Health and Safety in Catering

November 1, 2017
Contributor: Shoes for Crews

Catering Safety Tips

Working in the catering industry can be an exciting prospect, as the limitations placed on you – as opposed to a restaurant – arguably make it a much more challenging task but that also means there’s little room for error. It’s your chance to impress and exceed expectations, and hope that the guests who have attended an event you’ve catered for will seek your quality service down the line.

However, safety is imperative in catering and one tiny mistake can trigger a domino effect and result in many more errors. Many mistakes and hazards are avoidable if given proper attention and planning, so you should take great measures to ensure not only your safety, but the safety of the staff and your guests as well. Here are some tips you should take into consideration when it comes to catering safety.

Know The Hazards

If you’re going to be catering at a mobile location, it’s important to visit the site beforehand and know where it is you’ll be catering and conduct a risk assessment. This is because you don’t want any dangerous surprises springing up when it’s time to cook, and some hazards in that situation can be unavoidable which puts your health at risk. Sometimes, it’s difficult to actually notice a potential hazard until you’re there, so undertaking a risk assessment beforehand is a good first step to catering safety.

Chef plating
Source: Pixabay

This way, you’ll be able to thoroughly check the venue, your clothing and even the equipment you’ll be using to scout any possible dangers and potentially rectify them in time so nothing will pop up as a major surprise. This also assists catering safety because it gives you enough information to know whether you’re able to transport large pieces of equipment safely, such as mobile wash basins. So, consider pathways and walkways so there’s enough space for everyone to move around safely, without creating other hazards such as tripping.

As hazards can occur at any time, consider having first-aid kits and fire extinguishers on hand as a safety precaution, as it’s better to be prepared in that situation. If you’re catering at a remote location as opposed to mobile, then regularly updating safety plans and having multiple first-aid kits on-hand is vital, and it’s even better if you or someone else in your team is trained in that department.

Always Maintain Your Equipment

For catering safety, equipment maintenance is crucial as you need to ensure everything is both safe and fully functioning. This can be to check whether the knives are sharp enough to making sure that gas appliances you’re using are maintained in a safe condition. These are the types of factors you, as a chef, should consider before catering as it gives you valuable time beforehand to prepare and replace any damaged equipment which can turn into a major hazard.

While you’ll lose valuable time, it could also be a danger to you, the rest of the kitchen staff as well as the guests, as their safety also needs to be taken into consideration. Although you’ll be working inside of a kitchen, there’s still a big risk you could be turning towards the guests – food poisoning. It’s your job to make sure you’ve safely stored and transported any and all of the food you’ll be cooking, as poor storage results in poor hygiene. Food labelling and meat storage are other factors you need to consider as well, so you’re not contaminating the food before you even get to start cooking.

Along with this, as the chef it’s important you communicate with the rest of the kitchen staff and make them aware of the food danger zone (food sitting between 4 to 60°C for more than four hours allows bacteria to multiply at dangerous rates), to ensure that none of your guests get food poisoning from eating improperly cooked or reheated items, or food sitting out on warmers or ice.

Injury Prevention

Health and safety comes before anything when you’re catering, so it’s important to know the types of injuries that can occur to you or anyone else in the kitchen, along with the correct measures you should take to avoid them, or at least know what to do if the injuries do occur. Think about kitchen ventilation as the HSE has made it clear that kitchen ventilation is required to create a safe and comfortable working environment. As catering and cooking produces significant quantities of fumes, vapors and heat, ventilation is necessary to remove these to keep you safe when working under such conditions.

Catering safety
Source: Pixabay

Physical injuries are also a common occurrence in catering. You’ll be expected to do a lot of heavy lifting and carrying items which can cause back pain and other aches, especially if repeated continuously. To combat this, it’ll be more beneficial if you make more trips rather than trying to carry a heavy load at once, as this is less strenuous on your muscles and joints while getting somebody to help can also help, and increase productivity. Receiving proper training, and providing it to less experienced kitchen staff can also maintain catering safety, such as eliminating knife accidents by training staff on safe working practices when using, sharpening, and carrying knives.

This can be extended further, as catering safety also needs to prioritize the different types of hazardous cleaning chemicals that are used to maintain cleanliness, and this can cause damage should it come in contact with your skin and that means handling any food could cause further contamination.

Safe Clothing

To round it all off, another important aspect of catering safety is to ensure you always have safe equipment on hand, so you avoid putting yourself in any danger while cooking. As scalding is one of the most common injuries in the kitchen, ditching long, flowing sleeves is a good first step as it’s a recipe for disaster if they’re dangling over a burning flame. Synthetic clothing is also a hazard as it can potentially melt on your skin if it catches fire, so choosing an alternative material is a beneficial step to take – such as wearing a chef jacket featuring cotton buttons instead of plastic.

