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The Broadmoor taps master chef John Johnstone

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When it comes to The Broadmoor (1 Lake Ave., thebroadmoor.com), the only hotel to receive the AAA five-diamond rating for all 41 years of the rating scale’s existence, expectations are perpetually high. Recently, they hired John Johnstone, an American Culinary Federation-certified master chef, as the new vice president of food and beverage. The certification alone impresses. He’s one of only 65 who hold the title of master chef, a process that involves a 10-day examination (more recently reduced to an 8-day exam).

“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.”

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