Despite what it may seem like at times, leaders aren't born overnight. Leaders become leaders typically as a result of years of determination, passion and thousands of hours of experience. With the 2022 award season in bloom, here is career advice from past James Beard Award winners to provide perspective and inspiration for wherever you may be along your own career path.


“Be patient. Perfecting any skill takes time and doesn’t develop overnight. I had to work for many years, under various mentors, to be in a place where I could run my own kitchen, and eventually my own company.”

- Daniel Humm, Chef/Owner at Make It Nice (Eleven Madison Park, Eleven Madison Home)

“Stay focused. Pay attention to what your chef tells you because it will stick with you. I still remember some advice that my chefs have told me in the past, and I find myself remembering certain phrases that continue to guide me.”

- Ghaya Oliveira, Chef/Owner of Ghaya

“Surround yourself with good people and if you dedicate yourself to improving each and every day to do your best, opportunities will arise as a result of hard work, loyalty, responsibility, setting goals, and just allowing things to take their course.”

- Thomas Keller, Chef/Proprietor of Restaurants by Thomas Keller and Founder of Regiis Ova Caviar

“You can’t read people’s minds. Learn to ask for help when you need it. You will never get anything unless you ask for it.”


“Surround yourself with people who share in your values. Very few businesses are run by one person. Ensure that you are leading your decisions through your values and not because of your talents.”

- Alon Shaya, Founder & Owner of Pomegranate Hospitality

"Organization and critical thinking are the most valuable skills! It is also very important for you to master the the most basic techniques."

- Kelly Fields, Chef and Author

“Just because it's simple, doesn’t mean it can’t be wonderful. And just because it’s simple doesn’t mean you have to change it.”