Whether or not you & your crew use cutting gloves is also a crucial safety decision, as the repetitive use of knives inevitably results in someone getting cut sooner or later. Additionally, dermatitis is one of the main causes of ill health for catering staff. With hands being the most susceptible part of the body, dermatitis can be severe enough to keep you or a crew member off work. To avoid that extreme, wearing cut-resistant gloves can eliminate two big risks and ensure catering safety.

As you’ll be standing throughout your shifts, it’s always a tiring process so you’re going to need comfortable, slip-resistant shoes so you’re able to stay on your feet throughout the day and not be at risk of falling due to spills. Ensure your clothing isn’t a fire hazard, anti-slip rubber mats can also be beneficial, especially in a fast-paced catering environment.

Ensuring total safety for catering might be a time-consuming process, but the benefits of taking great and detailed measures to remain safe will only result in bigger benefits down the line.

 

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Restaurant Text Messaging Service Keeps Customers Happy

How to Keep Restaurant Customers Happy Through Text Messaging

restaurant text messaging serviceAt the heart of every successful restaurant is high-quality customer service. When you want to keep your customers happy, opening a line of communication between your restaurant and your customers by implementing a restaurant text messaging service platform is one way of doing this, especially if you are targeting the massive millennial demographic. Most adults are walking around with a cell phone, and it is the most efficient way to communicate while on the go. Whether your customers want to find out about menu specials for the day or they want to make a reservation, text messaging is the best way to communicate with your customers.

Customer Service Through Texting is Cost-Effective

When you run a restaurant, you need to maximize your profits. Customers can send in a text message asking simple questions, minimizing interruptions for your restaurant staff. Because texting tends to be “short and to the point” a texting program can save you time and money. Instead of being on the phone for minutes, your employee can answer a customer text in seconds. Customer feedback will be a lot faster with SMS so that any issue can be looked into right away.

Customers Can Text from Anywhere

If you run a takeout service, customers can text orders to you from just about anywhere. This means that if they are stuck in a meeting and want to order dinner, they can do this through a simple text. If a customer is about to start their commute home they can quickly text their order and pick it up on the way home. This is a perk that many of your customers will love because they can text in a food order and its ready when they arrive.

An Employee Can Help More than One Customer at a Time

When you have a restaurant text messaging service platform in place, an employee responsible for customer service and responding to texts can help more than one customer at a time. This is going to make your customer service faster and more efficient, while reducing costs. Your employees will be able to handle more customers, keeping your customer satisfaction high.

Texting Makes Wait Times Easier

When a customer puts their name in to wait for a table, you can set up the customer to receive a text message when the table is ready. This means the customer can go outside without having to worry about a buzzer still being in range. When your customers must wait for service, make it easy on them by offering to text them when their table is ready.

Offer Exclusive Deals Through Your Restaurant Text Messaging Service

If you are having a slow business night in your restaurant, you can offer a flash deal to all of your text messaging subscribers. You’ll want to make this deal good in order to draw in a crowd who is ready to dine out at the last minute. Remind your customers that the offer is exclusive and time limited to spark interest in your restaurant. SMS is a great way to fill your restaurant on nights that are slow while also rewarding your loyal customers.

Customer service means reaching the customers in the ways that they want to be contacted. Good customer service means using a texting platform to offer deals, answer questions, and share information. When customers know that they can reach your business through texting, they are going to enjoy this form of communication. From takeout orders to reservations, your restaurant will benefit from allowing text communication between your business and customers.

To learn more about how implementing a text messaging software can improve customer satisfaction, click here!

 

Author Biography:
Ken Rhie

Ken Rhie is the CEO of Trumpia, which earned a reputation as the most complete SMS solution including user-friendly user interface and API for mobile engagement, Smart Targeting, advanced automation, enterprise, and cross-channel features for both mass texting and landline texting use cases. Mr. Rhie holds an MBA degree from Harvard Business School. He has over 30 years of experience in the software, internet, and mobile communications industries.

 

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Restaurant Text Messaging Coupons

How to Increase Sales By Text Messaging Coupons to Loyal Customers

Thursday May 11, 2017
by Ken Rhie

SMS Text Messaging Coupons

Mobile marketing techniques help companies engage with their customers and get people excited about your products and services. An increasing number of customers are using mobile devices to search for products, services, and restaurant text messaging coupons to help them make their dining choices. With text messaging options it is easy for them to ask questions when they find a brand they are interested in. To get started you’ll need to build a loyal customer list of fans who have “opted in” to your loyal customer program because you can’t just send out texts to the general public. Once you develop your list, it’s time to focus on coupons and deals that will improve your sales.

Be Clear With Your Offer

If you are sending out restaurant sms coupons, make it clear how your offer is going to be redeemed. You want your customers to understand your coupon and how it is supposed to be used. Don’t use vague language when you send out coupons through text messaging, and provide your customers with a specific deal that’s easy to use.

