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Passionate Craftsmen Inspired Chef Armando

House painting contractors who are passionate about craftsmanship gathered in Chicago on September 24-25 at the Glessner House for the 10th Annual PDCA Craftsmanship Conference. It attracted people from all over North America, even one person from the U.K.

Great craftsmanship is known to touch people deeply. It is also true that real craftsmen, through their passion, can inspire the people that come into contact with them in profound ways as well. At the conference, in a totally unexpected way, the truth of the last statement was made real in a vivid way.

The catering for our event was provided by Chef Jorge Armando who is the owner of Café Society , located next door to the Glessner House. On the first day, he was in and out with his other help; I hardly noticed him at all. However, on the second day, he was wearing a very artistic toque, along with his white chef’s attire; no way to miss him then!

After the completion of the conference, I was standing outside Jorge’s building while waiting for a colleague to join me. Jorge also happened to be standing outside, so I went up to him to thank him for his contribution to the conference. He then proceeded to tell me his impressions of the conference, which blew me away.

William Orpen's Le Chef de l'Hotel Chatham in Paris

William Orpen's Le Chef de l'Hotel Chatham in Paris - Courtesy of Wikipedia.com

Jorge told that, while going in and out of the conference room, he had been listening to the conversations taking place. He said that he had no idea people like us existed in America – painting contractors that care this much about their craft. “I can trust these people”, he said. “People need to know about you!” he added.

Although it was not formally discussed, there was another level to Chef Armando’s communication that day: his attire! His attire communicated: “I am a craftsman also and I belong to a long tradition like you guys do!” For hundreds of years, the toque has been a key element of the Chef attire. The many folds on a toque are believed to represent the many ways to cook an egg: many toques have exactly 101 pleats!

What happened to Chef Armando at the conference demonstrates that the passion that craftsman all share, irrespective of their work endeavors, has the power to inspire and move others in profound ways.


  1. I too was impressed by the chef’s attire… even though our group ordered modest sandwiches and desserts, he treated us like we ordered filet mignon by his professional presence. Great post, Mario!