this
way--you see, we need YOU to help us build a truly world wide
web of colleagues and friends with one common goal--to make our
working lives and our personal lives more rewarding by using the
power of the online world's communication technology and our own
common sense about what's right for professional chefs like YOU!
I look forward to your
membership, participation, and fellowship and to creating
together something--both an organization and a website--that
will make future observers ask a very different set of questions
than those I anticipated from you at this letter's beginning.
What I want to have people ask
someday when they see some OTHER chef's club or website is this:
"Another chef's club? Another
chef's website? WHY? Its already been DONE to perfection..."
..by the Professional Chef's
Association, here at our online home, ProfessionalChef.Com!
Chef Walter Neuhold,