Send Rewards to Your Loyal Customers

Keep your loyal customers happy by rewarding them for making a purchase. You want customers to have an incentive to continually return to your business to make a purchase. Make sure you send coupons that are targeted towards your most loyal customers, as this will help build further loyalty and slowly build up your business. Rewarding your loyal customers will help increase consumer confidence.

Offer Something Just For Signing Up

You can send out a coupon to customers as a thank you for signing up for your mobile list. You don’t want to just send out pushes to buy products or services. You want to start by offering free drawings or rewards, getting customers interested in what you have to offer without making them spend any money.  You’ll be able to collect useful data from your customers when you offer a free drawing, and even a small free product can help build brand loyalty. Keep your messages a mix of coupons, information, and deals for your restaurant.

Keep Your Text Messages Brief

When you want to reach your customers, an SMS software is the best way to get a quick message out. An SMS software is also better for urgent messages that need to be sent immediately. Don’t send out texts excessively, as this will get people to opt-out of your texting campaign.

Continually Promote Your Mobile Coupons

When you have a good mobile coupon to offer, you have to get your message out to potential customers. This means you’ll want to advertise your offer on social media, and encourage existing customers to share the deal with their friends on social media. When you are reaching out to your customers through mobile messaging, you’ll want to promote signing up to receive these messages any way you can. When customers make a purchase, you can encourage the customer to sign up for your opt-in texting campaign at this time.

Growing your opt-in texting campaign of subscribers is important to your success. Offer your customers valuable deals, and continue to promote offers wherever possible. Keep your loyal customers coming back by offering the right coupons.

 

Author Biography:
Ken Rhie
Ken Rhie is the CEO of Trumpia, which earned a reputation as the most complete SMS solution including user-friendly user interface and API for mobile engagement, Smart Targeting, advanced automation, enterprise, and cross-channel features for both mass texting and landline texting use cases. Mr. Rhie holds an MBA degree from Harvard Business School. He has over 30 years of experience in the software, internet, and mobile communications industries.

 

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Accommodating Gluten Free Diets in your Restaurant

Thursday December 12, 2016
by Rich Lansdale

Accommodating Gluten Free Diets in your Restaurant

coconut flour is gluten freeToday’s restaurant customers can seem overly demanding to the casual observer. Some patrons request gluten-free products. Gluten free menus may seem like the industry’s latest buzz word, but celiac disease or intolerance to products made from wheat, barley or rye is a common problem suffered by a significant minority of the population.

While less than one percent of Americans have celiac disease and follow a gluten-free diet as a medical necessity, many others are ditching bread for other reasons. Some believe a gluten-free diet offers a healthier lifestyle and avoid gluten products because it simply makes them feel better.

Gluten-free menus make it easier for people with this condition to eat out, but restaurant staff still need to be prepared for questions. For example, are fries cooked in the same oil as chicken fingers which are floured?

As a restaurant owner, you want to address the issue, but you don’t to compromise your quality. Luckily for all of us, an entire industry of wheat and grain alternatives is now available. Take a moment to explore your options. You may be surprised by how many ways you can avoid adding wheat or gluten to your menu.

Alternatives to Traditional Flour

Consider what you need your alternative flour to do. If you want to just throw it in your mixer and make your lovely, artisanal bread, try coconut flour.

Coconut Flour

Coconut flour is made from the pulp leftover from the process of making coconut milk. The meat of the coconut is dried in an oven or dehydrator and then ground into a soft, usable flour which is obviously gluten free. It has an almost traditional flour look and texture. It’s full of carbohydrates and fiber, with five grams of fiber in just two tablespoons.

Before you use coconut flour in baking, you must keep in mind that it requires about double the liquid of wheat flour. Coconut flour is much drier than your average wheat flour and absorbs a lot more moisture, including liquid from eggs.

When baking with coconut flour, add an additional 20 percent of water or milk (or whatever liquid the recipe requires), and, for every cup of coconut flour, you will need at least three eggs. Many coconut flour bakers recommend you give your batter time to sit once all the ingredients are mixed together to ensure the flour and the liquids are fully merged.

Coconut flour users love the product and claim the final baked product is more aesthetically pleasing.

Baking and cooking with coconut flour can take a little practice, and you may want to experiment with mixing it in with different alternative flours to keep your bread and pastries from being too dry.

Cassava Root Makes Great Flour

Another great gluten free flour to reach for when stocking your restaurant kitchen is cassava. Cassava, also known as yucca, is an ugly, brown root that can be skinned, dried and powdered into a usable and tasty flour. In fact, many fans of this flour brag consumers can’t tell the difference between regular and cassava flour.

gluten free cassava flourThere are a few health reasons why cassava flour is so popular. Anyone with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or just general stomach discomfort finds baked goods made with cassava flour are much easier on their digestive tract. People with nut allergies can’t eat almond or coconut flour, so yucca is a great, allergen-free choice.

