Customer complaints can sometimes be an unavoidable part of running a small business, but they can often be especially common in the dining industry. Almost everyone who walks into your restaurant thinks that they are a qualified food critic, and thus, diners have opinions about the job you’re doing – good or bad. Knowing how to deal with a difficult guest can turn their bad experience into a great experience.
The pandemic has altered the dining landscape. More than 10% of restaurants in the US have closed forever due to COVID restrictions. Most of the remaining restaurants have been forced to redesign their operations and make difficult compromises, cutting staff and modifying menu options. It may be challenging to meet customer expectations while doing more work with less staff and earning less revenue due to continued socially-distanced seating arrangements and constant sanitizing.
Still, it’s possible to resolve customer conflicts as they arise using the strategies outlined below. But first, it helps to understand why some customers get upset. Check-out this Infographic by Clover for a simplified version of this article.
Why do some Customers Behave Badly?
Conflicts can crop up for any number of reasons, but most issues you’re likely to face stem from one of the following broad categories:
Frustration over personal circumstances – such as trouble at home or pandemic fatigue
Anger over policies – such as mask mandates, limited seating capacity, or dress codes
Poor quality service – such as mixed-up orders or long wait times
Not being heard – such as when a waiter dismisses a complaint
Although the underlying reasons might vary, the basic steps for dealing with a difficult guest are the same.
1. Listen to the Diner’s Complaint
The first step in dealing with a difficult guest is to calmly listen to everything the customer has to say. Doing so is crucial for understanding why he or she is upset – and for determining how best to resolve the issue. You’d be surprised how often letting someone vent helps to resolve problems on their own. Make attentive listening the number one priority for every member on the team. Listening is the foundation of conflict resolution.
2. Restate the Issue Clearly
The next step involves demonstrating your understanding of the situation by repeating the issue to the customer in your words. This lets the customer know you’re paying attention and that his or her voice matters. Clearly restating the problem also helps build empathy and rapport.
3. Resolve the Issue Quickly
Despite thin margins, restaurants may have some leeway when it comes to using perks to deal with a difficult guest and diffuse tense situations. Whenever possible, offer some type of compensation to satisfy angry customers – whether it’s complimentary drinks, dessert on the house, or 10% off the bill. However, sometimes these types of offers aren’t always deserved. There might be a policy in place that can’t be changed to suit a customer’s demands. For example, mask mandates were a common sticking point that many restaurants had to deal with, often for legal or regulatory reasons beyond their direct control.
In these situations, it’s best to explain why the policy exists and that your hands are tied. If it’s possible to offer perks to defuse the situation, do so. Sometimes, even this doesn’t work. You’ll have to move on to the next conflict resolution step.
4. Rely on your Managers
“I’d like to speak to your manager please,” are words no employee wants to hear. You should view this as an opportunity, since supervisors:
Have more training and experience in conflict resolution
Have more flexibility to offer freebies
Just as important, managers also have the authority to ask customers to leave if and when necessary. Sometimes, this is the only way to deal with a difficult guest. Asking a disruptive customer to leave might not be a good experience for that person, but it creates a better atmosphere for everyone else. Moreover, removing unreasonable diners allows your waitstaff to focus on the needs of those who add value to your business.
While it’s not possible to make everyone happy, you can help reduce unnecessary conflict in your restaurant by implementing the strategies above. For even more conflict resolution tips for your growing business, be sure to see the accompanying resource above.
Author bio: Mihir Korke is Head of Acquisition at Clover Network, a leader in small business credit card processing and POS systems. Clover specializes in restaurant, retail, and personal and professional service payment solutions. With desktop and mobile POS systems, contactless payments, solutions for curbside pickup and online ordering, loyalty and rewards, Clover has multiple solutions to meet your business’s needs.
When creating a chef resume, it can be challenging to showcase your culinary & management skills to the maximum capacity. It is a tricky subject to work with as it is absurd to simply write out all the different dishes and cuisines you know how to cook or all the kitchen management skills you are proficient at.
So how will your chef skills get the recognition it needs?
We know that the work of a chef is much more than just serving food. It may come off as a bit strange, but it is due to management and innovatory skills that a chef moves forward in their career.
If you are a chef at a loss of what to write in your Culinary Resume, we’ve got you covered. Here are 5 tips to make your Chef’s resume shine.
Chef Resume Format
To be a well-known chef takes time and effort, dedicating your time at a local restaurant first and then working your way up. As time goes on, your experiences will become refined and more valuable.
For this reason, a chef’s resume is best written in the reverse chronological resume format. You can do this by listing your most recent work experience first and going backward.
It is the industry standard, is recruiter-friendly, and compliant with the applicant tracking system (ATS), a software that is used by recruiters to screen through resumes faster. Check-out these examples of resume layouts.
In your chef resume, the summary section is the first piece of information that describes your career trajectory, so make sure that it is loaded with the important information.
Here is where you can impress the recruiter to stay on your resume. By categorizing information and maintaining a good cluster of work experience, awards, or honors, you can achieve an eye-catching summary.
In about 4-5 lines, you can write your resume summary by:
Using concise sentences that are not complicated in structure
Starting with power verbs instead of first-person pronouns like I or We
Writing your achievements in cause-effect methodology
Quantifying your accomplishments and listing any honors or accolades
Being a comprehensive brief or your entire career trajectory, draft it engagingly.
It can be quite an exhaustive list if a chef decides to list all of their skills. The key idea here is to categorize information effectively and give an umbrella term for a certain group of skills.
One important point to note is that it is better to list them as individual skills than as verbs. For example, Recipe Diversification sounds miles better than Diversifying Recipes.
Now, is this not a more justifiable list of skills for a chef? You can add a lot more by assessing your areas of expertise and capitalizing on that!
Though there are plenty of chefs with a prerequisite degree in culinary arts, most chefs make the transition from other jobs to cooking out of passion or the will to explore.
