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When does a Chef Know when He has Become the Person He wanted to be?
People know from the time they are very young what they want to do with their lives. Chef Alan Wilkinson reveals how he came to be a fine-dining chef.
When Chef Alan Wilkinson almost got fired from my first cooking job at a Waffle House, he was in college and was no longer able to afford his classes. I was on the edge of getting fired because I couldn't get a grasp of cooking, but then my boss had an honest conversation with me about this kind of job and how it's not for everybody.
Chef Alan explains, "That's when I knew I wanted to become a chef because I always loved challenges and hated to fail." This conversation was enough motivation for him to go from a griddle cook at Waffle House to be an Executive Chef at Islamorada's premiere foodie destination, Morada Bay and Pierre's, in just 10 years.
"I aspired to become a culinary teacher at my old High School, where I graduated" in Islamorada, Florida. Chef Wilkinson describes, "To reach this kind of edified post, my goal would be to cultivate all the information I could find about the profession of hospitality and business management, all the while highlighting why the Florida Keys is so unique gastronomically."
Who inspires you most?
My mother inspired me to become a chef. Learning how to make omelets on the weekend and meatloaf after school was always invigorating for me. A lot of chefs and cooks I previously worked with also energized me to keep up with what is new in our profession.
"The Florida Keys super-chef Norman Van Aken and Thomas Keller from the French Laundry in California had a significant impact on my goals," says Chef Alan.
Working at the Fontainebleau on Miami Beach at Strip Steak with chef Michael Mina, "I feel as though my life's work is just beginning to accelerate,"
At this moment:
Chef Alan has always counted his indoctrination under fire to be his greatest tutor. He now leads his own hand-picked crew that serves upwards of 150 tropically emboldened fine dining meals a day.