Fans of this flour cite taste and recipe convenience as the main reasons to use it as a substitute for traditional flours. This alternative flour doesn’t have any flavor of its own. Cassava is neutral and soft, and it is used in the exact same amounts as called for in recipes calling for white flour.

One serving of cassava has 1.6 grams of protein and 1.6 grams of fat, making it a very light choice that doubles as a protein supplement. The same serving size also packs in over 11 grams of fiber and about 417 grams of sodium, making it easy to eat and process.

Cassava can be used to make desserts or standard bread, and there are lots of great cassava recipes available online for you to try.

Banana Flour

Banana flour sounds like a strictly dessert- or banana-bread-making flour, but this new product is versatile and completely gluten free.

This unique product is made strictly from green bananas. The sugar content is low, and the flavor mellow and neutral. The unripe bananas are peeled, sliced, dried, ground into flour, and packaged.

gluten free menus with banana flourBanana flour recipes require less flour than other recipes. This is due to the higher starch content. It binds more easily with wet ingredients. You can also blend banana flour with other flours with no effect on the final product. Like cassava flour, this product is allergen-free and gluten-free, which makes it a popular choice for establishments offering gluten-free products on their menu.

Banana flour adherents claim it is full of a disease-resistant starch and has a high potassium content. Many places advertise products made from banana bread as being healthier for you, especially products like sling brownies and pies.

Producers assure buyers that using this flour produces light and fluffy bakery products. While the flour does have a light banana smell and taste in its raw state, bakers who use it claim this goes away as soon as the ingredient is blended with the other ingredients.

While it may seem like a major shift in your kitchen operation to make your baked goods gluten-free, many believe it worth the time and effort. Even if your customers don’t suffer from celiac disease, or have allergies or sensitive stomachs, they will appreciate the effort you put into your menu to make choices available for everyone.

Many customers who have given up bread to avoid gluten will appreciate the option of eating bread products again. While others may be intrigued with the unique ingredients and convert to consuming and baking or cooking with alternatives to standard flour.

Experiment with all kinds of flours as you move away from traditional baking so you can adjust to the new textures, demands, and tastes that each non-wheat flour brings to the kitchen. Soon, the slight changes in recipes or preparation, depending on the alternative flour you use, will become second nature to you and your kitchen staff.

 

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Chefs Resources Suggestion Page

Chefs – what Info would you like added to this site?

Spawn Till You Die by Ray Troll

Spawn Till You Die by Ray Troll

Being a Chef, or running a kitchen, requires that we are constantly evolving, perpetually learning, forever seeking new ideas about how to do our jobs better, faster, or more efficiently.  At Chef’s Resources we are always looking for new information which may be useful to fellow Chefs. What info have you been looking for to run your operation? Excel templates, kitchen management questions, flavor profiles…what?

What info would you like to see added to this site? Leave comments/suggestions below and we will consider researching them for addition to the site!

 

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Best Apps for Restaurant Owners

Wednesday August 10, 2016
by Rich Lansdale

Best Apps for Restaurant Owners

best restaurant appsThere is a lot more to running a successful restaurant than providing customers with delicious food.  Effective time management is a skill that every restaurant owner and manager needs to have in order to keep things operating smoothly.  Whether you have a good grasp on managing your time or you are still looking for ways to improve, there are plenty of apps that can help you manage your business. Following are a few of the best apps for restaurant owners:

NoWait
Hopefully, your restaurant is successful enough to have experienced a particularly busy period that forced you to put people on a wait list.  The NoWait app is a waitlist management tool that manages your server rotation and seating.  No longer will your hostesses be taking names and writing them down.  This app provides a one tap guest notification and two way messaging for easy communication.

The secret behind the NoWait app is its quoted wait algorithm that learns from each individual business so that it can predict wait times twice as accurately as hostesses.  It also gives private verified guest feedback from specific tables so that you can see what your customers thought of their dining experience.

pic2CrunchTime

When managing your restaurant through Excel spreadsheets isn’t quite doing it for you, CrunchTime may be the solution.  This back office system can take all of your restaurants data—from inventory to labor management—and turn it into actionable marketing strategies.  This is a great app for restaurants looking to expand and needing to improve their business processes in order to accomplish their goals.

CrunchTime has dashboards that show operators important business information and sends them alerts when the restaurant’s efficiency is declining.  It also makes it easier to track spending by identifying anything from fraudulent activities to high cost ingredients.  By eliminating wasteful spending, you can purchase those Hobart mixer parts you’ve been meaning to purchase.