Now that we place value in subject-specific education, if one chef has a degree in culinary arts and another chef has two or three certifications in french pastry, a pastry shop will consider the other person more due to their detailed expertise on the matter.
It does not matter if they are theory classes from Udemy or full-fledged baking courses from a culinary institute, list your certifications in the following format: Certification | Certifying Authority | Time period
You can also use these certifications to list any achievements or awards you might have received.
Your work experience section can include full-time, part-time, or internship opportunities unless you want to separate them into different sections.
Instead of drafting a wall of text, there are certain ways in which you can enhance the readability of your resume. Some of them are:
Try to maintain a cause-effect methodology and wrap up an idea in one sentence. Try not to overexplain and keep it concise.
You can use multiple one-liners and provide bullet points if you have multiple achievements in one area but try to skimp down on sentence length.
Start with Impactful Power-Verbs
Instead of starting with first-person pronouns like I or we, you can begin your sentences directly with power verbs such as Conducted, Executed, Spearheaded, and so on, as it denotes authority, management, and a degree of responsibility straight away.
Note these two sentences. On the one hand, we have a normal-looking sentence: * I helped the Mexican cuisine team and increased daily productivity
On the flip side, here is an elevated version: * Supervised Mexican cuisine team to achieve a 15% increase in daily productivity
Grouping and Highlighting
You can achieve a far more readable resume by categorizing information, providing titles, and highlighting any important information. Doing this will help the recruiter understand your career trajectory, and it does not get lost in the wall of text.
You might have plenty of skills as a chef, but knowing how to utilize them on a resume is what will get you the job you have been searching for. Here’s what you take from this blog before you start writing your chef resume:
Use the reverse chronological resume format to list your experiences from the most recent and backward
Summarize your resume by using short sentences written in a cause-effect relation
Add all your certifications in the designated section by using the given format and list any achievements in another, if required
Do not repeat your skills and group common skills under a bucket to make way for other skills as well
List your work experience in a bulleted list and categorize them by the function you undertook
By following these tips and matching them with your job description, the chef coat at your favorite hotel is not impossible to get after all!
Dining at Chef Grant Achatz’s Alinea restaurant in Chicago has been on my bucket list for many years. This year 3 friends joined me to dine at this highly acclaimed restaurant. Alinea is one of only 14 restaurants in the entire US that has 3 Michelin Stars, and since 2015 Alinea has consistently been ranked among the top 50 best restaurants in the world .
Several years ago I was planning a trip to Chicago and 3 months ahead of time I tried to get a reservation at Alinea…no luck, you had to book 6 months out to get a reservation. This year because of COVID they were closed down like most restaurants in the US. So when they began reopening I was able to book with as little as a 2 week notice. The only hitch was that in April you could only book for 4 people…not 1, not 2, it had to be 4. This is probably in order to maximize their seating capacity since during restrictions capacity was at 25% or 50%. So I contacted a bunch of friends until I had 4, then I grabbed it.
Because of their high demand, they also have the luxury of charging you upfront at the time of booking. No refunds, but you can transfer your reservation to someone else. Most restaurant owners would love to be able to set these conditions! But it makes sense for an establishment that is in such high demand. There is no reason why they should tolerate a “no show” reservation. They are in high enough demand that they can set the rules, and I was happy to comply. The final price was $315 including 20% service charge and tax. Then I added the first tier wine pairing plus a couple of whiskeys…$255 w/ tax and gratuity.
The menu lists 8 courses, but some had multiple sub-courses, so if you count the number of dishes used for the progression of dinner, then there are 16 individual courses.
This post simply documents my experience…it is not a critique (who would critique Grant Achatz?!)
Course 1 –
Picholine, Gold, Blood Laurent-Peppier, “Cuvée Rosé,” Champagne, France NV
Bay scallops, picholine olives, grapefruit, onion (shallots?). The sauce had a fabulous opalescent sheen to it and had a consistency which coated everything, as opposed to a sauce which is poured over everything but then the sauce settles. This sauce encompassed, almost suspended, all the components. And the wine was a perfect match, enhancing the dish, refreshing the palate.
Course 2 –
Arctic Char, Maple Syrup, Fish Sauce Smoked Char Roe, Carrot, Smoke Domaine Galévan, Grenache Blanc Blend, Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, Southern Rhone, France 2018
This was a very cool presentation because the first part was presented on the top of the glass, and then the second part was contained in the bottom of the glass, perfectly suspended there until you flipped the glass over. Top: Sous vide Arctic Char, seared half way on top edge but still rare on the bottom, topped with a thin layer of a brûlée-like crust of maple syrup laced with the umami essence of fish sauce. Bottom: Lightly smoked Arctic Char roe, mildly sweet carrot pudding, charred oak barrel tea turned into a gelatin to suspend all these ingredients.
Course 3 –
Alaskan King Crab, Mantou Maryland Blue Crab, William Deas’ Jo Landron, “Le Fief Du Breil,” Muscadet Sèvre Et Maine, Loire Valley, France 2009 et Magnum
The Left Crab dish: King Crab over a Mantou Steamed Bun. The Right Crab dish: Blue Crab Bisque which was intensified in flavor by using crab roe in the infusion. The flavor of the bisque was so wonderfully rich and full it evoked a face-splitting smile on my face…I wanted more! This recipe apparently is inspired by She Crab Soup by William Deas.
Course 4 –
Challerhocker, Périgord Black Truffle, Mustard Russian Cabbage Soup Brussels Sprout, Bacon, Beet Trimbach, “Reserve,” Pinot Gris, Alsace, France 2016
This was a multi-course dish with several stunning interactions with the front of the house team. First, the Russian dolls were placed in front of us, each of us had a different crafted doll. Beside that, a bowl of chilled bright red beet puree laced w/ brussels sprout leaves and edible flowers. We were told to leave the beet dish until last.
We were first told to open the Russian doll. Inside was a very flavorful 2 oz shot glass of chilled cabbage soup (with a backbone flavor of chicken stock) laced with an oil on top.
