Mark Hitri

Executive Chef, The Culinary School of Fort Worth

Profiles of Leadership | Topic 1Who are you?

It’s been a long journey to the classroom instructing future culinarians to fulfill the mission statement of the Culinary School of Fort Worth to be prepared to exemplify excellence in the culinary community. For over twenty-five years I have been in kitchens ranging from deli counters to fine dining and high volume catering. The best part of the journey has been learning from some great individuals that I have had the privilege of working with and now I am able to pass on what they have taught me. Along the journey I have also followed my passion as a husband and father as well as a musician and a martial artist and sometimes poet. One of the key lessons of the kitchen is the importance of “mise en place” everything in its place and some of the most important things to have in place are your lists: prep lists and checklists. Follow you lists consistently at the best of your ability to develop the habits of order, excellence and discipline. Don’t skip a step. Follow your lists to your success.

Profiles of Leadership | Topic 2 | Building Credibility

Photo Credit: CulinArtistries, LLC

For some folks that have been around long enough it is easy to rest on their laurels and with my experience it would be easy for me to do the same but I feel it is important for me to back it up with continued honing of my skills and attention to details. The tourne cut is one of the classic cuts of the culinary profession but as one of my chef friends said “Does anyone still tourne?” The answer for me is yes. It is important to exemplify that commitment to the traditions of our profession and maintain those skills. I need to be able to back up what I ask of my students in the class.

Profiles of Leadership | Topic 3 | Vision

Vision and mission are intertwined. The mission of the Culinary School of Fort Worth is to prepare our graduates to exemplify excellence in the culinary community. Vision is the plan on how one achieves the mission. The important part of having a vision is to clearly lay it out. Daily I need to remind myself of the vision to achieve the mission. One way I do that is to daily ask myself questions that I have created influence by the book “The Leadership Challenge” by Kouzes & Posner. Asking these purposeful questions daily help me to focus my vision. With my vision clear I can see the way to achieve the mission objective.

Profiles of Leadership | Topic 4 | Vision: Creating Buy-In

I have found that one of the best strategies to get people to support my vision is to set the example and show them that they can follow along. The vision needs to be clear to me first and I have to be living it and following it myself. I also need to be in there hands on with them and encouraging them along the way.

Location Map to the Culinary School of Fort Worth