Yelp
With nearly 90 percent of people turning to online reviews to help them decide what to buy or where to eat, it is critical that restaurant owners keep tabs on their business’s page.  Yelp is one resource that many diners use to make a decision on where to eat and is the place for them to leave feedback on their dining experience.  In order to effectively manage your Yelp reviews, the Yelp app for business owners is extremely helpful.

The Yelp app provides business owners with real-time mobile notifications so that they can read and respond to reviews and messages quickly.  It also gives you important visitor engagement data such as your customer leads and user views.  When your restaurant’s reputation is closely tied to its success, this app is a must-have for connecting with your customers.

Wunderlist

pic3It can be tough to keep track of different schedules and what you need to tackle next on your to-do list.  With the Wunderlist app, you can get everything in sync easily and boost your productivity in the process.  This app not only lets you set tasks and attach notes to them, but it also lets you set sub-tasks and recurring tasks as well.

Wunderlist also allows you to set reminders for yourself so that you never forget to order those Oliver Bread Slicer Blades for your bread slicer again.  It also lets you collaborate with others so that employees can add things to the list if they notice items that need replacing.  You can access Wunderlist from anywhere, and anything you create on the app can be printed out for your entire staff.

Key Ingredient

Need a little food inspiration?  The Key Ingredient app is perfect for those who are looking for something new to add to the menu.  This app has over 1.5 million recipes and streams them to your phone with photos of mouth-watering food items to browse through.  You can save these recipes to your favorites so that you can find them later and give your chef a look to see what they think.   If your restaurant serves a specific niche, the app lets you browse by cuisine so that you can find a recipe that is suited to your restaurant.

pic4Touchbistro

Touchbistro is a point of sale solution designed specifically for the food business.  User-friendly and cost-effective, this app will please both large and small restaurant owners with its ability to take orders and payments ahead of time, allowing businesses to maximize their efficiency.  It also makes it easy for your staff to split bills, join seats, manage orders, and more by simply swiping their finger.

Other features this app has include tracking inventory, editing menu items, and creating personalized staff profiles, and the ability to access real-time insights from your restaurant data.  This POS app has everything that busy restaurant owners need to make their business a success.

Zip Time Clock

Make managing your employee hours easy, with the Zip Time Clock app, which helps you track and control your employee’s time.  Not only is this app affordable, but it will pay for itself and then some, in the long run, by keeping business owners aware of potential labor law violations and tracking how closely employees stick to their schedules.

If you have even the slightest worry about employees clocking in for others and being dishonest about the time they have worked, this app is a must-have.  It uses cloud-based convenience and geo-tech to let you know exactly where employees are when they clock in.  In addition, it makes payroll processing simple by helping you collect and finalize your payroll hours.

pic5Use Apps to Boost Your Restaurant’s Efficiency
If you aren’t utilizing technology to help boost your restaurant’s efficiency, you could be losing a lot of money in the process.  Better customer service, reducing wasteful spending, and more effectively managing your time are things that your restaurant stands to gain when using these apps.  If you are looking to get ahead of the competition and make things run more smoothly at your restaurant, it’s time to seriously consider these apps as a way to do so.

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The 3 Second Rule Fallacy

Sunday July 17, 2016

The 3 Second Rule

I was reading some Chef blogs the other day and I was astonished when someone actually posted a question about the validity of the 3 second rule (also called the 5 second rule).  For those of you who don’t know what the 3 second rule is, it is a phrase which refers to food which has been dropped on the floor.  “If you pick it up within 3 seconds its safe!”  Another phrase referring to this is, “It landed on the napkin.”

I might understand this question being discussed by novices, but by professional chefs?!  Most of the chefs were staunchly against it, but a few made feeble attempts of defending the practice.  I see no defense for it.  If a filet mignon falls on the floor, it’s done, over, garbage.  Start a new steak.  If any of my staff ever questions me on this, then I have them follow me into the men’s bathroom.  I’ll step in the puddle under the urinal, go back to the kitchen Line and step on the floor.  I’ll drop a piece of meat on that spot and ask them to eat it.  I’m never asked about it a second time.

If you think that you are saving money by “cooking it to kill the germs” and serving it, then think about the damage to your reputation if your customers get sick.  Or the damage done when your staff goes drinking after work and tell people their thoughts about how you save money in your restaurant.

As far as actual research on the topic, a few experiments have been done.  In 2003, Jillian Clarke, a high school student and intern at the University of Illinois at Urbana performed an experiment using Gummi Bears and Fudge-striped Cookies which determined that these foods were significantly contaminated by even brief exposure (5 seconds) to a tile inoculated with E. coli.

The five-second rule was also featured in an episode of the TV series Mythbusters. They exposed food to bacteria for 2 seconds and for 6 seconds and showed that both were contaminated and there was no significant difference in the number of bacteria collected on food.  It didn’t matter if it was 2 seconds or 6, it was almost equally contaminated. So the myth about food being safe if it was on the floor for less than 3 seconds was “busted”.