While we enjoyed the cabbage soup, a complicated, spotlessly clean hand slicing machine was wheeled to the end of the table. A server held a warm head of cabbage which had been sous vide in bacon fat, roasted, charred, and then smoked, which he then put onto the machine and sliced into thin linguini-like “noodles”. These were then turned with a fork to form a small bundle of cabbage noodles and place in separate dishes.
The dishes were placed in front of each of us and another member of the server team approached with a small pitcher and poured a creamy sauce of the Challerhocker cheese over the noodles. As the bottom of the pitcher was reached, a sauce of Périgord Black Truffles began pouring out, creating a black lacey effect over the white Challerhocker sauce. The flavors and textures of this dish were mesmerizing.
Lastly, we were invited to finish the dish with the chilled beet puree laced with edible flowers & brussels sprout leaves. This dish cleansed the palate of the creamy cheese sauce, the lightly smoked cabbage, and the Périgord Black Truffles, opening us up for the next dish.
Course 5 –
Cauliflower, Cheese, Black Curry Kistler, “Les Noisetiers,” Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, California 2019
This course featured a perfectly steamed cauliflower stem pressed into fresh cheese curds dressed with a cauliflower purée, black lentil and black sesame curry with garum masala. The black “crisp” was thin and crunchy, acting as a cracker for the curds.
According to Chef Grant’s Instagram page, this dish was inspired by British Steak and Oyster Pie. Left side of plate: Seared 7X Ranch Wagyu Beef. Right side of plate: oyster custard, onion, oyster mushrooms and oyster leaf tart. Hand-crafted onion ring on top. Center: Guinness-Worcestershire sauce.
In the oyster shell: poached “beef oysters” and mignonette.
This was another multi-dish course. At the beginning of the course, before anything was set before us, the ring of black rocks was placed on the table and set on fire. We were told that it would have meaning later in the dining experience.
The first dish consisted of Venison, Poi, and Pineapple. The venison chop was paired with Poi which is a Hawaiian dish made from the fermented root of the taro which has been baked and pounded to a paste. Next to both of these was a Pineapple “Lei” decorated w/ edible flower petals.
On the yellow plate was the Haupia, “Spam”, Allium dish. Haupia is a Hawaiian coconut pudding, Chef Grant topped this with his version of spam and garnished it with Allium which can be any of a variety flowering plants including onion, garlic, scallion, shallot, leek, and chives. (sorry, didn’t catch which one he used).
In the clear bowl in the back was the Venison, Kukui Nut, Seaweed dish. Unfortunately I don’t have a good description for this dish (should have used a voice recorder!). As a note, Kukui nuts have a flavor similar to Brazil nuts.
Coconut, Black Bread, Banana Chutney At this point, the ring of fire had burned low. A waiter took a pair of tongs and extracted 4 cleverly hidden (hiding in plain sight) black “rocks” from the ring of black rocks. But these 4 were actually a Black bread made with black sesame seeds. They were place on plates along with a coconut pudding and banana chutney (under the violet petal).
For the finale one of the sous chefs came out, put 4 triangular shaped plastic sheets on the table, and decorated each of them for the dessert course. This is now a classic for Alinea and I teased her (the sous chef) that it is an iconic thing and they could probably never stop doing it. Then I asked how they were selected to go to the guest’s tables to paint this course. Did they take turns…draw straws…assigned to do it…want to do it or hate to do it (most cooks don’t like the spot light in front of guests). She demurred from an honest reply and said something professional instead.
The restaurant business is tough, especially when it comes to managing costs. If you are a chef, restaurateur, or food service manager then you know that food cost control is essential in order to be successful. Every chef is judged on a financial basis by his/her food cost. If your food cost looks good then you are in great shape, but if your food cost is bad then you could be in a heap of trouble.
But how do you manage it? Food cost control can be difficult to keep up on, especially when you already have so many other things on your plate. It requires constant monitoring and adjusting. A food cost problem could be the result of over portioning, incorrect recipes and/or costing, excessive waste, a bad inventory process, an accounting error, a misunderstood sales mix, or so many other variables.
The most important thing for you to know is that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. You need to be able to customize your approach based on your specific needs and circumstances. Fortunately, Chefs Resources has the articles, video tutorials, and chef-friendly Excel tools that can help make this process easier.
Here are 4 helpful tools available on Chefs Resources to help you find and resolve food cost problems.
1. The 40 Thieves of Food Cost
If you have read the 40 Thieves of Food Cost then you know that solving the problem can be very complicated because there are so many possible areas where food cost can go bad, many more “possibilities for error” than many chefs or managers even realize.
The forty thieves is a step-by-step process that will help you identify the root cause of a high food cost, or a fluctuation in food cost. It’s a tried and true method for analyzing the many variables that go into figuring out why your food cost is too high. You don’t have to be an expert in accounting or finance to use this guide, although it is lengthy it is easy enough for anyone who has ever run a restaurant before.
Use the 40 Thieves to identify the specific issues you need to focus on, and at the same time gain a better perspective on the areas of food cost control that you & your team already excel at. And also use it to impress upon the staff the importance of managing all aspects of the restaurant.
2. Accurate Recipe Templates
There are many different programs for recipe templates out there. However, as a chef I prefer using Excel because it is such a powerful program to use and you can not only write the recipe but also cost them out too. Another benefit of using Excel is that you can put multiple recipes in each workbook, so you can have all the recipes of a feature dish including the starch, a special vegetable preparation, the sauce and so on in separate tabs all in one Excel workbook (seem image below).
Whether you’re a small family-owned business or the owner of an international restaurant chain, calculating your recipe cost is essential to the profitability and survival of your restaurant. When calculating your plate cost, you want to be sure that you include every food item which goes into it (duh! But people often forget things…) Items which tend to be overlooked are the incidentals such as the free bread & butter, the ketchup, the fryer oil for French fries, a side dish included with an entrée, or the chocolate you give each guest with the bill. These are items served with each meal but they’re not charged for, yet you need to figure them into your food cost.
