2022 BBQ Trends

January 3, 2022

2022 BBQ Trends and What to Expect in the New Year

Oh, the smoky and sweet flavor of an amazing BBQ. Doesn’t it just make your mouth water instantly? There’s not much food-wise that beats the tantalizing flavor of meat cooked over an open flame or smoked in a well-seasoned smoker. It’s a culinary art that many people take very seriously. If your happy place is standing over hot coals making some delicious BBQ or want to improve your BBQ menu, then you want to find out the latest trends and tips to make it a fantastic experience that you’ll brag to your friends about. This goes beyond a basic slab of baby back ribs and BBQ chicken to explore flavors and chef-driven recipes that will surprise and delight. Here are the best in 2022 BBQ trends and what to expect in the new year.

2022 BBQ Trends

International Fusion Flavors

Chefs all over America are infusing new and interesting flavors that you wouldn’t ordinarily think of being associated with BBQ culture. Specifically, for 2022, a sustainable spice company Dutch Spices predicts that Asian, Middle Eastern, and South American spices will be a big hit with BBQ flavors.

For example, that could mean a Thai red curry marinade for a rack of ribs, a chimichurri sauce as a finisher, or using liberal amounts of the seasoning spice, za’atar, which is a staple in Middle Eastern cooking. Za’atar is a dry blend combination of savory herbs like oregano, cumin, toasted coriander, sesame seeds, and sumac to give it some extra tang. It’s the perfect complement to dry rub chicken thighs over an open flame or BBQ turkey legs.

Out of the Ordinary Meats

Think outside of the box with meats that are anything but chicken breasts and ribs. That includes less popular and inexpensive cuts like the tri-tip, pork steak, or even beef tongue. It’s all about the technique of how you BBQ, as opposed to securing just the right filet mignon or St. Louis style ribs, that everyone has had a million times before.

Plant-Based BBQ

At the other end of the spectrum, more and more people are leaning into grilling and BBQ that’s plant-based. Although, that may seem like the complete opposite of what a great BBQ should be to most traditionalists.

Plant-based BBQ that’s tasty enough to satisfy even your non-vegan friends is a challenge, but with a recipe that features BBQ cauliflower steaks from Ree Drummond of the Food Network, it just might be your new favorite way to enjoy vegetables. You just have to try it at your next gathering to understand.

New BBQ Restaurants Everywhere

Some patrons don’t know how to make the perfect BBQ at home, thus why one of the biggest trends of 2022 is new BBQ restaurants popping up everywhere. There’s an influx of innovative new chefs that are taking BBQ to a whole new level. Some of the newest places to try in 2022 that are already doing exceptional work are 2Fifty Texas BBQ in the metro D.C. area, Jon G’s Barbeque in North Carolina, and Hurtado Barbeque in Texas. Each of these restaurants was voted the “Best New BBQ” by Southern Living Magazine for 2021.

New 2022 BBQ Trends Gear and Gadgets

Every year, the popularity of BBQ food rises, as do the trends of new BBQ gear, grills, and smokers. Pellet grills are becoming increasingly popular, and BBQ grill manufacturers are doubling down on pellet grill innovation and improvements. Expect to see more smart technology included into these grills, such as virtual assistant integrations like Alexa, as well as additional mobile app integrations and automation.


Posted In:Uncategorized

Instagram Tips for Chefs while Working in the Kitchen

Instagram Tips for Chefs to Improve their Instagram Following

Want to establish a cult following for your culinary biz without spending a dime? Instagram is the vehicle to make it happen. Here are a few Instagram tips for Chefs to increase their following.

Social media has proven to be a powerful marketing tool for brands and businesses in almost every industry. The culinary realm is no exception. In this Instagram-obsessed era, expanding your culinary brand’s online presence and visibility is more important than ever. While paid advertisements and word-of-mouth are great, forgetting to optimize your social media to elevate your brand would be doing your profession (and bank account) a major disservice.