 

 

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Taste of Tulalip Celebration Dinner 2014

A Day in a Chef’s Life
November 14, 2014

Taste_of_Tulalip_Table_2014.pngThe Taste of Tulalip is a high-profile 2 day food & wine extravaganza which is recognized as one of the best, if notTHE best, food & wine event on the entire West Coast. The first night is an exclusive dinner for 420 people which sold out several months before the event this year. The second day featured 120 different wineries and a slew of delicacies prepared by the Tulalip chef team. This post gives a little “back kitchen perspective” of the Friday night event.

The Scene:
Friday night. 7-course plated food & wine pairing dinner for 420 people. $195 per plate (ie…don’t fuck it up!!) 50 cooks/stewards in the kitchen to plate and man ovens. 4 plating lines. 30 servers to catch and deliver plates. Each course will be plated á la minute directly into the server’s hands (no hot holding of plates). Each course must be plated and served in less than 15 minutes.

Taste_of_Tulalip_Plate-up_9.png

Its nights like this that a Chef earns his/her stripes…which make or break us. These are the nights that we live for, which give us bragging rights, which drain our bodies & minds but ultimately leave us with a deep-seated and well-earned feeling of satisfaction. We love the intense challenge, the adrenaline, the hard work, the inevitable unexpected problems and our instantaneous successful solutions. We love the feeling of “the wind in our hair and a tiger at our back.”

Even though each culinary creation and its successful wine pairing is of eminent importance, it takes so much more than culinary talent to make it a successful evening when you’re dealing with 420 fine dining quality plates and 7 courses. That’s 2,940 plates! It requires intense concentration, impeccable mise en place, detailed planning, communication, training, juggling the plating timeline as course times shift, anticipating what that bastard “murphy’s law” will bring to the table, and bringing everything to perfection on the plate. Creating awesome food is one thing…actually being able to serve it to 420 people is quite another! It’s what separates good cooks from good chefs.

The planning for this event began many months ago as each chef planned a dish (there are 7 chefs at Tulalip Resort with 2 more coming soon.) In August each chef brought their dish to a tasting to determine the food & wine match, made minor tweaks or complete revisions to their concept based upon that tasting, finalized presentation ideas, and then began the implementation process of how to prep, plate, and serve their dish in under 15 minutes.

4b_Taste_of_Tulalip_2014_Salmon_900.pngPlating is all about “touches”…how many times do you have to “touch” the plate? Ideally, for an event like this, you have one person for each touch, which makes for a fast, efficient assembly line style plate-up. For my dish there were 9 touches which went as follows:
• Pull plates
• Apply Blackberry Puree painted brush stroke
• Add Toasted Hazelnut Pesto
• Add center Salmon Lox Popsicle (this is done first so as to assure symmetry)
• Add 2 remaining Salmon Lox Popsicles
• Place Sous Vide Salmon over Pesto at about a 60° angle
• Add cracked Hazelnut garnish
• Add Borage Flower garnish
• Wipe plate edges

Its important to note that mise en place is everything. And it is so much more than simply prepping your food. Mise en place is also your mental preparations, your organization, your prep lists, prep timeline, ordering timeline, scaled recipes, plating diagram, communications to relevant team members and so on. A well organized Chef brings sanity to an inherently chaotic and stressful environment. An unorganized chef is his own worst enemy and by failing to plan correctly turns a stressful day into a living hell both for themselves and their staff.
Here is my organizational plan for this event. It is a downloadable Excel sheet (I love Excel for planning!) and it’s important to note that this workbook began with only two or three tabs. But as my planning progressed so did the scope of the worksheet (You will need Microsoft Excel to open it.)

Here is the day at a glance:

9:30 AM
Ibuprofen along with my breakfast…I’m already sore from the week’s prep to get ready for this day, plus it is a “preemptive strike” to prevent a “stress headache”.

10:00 AM
Day begins with going over all the details of the day on the drive to work.

11:00 AM
Check event prep…make sure we are on target for tonight. Check restaurant prep for same reason. Do ordering and essential restaurant work.

2:00 – 5:00
Gather and organize all mise en place for the event. Verify everything! Do I have enough pans, pastry brushes, all serving utensils, are the ovens at the correct temp, are the plates counted, etc all.

6:00 PM
Check mise en place for the last time and give final instructions to key players.

7:00 PM
The grand ballroom begins to fill with guests, the Chefs & staff are ready to go…the tension in the kitchen is palpable. Like a cat waiting to pounce on its prey, we appear to be relaxed but inside our minds are tense, churning, going over all the minutia of what’s going to happen in the next 3 hours. Pop 3rd dose of ibuprofen (breakfast, lunch, dinner!) for the day.

7:35 PM
We are supposed to be serving the first course right now! But the speakers are running a little late, so we stand patiently waiting…but inside we are screaming “let’s go!”