Items such as rolls & butter are often included in the recipes for all entrees, thus accounting for the cost of them. Ketchup may be worked into the recipe cost for a burger, or perhaps into the recipe cost for French fries. The cost of fryer oil can be worked into the cost of all fried foods, or perhaps evenly distributed to all entrees, especially if the guest has a choice of sides which may include a fried food option.
Another commonly overlooked aspect of recipe costing is yield percentages. Do you really believe that you will always get 100% yield from your mayo bucket, your salad dressings, your #10 can products? Is the crew really going to use a rubber spatula to get 100% yield? Doubtful.
And what about vegetable yields? If your recipe calls for 8 oz of onion is the cost of the discarded root and skin factored in? This is known as AP (As Purchased) cost -vs- EP (Edible Portion) cost. Apply this to all your vegetables, beef, chicken, seafood, etc. If you trim these items and have loss due to the trim then that yield percentage should be worked into your recipes otherwise they will always calculate a cost which is lower than your actual cost, and therefore your actual food cost percentage at month end (period end) will always be higher than you expect. Check-out our plate cost template to help get more accurate recipe costings!
Inventory management is one of the most important components of managing your food cost. Controlling your month end food inventory and food cost is essential both for your business as well as for your own professional reputation. It is amazing how many managers & Chefs don’t know the value of shelf-to-sheet counting -vs- sheet-to-shelf counting and how this one technique can be responsible for major shifts in food cost.
Don’t just give your inventory to the accounting department and trust that they will do things correctly! I find errors in accounting software and/or methodology every month. Very the numbers, cost extensions and process before and after final closing.
Controlling your end of month food inventory revolves around four specific tasks: correctly taking inventory, verifying credits & transfers, verifying the pre-closing process, and reconciling discrepancies. This series of articles will go over each step in detail so that you can be confident in knowing what needs to be done when it comes time to close out the month.
4. Know Your Sales Mix!
If you’re not measuring your sales mix, you’re missing out on a key metric that can help you understand how profitable your business is.
Sales Mix is an important part of the restaurant industry and understanding it will allow for better decision-making in all aspects of your menu and running a successful restaurant. It’s also essential to know what percentage of your revenue comes from each dish & category (appetizers, entrees, etc.) so that you can make informed decisions about pricing, marketing, menu development and more. This will allow you to make more informed decisions about pricing and product selection in order to maximize profits.
Sales Mix is an evaluation of your Theoretical Food Cost based upon total items sold for a given period. Based upon what you sold this should be your food cost…assuming no waste, no comps, no mistakes, etc. Sales Mix calculations also often compare the theoretical food cost with actual food cost, as well as the margin generated from the items sold.
Tracking & understanding the relationship between Theoretical Food Cost, Actual Food Cost, and Margin gives you a significant advantage when it comes to evaluating restaurant health and swings in Actual Food Cost from period to period. Read more about Sales Mix to understand why a “bad” food cost is not always a bad thing!
No professional chef will feel satisfied with a set of cheap, blunt knives or low-quality pans. If you’re serious about becoming a respected chef, you must ensure your kitchen is stocked with quality equipment that can help you create Michelin-star-worthy dishes.
If you want to take your culinary skills to the next level, check out the six tools every professional chef has in their kitchen.
1. A Set of High-Quality Knives
Every pro chef owns a set of high-quality knives. If you don’t have the money to spare for a full set, you must at least invest in:
The above three knives can help budding and pro chefs cut every item they need to create delicious dishes. Also, you must buy a reliable knife sharpener to care for your knives throughout the years. Check-out some of our knife reviews!
2. A Wooden Cutting Board
Stone or glass cutting boards might complement your kitchen, but they will dull your knives. Instead, buy a heavy-duty wooden cutting board. It can prevent your knives from becoming blunt, it will withstand wear and tear, and it has antimicrobial properties. However, you must replace them every few years to prevent a build-up of bacteria.
3. An Instant-Read Thermometer
Every chef will want to serve perfectly cooked food each and every time. It doesn’t matter if you are a pro chef or a home cook; you should add an instant-read thermometer into your kitchen. It will allow you to measure your food’s temperature, which can appear on a digital display. So, you will know when salmon is fully cooked or when a steak is ready to be removed from the pan.
4. A Cast-Iron Pan
If you want to sear your chicken breast or steak like a pro, you must use a cast-iron pan. It will provide a flawless sear every time, as it will conduct heat well. It is an ideal pan to use when trying to caramelize the surface of red meat or poultry. Plus, with a little care and attention (known as seasoning), a cast-iron pan could last a lifetime, and it will get better with age.
Alternately, a quality stainless steel pan with a thick bottom also provides a nice sear. Some of the more high-end brands have copper center cores surrounded by stainless steel.
5. A Blender
It doesn’t matter if you specialize in French cuisine, Cajun food, or Indian cuisine; you must buy a blender. The handy tool can help you create delicious purees, sauces, and soups in an instant. However, you will get what you pay for, so don’t be afraid to splash out a little extra for the gadget to ensure it never lets you down in the kitchen.
6. A Microplane
If you haven’t already done so, invest in a microplane. It is a must-use tool when you want to finely grate food, such as parmesan cheese, lime, or chocolate. It could help you provide the perfect finishing touch to any starter, main, or dessert.
So, if you want to serve great-tasting dishes time after time, add the above items to your kitchen.
Any experienced chef understands the importance of a good kitchen knife. They’ll have their favorite knife – their bread and butter that they automatically reach for.
Experimentation, however, is useful beyond just improving your favorite dish. And in recent years, more and more chefs have begun to experiment with different Japanese knife types. Unlike their Western cousins, Japanese knives are a lot more specialized. From the rectangular Usuba or the triangular Honesuki, these Eastern knives have a lot of variety to them.
