Meet Chef Christian Velez | Arc Educates, Culinary Arts Lab Instructor

From: Shoutout Miami

We had the good fortune of connecting with Chef Christian Velez and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Chef Christian, what was your thought process changing your career path?

I have had been working in kitchens and bakeries for almost 18 years and have had amazing opportunities to work with very talented Chefs who had mentored me and helped me develop my skills. I had come to a chapter in my career where I felt it was time for me to share the gift that was given to me with others, by starting my career in education. I was already Volunteering at Arc Broward, a nonprofit that works with children and adults with disabilities. It’s mission really aligned with my values of community and giving back. When a position opened for a culinary instructor, I knew it was where I wanted to pursue my goal of educating others in the Culinary Arts.

The most important lesson my career taught me is patience with others and myself. I learned not to rush or set expectations on when and how I will develop skills. I used to have an issue with wanting to learn a new technique or management procedure and immediately getting it right or being an expert at it. I have come to learn that this comes with time and deep understanding of what I’m trying to create and what does not work.
I believe risk taking could be a very positive thing as long as you know what you’re risking. A lot of my career choices and even some of my baking successes have come for me taking a chance on trying something new.

One of the habits that helps me succeed sounds rather basic, but goes along way. It’s having a good morning routine and setting myself up for success. If I feel like I’m starting my day off rushing or not having all my things together, I usually find the rest of my day does not line up. Creating schedules and prepping the night before are key to my success.

I feel like one of the most important factors behind my success has been humility and an open mind to new ideas. Trying a different approach to trivial tasks, and finding better more efficient ways of doing them. This has been really helpful when I am working with my students. I learn from them all the time.

Work life balance has changed a lot throughout my career working in hotels and restaurants. The schedule was demanding working a lot of hours. Now as a culinary instructor, I find myself having a little more work life balance. It’s always important to me to make sure that I have time for myself to ensure my physical and mental health

I pursued such a creative career in baking and pastry because I felt I had a natural gift that I wanted to nurture. Baking and pastry is an outlet for me to tap into my artistic side that is very fulfilling and I find it to be a need in my career.

I find my inspiration a lot from color I enjoy working monochromatically. It finds its way into my plated desserts and decorative showpieces. I enjoyed the idea of a dessert that has the hues and tones of all one color.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?

I like to believe that when someone sees my dessert that can immediately identify that it is a Chef Christian creation. Working monocromatically is a way that i can filter out all the ideas that i have in my head and corral all of them into a manageable form. Finding my aesthetic and style developed over years of working in the industry and has been a long process off trial and error. I’ve over come challenges in my career by not comparing myself to others and sticking to what makes me happy and creating thing that I enjoy. This is a lesson I also try to pass along to my students.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.

I would definitely have to take them to a Chef Experience Dinner at Arc Culinary. We have so many themes and fun events like ladies night, Latin street food or under the sea themed dinners. Chef Joel is our Executive Chef and he puts on a great show when you get a seat at our Chef’s table.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?

Throughout my journey at Arc Broward as an educator, my mentor, Artavia Mustgrove has been there to guide and encourage me. Ms. Mustgrove is the Material Handler Instructor at Arc Broward and has a wealth of knowledge about working with people with disabilities. She is inspiring in her manner of teaching, and love of education.

View Original Article