7:42 PM
We finally get the word to start! The kitchen goes from a standstill to slamming into fourth gear as Chef Gerry takes control of his course and we get the first plates rolling. “Straighten that sauce line!” “No! The garnish goes like this! 45° angle, not a 30° angle! Let’s get this right people!” “Line 3…speed it up, but don’t fuck it up!” Within 2 minutes we shift from fourth gear into overdrive as 50 people on 4 lines dial in the plating of this course. 11 minutes later the first course is done, all 420 plates worth.

“Good job everyone, now clear those tables!” “Remove the mise from the first course!” “Come on people, get ready for the next course!” Refresh. Repeat seven times for three hours!

10:30 PM
Pats on the back are shared all around, smiles, relief. Last dose of ibuprofen. 1 shot of Basil Hayden bourbon.

10:45 PM Double-check status of tomorrow’s event for 2,000 people, check restaurant.

Midnight
Arrive at home. 2 doubles vodka and Sobe Cranberry. Tiger Balm applied liberally to very sore feet. Crash. Awaken sharply at 3:00 am from stress dream…”Dude! Friday’s over. Let it go. Relax. Relax. Sleep.”

 

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The Menu

Chef Gerry Schultz – Amuse Bouche

J. Schram Brut Rose, North Coast California 2004
Beet Carpaccio Ravioli
Smoked Chicken, Fennel Mustard Vinaigrette

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Chef Brent Clarkson – Soup

Rasa Vineyards dream deferred Chardonnay, Washington 2012
Jerusalem Artichoke Puree
Pumpkin Seed Pesto, Cream Fraiche, Crispy Leek Straws

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Chef JP – Salad Course

Alleromb Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley Washington 2012
Seared Scallop with Green Papaya Slaw
North Atlantic sea scallop with green papaya slaw, micro Asian mallow, golden edamame shoots
ginger lime vinaigrette and aged balsamic

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Chef David Buchanan – Fish

Kosta Browne Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, California 2011
To Sous Vide or not to Sous Vide?
Sockeye Salmon Lox & Blackberry “popsicle” – Salmon Sous Vide 110° over Toasted Hazelnut Pesto
The Blackberry is lightly tossed in Balsamic glaze, the pesto is features roasted Holmquist Hazelnuts, fresh Basil and Tarragon

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Chef John Jadamec – Intermezzo

Pomegranate and Rose Granita

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Chef Perry Mascitti – Entrée

Leonetti Family “Reserve” Red Blend, Walla Walla Washington 2011
A Study of Aging: A New York Duet
Older and Wiser
New York Strip Dry Aged 46 days, traditional tarragon beurre blanc

Youthful Energy
New York Strip 28 days, wild cranberry demi
Separated by a cambazola-mascarpone brioche “Twinkie”, buna shimeji and micro green sauté

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Nikol Nakamura – Dessert

Valrhona caramelized white chocolate cremeux and cake, almond streusel, Osetra caviar

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Parting gift

The Taste of Tulalip 58% Chocolate Lollipop

 

Related Posts:

Taste of Tulalip 2010
Taste of Tulalip 2011
Taste of Tulalip 2012
Taste of Tulalip Gala Dinner 2013
Taste of Tulalip Grand Taste 2013

Related Articles:

A Feast for the Senses – Tulalip News.com
Taste of Tulalip 2014 – Write for Wine
Weekend at Taste of Tulalip – My VanCity
Taste of Tulalip 6th Anniversary Blend – Woodinville Wine Update

 

 

Posted In:Uncategorized


10 Useful Tips to Become a Professional Chef

Monday June 23, 2014

by Rebecca Hurst at The Hurst Campus

Whether you wish to be a Professional Chef in South Africa or in some other part of the globe, there are a few essential attributes that are required for an aspiring chef to possess. Possessing world class Chef Training classes go hand in hand with the qualities that a Professional Chef is looked upon to own. Thus, to make our opinion more clear, mentioned below are 10 useful tips and advices that will pave a successful path to become an unbeaten chef.

1. Passion

Passion is among the top most important quality that one needs to possess if he/she desires to be a Professional Chef. Just taking chef classes will not better one’s position if he/she lacks the obsession for food preparation. Starting from internationally renowned recipes to locally known dishes there are a lot of techniques that one needs to pay attention to while expertly preparing meals, selecting food and creating menus. Thus, lacking interest and fervour for it will turn everything boring and dull.

2. Creativity

Creativity is an attribute that will not only enhance food preparation but is also needed to experiment with various cooking techniques and ingredients. It is only due to creativity that many renowned chefs have come up with a number of delectable dishes. To offer a never before dining experience one should always be ready to try something outside the box.