The 5 following Japanese knife types, however, are ones that every chef should consider adding to their arsenal.
The 5 Best Japanese Knives To Add To Your Arsenal
The Gyutou is very similar in appearance to your typical Western chef knife. It’s even capable of performing many of the same tasks that its Western counterpart can perform, including cutting meat, fish and vegetables. The Gyutou, however, is much better at rocking motions. This also means that the Gyutou is a very versatile knife.
Unlike most other traditional Japanese knives, the Gyutou can easily substitute for a Chef’s Knife. Material-wise, the Gyutou is usually very similar to the knives we are familiar with. You can expect steel that is extremely tough with a hint of softness. Due to these similarities, the Gyutou is commonly referred to as a Japanese Chef’s Knife.
Like the Gyutou, the Santoku is also a very versatile knife. It combines many of the aspects of knives from both the West and the East. As a hybrid knife, this means the Santoku is also a great choice as a general all-purpose knife. However, a Santoku knife has a block-like tip similar to a Nakiri and a thinner profile with a curved cutting edge. The result? A knife that excels at slicing, chopping, and mincing.
Thanks to the shape, the Santoku also ends up being much more precise than the Gyutou. Unlike Western knives, however, the Santoku is ground at a shallower angle creating a knife with a delicate edge that is harder to sharpen.
Like the Chef’s Knife, the paring knife also has its Japanese equivalent. In this case, that would be the Petty knife. Named after the French word “petite”, the Petty knife is as small as you would expect. These knives also come in different sizes so you have a fair share of options no matter your hand size.
As you would expect from a paring knife, the Petty is perfect when it comes to peeling fruit or vegetables. Likewise when it comes to intricate work on the cutting board. All in all, the Petty makes for the perfect choice for any chef’s arsenal.
It’s easy to mistake a Sujihiki for a Chef’s Knife. That would be a mistake as, despite the similar looks, these two couldn’t be further apart. The Sujihiki is any chef’s first choice when it comes to trimming away fat from meat.
Due to the long blade and acute edge angle, the Sujihiki can easily cut through ingredients. This makes it great when it comes to slicing or filleting delicate fish. Sushi, for example, is much easier to cut with a Sujihiki than any other knife. If you’re a chef with a passion for fish, the Sujihiki is a knife you don’t want to ignore.
The Pankiri is a favorite among many chefs. Of course, that has more to do with the fact that it’s the only serrated widely used knife in Japan. As you would expect, this means that Pankiri is the perfect choice when it comes to cutting bread.
Unlike Western bread knives, however, the Pankiri has a long and lightweight blade that is perfect for cutting through a hard crust without crushing the soft insides. For any chef getting into Japanese kitchen knives, the Pankiri is the perfect entry point. This is especially true if you have a passion for bread.
When it comes to knives, the Western style knife is the most popular. Most cooks not raised in Japan will be well accustomed to your typical Western kitchen knife. Many chefs today, however, are starting to discover just how wonderful a Japanese knife is. In fact, Japanese kitchen knives have started to become quite popular among a lot of forward-thinking chefs.
This rising popularity can actually raise the question of which is better. The answer, however, isn’t quite so simple. Although Japanese knives have quite a few positives to them, they also come with their fair share of negatives.
The price of a Japanese style knife, for instance, can be quite high compared to your typical German knife. Likewise, it can also be quite difficult to even get a hold of a Japanese knife. Thankfully both of these problems are starting to lessen as the popularity of Japanese knives continues to grow.
Many online retailers, for example, are starting to sell these knives at affordable prices. Pretty soon, the decision on which style of knife to use will come down to personal preference. Many Japanese knives, for example, are highly suited to cutting vegetables or delicate meats like fish.
How To Choose The Right Japanese Knife
So you have decided that a Japanese knife is right for you. Now what? How should you go about deciding on which of the many Japanese knife types is right for you?
The first step, of course, is figuring out just what exactly you need in the first place. A Pankiri or Santoku are both wonderful knives, but they are pretty pointless if you already have a favorite Chef’s knife or serrated bread knife.
If you’re looking for a change or a replacement knife, however, they can easily fit the bill. But once you know what style of knife you want, there are still a few things you should take note of.
Knife quality can vary quite widely among different knife brands. Sure, your favorite knife maker may be great at making German knives, but what about Japanese ones? It’s a good idea to check out a wide variety of brands before you make a choice.
Likewise, be sure to try out a variety of different styles of knives. Although you may only be looking for a specific style, Japanese knives have a tendency of making you second guess yourself. Before you know it, you may end up an aficionado for Japanese style knives.
The Right Knife Makes All The Difference
Cooking is fun and a good knife can go a long way in making it even more enjoyable. No matter what level of experience you have, you can never go wrong when it comes to shopping for new kitchen knives. And with the increasing popularity of Japanese knives, the amount of options you now have is greater than ever. Like their Western counterparts, these types of knives come with their own intricacies that can be a joy to explore.
No matter what type of chef you are, there’s little excuse for you not to have a Japanese style knife in your arsenal of cooking tools.
15 Features Food Experts Say to Look for in a Kitchen
Your kitchen is one of the most important and most used areas of your home, and for anyone who loves to cook, having a functional workspace makes all the difference. A kitchen should not only be large enough to work in but should have all the most necessary features to allow you to cook with ease, whether you live in a condo or in a house. Take a look at what some experts had to say about important features to have in a kitchen if you love to cook.
Budget-Friendly Restaurant Remodeling Projects to Increase Safety Standards
Business owners are itching to reopen their establishments just as much as customers are itching to visit their favorite businesses and get back to some semblance of a normal life. However, reopening must be done properly to ensure the health and safety of both customers and employees. Fortunately, there are several budget-friendly remodeling projects business owners can complete to increase their establishment’s safety standards. Read below to learn more!