How Chefs can use Instagramimage source: Pexels free image


As a chef in the modern world, cameras are as essential to your craft as a spoon and chef knife. While consumers have always loved eating and photographers have always appreciated the beauty of food, Instagram has changed food culture forever. Thanks to Instagram, amateur-friendly editing apps, viral content, and the birth of IG influencers, it’s easier than ever for anyone to be a food critic with magazine-quality photos and captions.

There is no doubt that the digital foodie-craze is here to stay and chefs would be smart to learn from it and cater to it when running their business. Knowing how to harness the power of Instagram can cultivate a larger following, bring in more customers, and elevate your brand in ways that simply weren’t possible just a few years ago — all for free and at the touch of your fingertips.

Here are some ways for chefs to stay Instagram-able while working in the kitchen and bring more customers to your table:

1. Switch to a Creator Profile

Using a personal account for your business means you’re missing out on valuable features that could optimize your exposure. Switch your account to a creator profile via your settings to unlock exclusive features like insights and ads. These features aren’t available on a basic personal account and give you the tools necessary to maximize your reach on Instagram. For instance, you’ll be able to analyze your audience’s behavior and optimize your content to boost the demand.

2. Use Hashtags

Speaking of optimization, killer content is just the start. Hashtags can be a driving force in getting your posts in front of more eyeballs so use them. There are over 178m pics tagged #food on Instagram and over 56m tagged #foodporn. Like these, there are thousands of culinary-related hashtags relevant to your chef-stagram. Take time to do a little research and find the ones that make sense for you to help you reach even more people. Some common hashtags include: #chefslife #chefsofinstagram #theartofplating #artofplating #foodart #chefstable

3. Take Better Photos

This is probably the most important of our Instagram tips for Chefs. Instagram is all about aesthetics and visual storytelling. Lucky for you, you don’t have to double as a professional photographer to get swoon-worthy food pics on Instagram. The right lighting, editing app, and filter can go a long way. Watch a few tutorials and try experimenting with different kinds of posts till you find what works. You’ll know you got your visuals right when you start noticing a boost in your engagement rates. Pro tip: think of a theme or format for your Instagram grid (your profile) and stick to it. For instance, maybe your thing can be that all your photos are taken from overhead with every other photo being a chef-related quote. Don’t be afraid to get a little creative!

4. Interact with your Audience and Other Creators

Don’t just post it and forget it. To stay Instagram-able, you have to take time to engage with your followers. Not all influencers and content creators put focus on doing this, so putting effort into engaging with your audience can set you apart from other creators in your niche. Use poll features for recipe suggestions and content feedback, to ask questions about ingredients, or to reply to comments and tagged posts. Don’t neglect other creators either — tag your favorite brands, interact with influencers, and build relationships. You never know when your favorite brand might hook you up with free merch (like your favorite chef’s knife or apron) in exchange for some love on your account and vice-versa.

5. Stay Active

Consistency and frequency are key in being successful on Instagram. Make a content creation schedule and stick to it. By doing this and posting regularly, you can use teasers to engage with your audience by keeping them waiting for your “Friday Night Dinner Recipes” or “Craft Cocktail-of-the-Day”. When accounts get too passive, they lose momentum and people move on. Stay active and stay consistent to keep their attention.

As a chef, mastering Instagram is simply part of the game today. While it might take a little trial and error at first, you’ll find that you can be Instagram-able without having to master digital marketing and photography. Most importantly, remember that while it is a tool for your business, it doesn’t hurt to have a little fun with it. Just like you experiment with recipes, don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to Instagram. Who knows? You just might be the next viral sensation.

More Ideas

Want to explore other ways to increase your Instagram following and likes? Check out these ideas.


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How to Deal with a Difficult Guest

August 15, 2021

When Customers Behave Badly: Ways To Respond

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.

How to Deal with a Difficult Guest

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.

Posted In:Hospitality Industry

5 Tips to Make your Chef Resume Shine

How to Write a Chef Resume

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.

Make a Chef Resume

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.

Resume Summary

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.