3. Business Sense

No matter from where one has undergone his/her Chef Training, to climb the ladder of success he/she should be gifted with business sense. It will be this factor that will help expand the zone and establish you as a well known chef. One should know how to run a cost effective restaurant along with offering mouth watering dishes.

4. Multitasking

A good chef is one who can swiftly arrange his/her cooking items and blend them accordingly. While preparing dishes for restaurants and hotels, a number of tasks need to be carried along at the same time. Thus multitasking is an essential talent to posses.

5. Team Player

An efficient and cooperative chef will always understand that he is part of a larger food preparation team which needs to work harmoniously so that everything gets prepared at the right time. Lacking such a spirit can cause moral & production problems and you may never be in a position to win others and attain success.

6. Attention for Details

Cooking is just like science. To prepare the finest dish, each ingredient and amount has a role to play in enhancing its taste. So, one needs an eye for each detail. Moreover, while experimenting, he/she should know which ingredient can create magic and result in a new taste.

7. Practice

It requires a lot of practice to present the best dish. One has to practice so much so that he/she gets used to the techniques so that they remain in finger tips while taking any order.

8. Quick Decision

To be a professional chef one should as well possess the ability for quick thinking. This becomes especially handy when any sort of crisis or problem arises. Moreover, to maintain customer satisfaction, timely decisions play an imperative role in this industry.

9. Commitment to Quality

To seek out the finest ingredients and to make use of the best techniques to cook the best dish possible, commitment for quality is a must and where there is quality, success will surely follow.

10. Handle Criticism

There is no field in which one does not have to face criticism and this is true in the culinary industry as well. It is not possible that every customer will love what you prepare, but being able to accept that with a positive attitude will push you towards success.

Posted In:Chef Life  /  Hospitality Industry


The FOG Tank – Degrease, Decarbonize Pans

Sunday, June 15, 2014

FOG_Tank_2.jpgThe FOG Tank is a heated soak tank that safely and easily cleans metal cookware and kitchen equipment. The thermostatically controlled, stainless steel FOG Tank is fully insulated, and safely cleans all types of metal, including aluminum. FOG is an acronym for Fat, Oil, and Grease, and the FOG Tank removes these substances (along with carbon buildup) from kitchen equipment through the use of the safe and proprietary Tiger Carbon Remover Powder, an environmentally safe cleaning agent that is non-toxic and completely safe for humans.

For a successful commercial kitchen, having clean equipment is a necessity, not an option. But cleaning using traditional methods can be expensive, time consuming, and wasteful. With the FOG Tank, commercial kitchens in restaurants, hotels, casinos, schools, and more, can save money, increase staff productivity, and reduce their carbon footprint. The FOG Tank’s Tiger Carbon Remover Powder cleans equipment with little scrubbing, eliminating daily work for a kitchen’s stewarding department by 3 or more hours.  Since the cleaning solution in the tank lasts a full thirty days, the FOG tank also lowers energy bills and water usage by eliminating the need to continuously fill and heat 3-compartment sinks.

With only 5 simple steps, anyone can use the FOG Tank. So how does it work? First fill the FOG Tank, then add the Tiger Carbon Remover Powder, and then load the tank with your dirty pots, pans, vent hood filters, etc. After the FOG Tank is loaded just close the lid and let it work! Once the tank has run through its cycle, simply rinse off any loose or softened fragments, and your equipment will look brand new.

The FOG Tank comes in four different sizes (25, 40, 80, and 120 gallons) to fit any size kitchen, from a small bakery to a huge hotel and casino. To find out why this product is the top choice for companies like In-n-Out Burger, Hyatt Hotels, The Venetian, and Texas Road House, or to sign up for a Risk Free Trial period, visit www.fogtank.com.

About Hyginix

FOG_Tank_1.jpg

The FOG Tank® is developed by Hyginix, a company dedicated to developing environmentally friendly advanced cleaning solutions that provide sanitary, operational, and financial benefits to the restaurant, bakery, and food service industries. Hyginix LLC is a woman-owned business with corporate headquarters in San Diego, CA and a prestigious customer base throughout the USA.
 
Comments from before Site Migration

FOG TANK [75.80.157.166] [ Jul 21, 2014 ]

To answer your question, we recommend using gloves when removing cookware from the FOG Tank because the tank reaches a temperate of 185*F. However, the chemicals are non-caustic, non-toxic, fully biodegradable, and completely safe for humans!

CAMERON [74.112.52.132] [ Jun 16, 2014 ]

watch the video again…can you or can’t you handle the wares after cleaning with your bear hands?? One shot shows a person pulling things out with bare skin hands, the other shows a person handling the wares with heavy duty rubberized gloves up to their elbows…It’s reminicent of Judge Doom dipping a toon in “The Dip” on Who Framed Roger Rabbit….all that is missing is Jessica Rabbit screaming in the back ground 🙂

Posted In:Uncategorized


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