Partitions and Safety Dividers
Installing partitions and safety dividers in your establishment is an effective way to increase safety. Many establishments are already requiring customers and employees to wear face coverings upon entry to help prevent the spread of airborne bacteria, germs, and viruses. These physical barriers can help further keep employees and customers safe by limiting airborne spread even more.
These glass or plexiglass partitions allow customers and employees to see and hear each other during their transactions. They are fairly easy to assemble and can be installed in many places, commonly at cash registers and anywhere else where transactions occur. You could also put your retail products behind glass dividers.
E&E Exhibit Solutions, a trade show, and event company, has been providing retailers, businesses, and healthcare providers with partitions in the Tempe, AZ area. This practice should become more widespread to protect employees and customers worldwide as they resume frequenting businesses.
Portable Hand Washing Stations
Handwashing and sanitizing are important ways to maintain good health and must be diligently maintained throughout the reopening of restaurant and retail establishments. Many have already provided customers and employees with hand sanitizer and plastic gloves upon entry, but portable hand washing stations provide more thorough levels of cleanliness.
They are especially beneficial in retail and restaurant locations because people are frequently touching items such as menus, credit card kiosks, and items on shelves. With a high number of customers frequently touching the same items, there is a heightened risk of exposure to bacteria and diseases. Fortunately, portable handwashing stations can help curb the spread of infectious diseases. Portable handwashing stations can be purchased from many different retailers and are fairly simple to install and assemble.
Install a Ductless Mini Split
Air quality and ventilation are two important factors of a healthy indoor environment. Indoor air pollution can contribute to the spread of infectious diseases, and the concentration of some pollutants or bacteria is even higher indoors than out. One way to improve ventilation and indoor air quality in your establishment is by upgrading your HVAC system and installing a ductless mini-split system.
Over time, harmful materials can build up in the ducts of central HVAC systems. These can be spread throughout the building during operation, which can directly decrease air quality. Fortunately, this concern is eliminated with a ductless mini-split in your business.
Ductless mini-splits are highly efficient HVAC systems that can create the perfect indoor climate while improving air quality in your establishment. They consist of one outdoor compressor connected to one or more indoor air conditioners by a series of copper wires and pipes.
Ductless mini-splits are available in single and multi-zone systems, meaning they can adequately heat and cool a business with multiple rooms, floors, or levels. They offer many benefits for business owners.
For example, they are highly efficient, which leads to lower energy costs and a reduced environmental impact for your business. They are also available in many different styles to meet the aesthetic and space needs of your business.
Inside of each air conditioner, there is a filter that removes harmful airborne contaminants such as dust, dirt, debris, and other bacteria. It can also eliminate moisture from the air to prevent mold and mildew growth. Removing harmful airborne contaminants will improve your building’s indoor air quality and create a safer environment for both employees and customers.
Enhance Your Outdoor Area
Experts agree that outdoor areas are safer than indoor areas, especially in the early phases of reopening. Businesses can make simple changes to their outdoor areas to create a safer environment for employees and customers.
Whether they are socializing or waiting to enter the indoor area, ensure that customers have adequate space outside. Paint circles or use other clear markings to show where people should stand or wait outside. Restaurant owners could purchase outdoor tables, chairs, or barstools and space them out properly to provide customers with enough distance between those around them.
There could also be partitions put up between tables, as this would also provide a heightened sense of comfort for patrons as they assimilate back into society. You could also purchase shelves or display racks for outside of your store if your retail establishment has adequate space outdoors to do so.
Door knobs and handles are touched by virtually all patrons upon entering and exiting the premises, which means they can harbor various types of bacteria and germs that can spread rapidly. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent this type of spread.
Installing automatic doors can allow customers to freely enter and exit the premises without ever touching a potentially contaminated doorknob or handle. These doors use sensors to detect approaching people and will remain open for long enough for them, or other nearby patrons, to pass through.
Hands-free door openers have also been designed and produced using 3D printers that allow customers to open and close a door without touching the doorknob or handle. These could be provided to customers, but they must be properly sanitized and cleaned to eliminate any bacteria.
These simple steps can help increase safety standards in your restaurant or retail establishment that will pay off in both the short- and long-term future. Business owners must remain diligent throughout the reopening process, as providing a safe atmosphere for employees and patrons will not only increase health but comfort levels as well.
The top culinary schools have a lot of clout in the food world and can open many doors. Getting a formal training provides you with the technical tools and mental discipline needed to perform at your best in this competitive and, at times, brutal industry.
But these schools can also be very expensive and pay in the first few years after graduation is generally poor. So before you commit yourself to a career in the restaurant industry, be sure it is something you really want.
Named after the world-famous Auguste Escoffier, the school follows a farm-to-table philosophy that teaches students where food comes from and encourages them to respect local resources and sustainable practices.
Located in the US with campuses in Boulder, Colorado, and Austin, Texas, the accredited school specializes in culinary and pastry arts education offering diploma and degree programs. Students receive career services assistance while in school and after graduation.
One of the most respected culinary institutions in the world, the Culinary Arts Academy prepares students for their future career, focusing on entrepreneurship as well as kitchen skills. With an approach to culinary traditions that reflects modern trends, trainees will become expert in international cuisine from traditional culinary basics to international fine-dining methods.
Located in Switzerland, this a highly selective school with just 300 students is based in two campuses, Lucerne and Le Bouveret.
Students will enjoy the unique internship opportunities available through industry juggernauts such as the Ritz Paris and Ritz Escoffier.
The Culinary Institute of America spans coast to coast and even has an international campus in Singapore. All three of the US campuses offer associate degrees and a variety of other programs for food and wine enthusiasts. Only the institute’s main campus in New York offers a bachelor’s degree.
The Napa Valley, California Campus hosts a one-of-a-kind Food Business School teaching what’s needed to deal with the challenges of running a foodservice, while the Hudson Valley, New York campus operates four public restaurants specializing in Italian cuisine, French cuisine, American cuisine, and café foods where students get real life experience.