Chef Skills

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.

Some skills you can mention are:

  • Culinary expertise
  • Menu Update
  • Hygiene and Sanitation
  • Recipe Diversification
  • Quality Control
  • Product Rotation
  • Budget Management
  • Training & Mentoring Staff
  • Inventory & POS Systems
  • Off-site Event Experience

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!

Certifications Section

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.

Work Experience

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:

Use One-Liners
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.

Key Takeaways

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!

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Dinner at Alinea 2021 – the Cuisine of Chef Grant Achatz

May 5, 2021

Dinner at Alinea – May 2021

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?!)

Alinea Menu May 2021

Course 1 –

Picholine, Gold, Blood
Laurent-Peppier, “Cuvée Rosé,” Champagne, France NV

Alinea Scallop dish Picholine, Gold, Blood

first course wine

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

Alinea Arctic Char, Maple Syrup, Fish Sauce


Smoked Char Roe, Carrot, Smoke


second course wine

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

Alinea King Crab and Blue Crab Bisque

Alaskan King Crab, Mantou

Maryland Blue Crab, William Deas

third course wine

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

Alinea Russian Doll

Russian Cabbage Soup

Alinea Cabbage Slicer

Challerhocker, Périgord Black Truffle, Mustard

Brussels Sprout, Bacon, Beet

fourth course wine

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

Cauliflower, Cheese, Black Curry

sixth course wine

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.

Course 6 –

7X Ranch Beef, Oyster Mushroom, Oyster Leaf
Beef Oyster, Oyster, Mignonette
Emilio Moro, “Malleolus,” Tempranillo, Ribera del Duero, Spain 2017

7X Ranch Beef, Oyster Mushroom, Oyster Leaf

Beef Oyster, Oyster, Mignonette

sixth course wine

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.

Course 7 –
Maui Hui

Venison, Poi, Pineapple
Venison, Kukui Nut, Seaweed
Haupia, “Spam”, Allium
Coconut, Black Bread, Banana Chutney
Turley, “Presenti Vineyard,” Zinfandel, Paso Robles, California 2019

Alinea Haupia,

Venison, Poi, Pineapple

Alinea Fire for Black Bread


Coconut, Black Bread, Banana Chutney

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).

Course 8 –

Meyer Lemon, Blueberry, Viola
Bodegas lLs Bermejos, Malvasia “Naturalmente Dulce” Canary Islands, Spain NV

Alinea Painted Table Dessert



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.


Posted In:Uncategorized

Food Cost Control – 4 Helpful Tools to Manage Food Cost

April 23, 2021

Food Cost Control – 4 Successful Tools

managing food cost
Source: Pixabay

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).

Food Cost Control Recipe Template

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!

3. Correct Inventory Taking Method & Verifying Closing Inventory

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!

Follow this link to check-out all our food cost spreadsheets!

Posted In:Kitchen Management

6 Tools Every Professional Chef has in Their Kitchen

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.

Posted In:Uncategorized

5 Best Japanese Knives for Chefs

by knifebuzz.com
February 2021

The 5 Best Japanese Knives To Add To Your Arsenal

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

1. Gyutou

Asai PM Damascus Gyuto KnifeThe 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.

2. Santoku

Tokageh Santoku 7 inch Classic SeriesLike 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.

Japanese Petty Knive3. Petty

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.

4. Sujihiki

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.

5. Pankiri

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.

Pankiri Bread Knifeimage source wafuu-honpo.com

Are Japanese Knives Better Than Western Knives?

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.

Posted In:Uncategorized

Features to Look for in a Home Kitchen

Redfin’s latest article featured us:

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.

15 Features Food Experts Say to Look for in a Kitchen

Posted In:Uncategorized

Budget-Friendly Restaurant Remodeling Projects to Increase Safety Standards

July 15, 2020

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!

Restaurant COVID-19 Remodel

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 Improvements

Restaurant Sanitation Remodel with Automatic DoorsDoor 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.


Posted In:Uncategorized

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