5@5 - Life lessons learned through cooking
June 16th, 2011
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

A mentor by definition is a trusted counselor. What's not inherently included in that definition is the form a mentor comes in.

As it were, a mentor can exist in many forms - from father to carpenter to chef.

Chef Jonathan Benno has worked in the kitchens of culinary notables like Thomas Keller and Tom Colicchio, and he willingly acknowledges the lessons he learned from them have been integral in his own success - from James Beard Awards to a "Best New Chef" title.

Benno is now an executive chef in his own right at his first solo project, Lincoln Restaurant, in New York City.

The student has now become the master.

Five Lessons Learned Through Cooking That I Now Pass Along: Jonathan Benno

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Filed under: 5@5 • Celebrity Chefs • News • Think • Thomas Keller • Tom Colicchio

November 27th, 2010
11:30 PM ET
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When chef Thomas Keller heard about the quality of seafood from a supplier in Maine, he wrote to the company's owner.

"Would you sell me lobsters," Keller recalled asking.

The answer was no.

"She wasn't interested in selling me lobsters because she didn't know who I was and what my standards are."

It took Keller two years to get his first shipment of lobsters from Ingrid Bengis, a Fulbright scholar who has had a career as a writer in addition to running her company, Ingrid Bengis Seafood.

Keller, who spoke at the TEDx East conference in New York earlier this month, talked about the network of suppliers he uses for his now acclaimed restaurants, including The French Laundry in Napa Valley and Per Se in New York - the wild mushroom forager, the dentists who run a fruit farm, the banker who decided to raise lambs.

In an interview with CNN, Keller made the case for going to extraordinary lengths to get the best ingredients, for paying suppliers more and for paying restaurant staff well. He took issue with what he described as the economy's relentless drive for producing and selling goods more cheaply.

Read the rest of CNN Opinion's interview with Thomas Keller and Five Books that are Required Reading for All New Culinary Team Members on Eatocracy

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