The institution has a long list of notable alumni, including the famous Anthony Bourdain, whom the Institute honored with a scholarship in his name.
Le Cordon Bleu is one of the most illustrious institutions for culinary education, and considered the guardian of French techniques. The first woman in her class, Julia Child, graduated in 1949 and the school includes a popular demo on boeuf bourguignon in her honor.
With 40 campuses spread over five continents, Le Cordon Bleu is the largest culinary and hospitality school in the world.
Their one- to four-day courses and workshops are considered the passport to a world of career opportunities. Le Grand Diplôme® is an intensive and comprehensive program in classic French culinary techniques that combines Diplôme de Pâtisserie and Diplôme de Cuisine.
The award winning Institute of Culinary Education located in Manhattan, New York offers several programs covering every interest and skill level, including recreational cooking and continuing educating courses.
The New York campus provides opportunities for advanced creativity in its bean-to-bar Chocolate Lab, an indoor hydroponic herb garden and vegetable farm, a Culinary Technology Lab fitted with a tandoor oven, vertical rotisserie, and dedicated spaces for mixology and wine studies.
Notable alumni include Vivian Howard, Ed Behr, Rachel Yang, Marc Murphy, Mashama Bailey, Elisa Strauss, Zac Young, Denisse Oller, and many more.
Founded in 1997, Apicius International School of Hospitality is now a thriving center of learning for cuisine, wine, and hospitality. Set in the beautiful city of Florence, the school provides lectures, workshops, and seminars across its three locations in the city.
It has state of the art facilities including three learning labs that link students with the local community for experience in hospitality, catering, and management, and its very own pastry shop, Fedora, that showcases student work.
Their Certificate Career Programs are unique for their combination of in-class learning and practice in the field.
Based in the heart of London, Westminster Kingsway College operates across four campuses and has an excellent reputation in Culinary Arts and Hospitality.
The programs are designed to fit those from the very young but passionate to adults taking a turn into a new career. The range of courses starts with the Young Chef Academy, going up to the Grand Escoffier Diploma, offering six kitchen-based modules
Business and Hotel Management School, one of the world’s leading hospitality schools offers programs for specializing in the culinary arts.
Students acquire all the fundamental skills needed to work in a real kitchen, from food preparation and presentation to kitchen management, all through hands-on training and classroom learning.
The BHMS offers a full range of qualifications over three years, each year building on their acquired skills, providing students with the specialized knowledge necessary to open their own culinary or catering business.
10. New England Culinary Institute, Montpelier, USA
Combining tradition with innovation, the New England Culinary Institute, located in the capital of Vermont, offers both degrees and certificates in culinary arts, hospitality and restaurant management.
To enhance their degree, students can choose a specialty such as sustainability, learning about sourcing local foods and being environmentally conscious, and wine and beverages. Culinary arts and baking options can also be combined or paired with management for a specific career focus.
Notable alumni include Alton Brown and Heather Terhune and the founders of Ben & Jerry. Chef David of Chefs-Resources also attended NECI.
11. Gastronomicom International Culinary Academy, France
Founded by Matine Lessault, this international culinary academy set in the charming town of Agde in the south of France enrolls students from all over the world.
Aimed at beginners and professionals, three basic courses in French cooking, pastry, and French language can be taken in a range of programs that involve hands-on classes and internships. There is also a Diploma in Gastronomic Cooking or Pastry
Both courses offer internships at luxury hotel-restaurants in France including room and board.
For lucky pastry students, Johanna Le Pape, 2014 world champion of sweet arts, provides a masterclass.
Here, in Barcelona, you will find cookery courses that nurture creativity and innovation. The school prides itself on its unique methodology, rejecting traditional teaching of following recipes, and instead focusing on product, technique and context. Their students become chefs able to innovate, to solve problems, and to adapt to whatever products in whichever circumstances.
Whether you want to become a chef, build on your experience, or want focus on management, the school has well-designed courses for all.
One of the most renowned culinary schools in Asia, the Hattori Nutrition College was established in 1939 by the Iron Chef, Yukio Hattori. As well as culinary courses, the College provides dietary education based on “Shokuiku”, the Japanese term for “food education”.
The school president says it is “acquisition of knowledge about food and nutrition, and the ability to make appropriate decisions through practical experience with food, with the aim of developing life on a healthy diet.”
The school develops chefs able to bring joy to the table through focusing on technique, practical training, and a developed sense. The Nutrition Course teaches diet coordination for maintaining health.
Not every culinary student out there dreams of becoming a prestigious executive chef in a world-famous restaurant. Many people go to culinary school with the sole purpose of becoming an independent personal chef. So, what is the personal chef job description?
Personal chefs are self-employed entrepreneurs who help people with planning and preparing meals; they also help prepare one-off menus, cook at parties and other special events, help to do grocery shopping, develop special meal plans based on specific dietary needs, and more. The job varies from client to client depending on their different needs and preferences.
Hiring a personal chef may have been considered a luxury in the past, but that’s certainly not the case now. In today’s busy world, it’s quite common for an individual or a family to hire a personal chef to come in once a week and prepare a week’s worth of meals.
As a personal chef, you have the freedom to choose your hours, clients, and salary. However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, either. Like with any other job, this profession also has its drawbacks.
Today, we’re going to take a look at the pros and cons of this exciting profession. By the end of this article, you should be able to decide whether or not being a personal chef is a good fit for you.
Personal Chef Job Description -vs- Private Chef
Before we dive any deeper into the advantages and disadvantages of being a personal chef, we have to address a widespread misconception: a personal chef is NOT the same as a private chef.
A private chef works as an employee with only one person or family as a full-time chef. It’s normal for a private chef to live in the same household as the people employing them. They usually prepare up to three meals per day, among other things.
On the other hand, personal chefs work with several clients as independent freelancers. This means that they’re in charge of marketing themselves, covering operational costs, sending out invoices, and all the other “fun stuff” that comes with running your own business. Not to mention, personal chefs rely entirely on themselves to build a steady income.
