- File photo
“It’s truly a test of how a master chef reacts under pressure,” he says. “It’s a marathon. It’s ten 19-, 20-hour days, and only 50 percent of your marks come out of the first nine days.” If something goes wrong in the kitchen — if an oven goes out, for instance — the master chef candidate has to improvise.
“It’s not just how you react when things are going perfectly,” he says. “It’s what happens when things are not going perfectly and how do you dig your way out of that. How you still succeed.” Johnstone notes that whatever the master chef title connotes, it’s not an endpoint so much as a reminder of how much the chef still has to learn.
But it’s also a call to educate younger chefs and would-be chefs. In that, Johnstone is already taking a hands-on approach. Food and beverage office manager Krista Heinicke recounts Johnstone taking time to re-teach a swathe of the resort’s culinary staff how to poach an egg perfectly.
“We weren’t doing them as well as we could,” he explains. “We had a process that we used that I thought could be better. In my past, I’ve perfected that skill within exactly that element, so I wanted to teach it to the rest of the staff so that they could perfect it. At the end of the day, my goal is that our guests get a perfect experience.”