Most personal chefs work with one client per day. They often get hired to prepare and “flash freeze” a week’s worth of meals, but they may also be in charge of shopping for groceries, creating menus, as well as keeping their clients’ kitchens clean.
A personal chef could be contracted to cover a special event such as a party or a wedding, sometimes with short notice. People with special dietary needs may also hire a personal chef to create menus and prepare meal plans that either they, or other cooks, prepare. In short, a personal chef puts his or her professional expertise at the service of anyone who may be in need of it.
Personal and private chefs have very different roles. Being a personal chef can be an amazing gig, but it is not for everyone. Why is that, and what are the best and worst aspects of being a personal chef? Let’s dive into the pros and cons of being a personal chef! After all, that is what you came to find out, isn’t it?
Pros of Being a Personal Chef
You Get To Be Your Own Boss
Personal chefs may work with several clients to make their monthly income, and they’re usually in charge of marketing and business administration for themselves. They are entrepreneurs, with all the perks and drawbacks that involves.
Business owners get to decide who they work with, how much they’ll charge, the number of hours they’re willing to work each week, and their days off. At least in theory, because often small business owners spend much more time on their business than employees.
However, these are luxuries that are unavailable to the traditional executive chef. They are employees, with scheduling set by a boss and must be available during the hours required by their employment.
Like all freelancers, personal chefs control their potential income by setting their own rates, upsells, and offers. They can choose to do hourly work, or sell packages that bundle services for a lower rate but more consistent work, find retainer clients, or do any combination.
A well-established personal chef in the U.S. can easily charge anywhere between $30-$40 per hour. Of course, if you’re starting out, you’ll have to start with a lower rate to gain traction.
The amount of money you can earn as a personal chef depends on your experience, references, and how well you market your services. Other factors that play into what you can charge are your niche and the location you operate in.
Chefs who work at restaurants don’t usually get the chance to build meaningful relationships with the people who eat their food. On the contrary, a personal chef knows their clients. They must, to create fully customized menus based on their particular preferences and needs.
As a personal chef, you will likely get more reaction to your creations than a restaurant chef would. It’s not uncommon for individuals and families to show a lot of appreciation and love for the person in charge of preparing their daily meals. That’s a serious plus.
Yes, personal chefs need to adapt their cooking to their clients’ preferences and requirements, but this doesn’t mean they can’t be creative. A lot of people want your suggestions and expert advice. Some don’t, and those clients will be very regimented in what they want you to prepare.
If you’re the type of chef who likes to experiment and let their creativity and intuition run free, seek clients who are looking for that. Not only does this job allow you to create unique dishes and combinations (while using your clients’ well-equipped kitchens), but it also provides an excellent opportunity to increase your repertoire of recipes to a whole new level.
Autonomy and Variability
Does the idea of a busy kitchen with many chefs of varying hierarchies, kitchen staffers, and waiters annoy or bore you?
If working in an enclosed space with people running around all over the place and yelling out instructions for hours makes you twitch, you should probably consider becoming a personal chef.
A personal chef can enjoy the tranquility and quietude of a home kitchen, usually with little-to-no people around. You certainly don’t have anyone yelling out instructions at you, and you get to decide the processes and techniques to be used when preparing meals.
Travel & Exclusivity
It’s common for personal chefs who work with wealthy people to get invited to travel with them. A lot of celebrities and wealthy people hire personal chefs to cook for them all the time.
Personal chefs who work in high-end markets and who keep their clients happy are often presented with opportunities to work at exclusive events, travel to different parts of the world, and meet interesting and famous people.
All of this while doing something they love. More often than not, personal chefs get to work in dreamy kitchens. Sometimes, they even get to harvest high-quality ingredients and herbal teas or ingredients from their clients’ organic gardens.
There are a lot of things that can go wrong while you’re cooking and storing meals in someone else’s home or workplace. If you damage a house, someone’s equipment, or if your clients fall ill as a result of eating your food, you’ll be an easy target for lawsuits and claims against you.
If you don’t have public liability insurance to help you resolve such claims, your reputation, and future work opportunities will be at risk.
Public liability insurance is a crucial business expense that every professional personal chef should cover.
It’s Physically Demanding
A chef is a chef, and everyone knows that chefs have to be on their feet for long periods of time. It’s just one of those things that can’t be avoided.
The personal chef job description is, by no means, an exception to this rule. The physical activity that comes with the job can be just as intense as traditional restaurant kitchen work. However, most private kitchens do not have anti-fatigue matting like many restaurants do.
If you’re thinking about starting a personal chef business, make sure to buy non-slip shoes and anti-fatigue matting to reduce the strain on your back and feet as much as possible.
Clients Can Be Tough
Yes, you’ll get to learn lots of diets and cooking styles as a personal chef, but that only comes as a result of overcoming tough challenges. Personal interaction with your clients comes with a downside… negative reactions.
You have to remember that there are all kinds of people in the world, from extremely delicate allergies and other health conditions to very unusual and hard-to-decipher tastes, as well as people who are simply difficult to work with.
Like any other job, personal chefs don’t always have it easy, and they have to get out of their comfort zone to further develop their professional skills.
After analyzing these pros and cons, you should be able to get a broader view of what the personal chef job description is really like.
Sure, you get to run your own business and have a lot of control over who you work with and how much you earn, but you also have to take care of everything that comes with running a business and learn a lot about food safety and special diets.
What do you think? Do you feel that being a personal chef is the right thing for you? Let us know in the comments!
Author’s Bio – Megan J. Howard
After she had to quit her job as a teacher in 2016 due to osteoarthritis, Megan started her freelance writing career specialising in online learning copy. As she was researching many topics around arthritis, she decided to partner up with a long-time friend and built Find my Footwear. She spends her days writing, binging reality fashion series and hunting down the best stinky cheeses in town. FindMyFootwear.com