Culinary Cues

What Customers Don’t Know About Restaurant Work

Culinary Cues

More difficult than you may have thought, more chaotic than you might expect, more poetic than you realize, and more fulfilling than you would understand: this, to me, describes the environment of the professional kitchen that few customers are able to view or experience.

THE 2021 CHEF SKILL SET

Culinary Cues

It is always safe to say: “things change”. Change is an inevitable part of life and as we all know if we fail to recognize that and adapt – we can become obsolete.

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A CHEF’S LETTER TO CONGRESS

Culinary Cues

When approached, as it should be – your position is very challenging, at times – almost impossible.

THE KITCHEN MAGIC OF CHEF PHIL LEARNED

Culinary Cues

Our industry recently lost a giant of the professional kitchen. Chef Phil Learned stood tall in the kitchen of The Balsams Grand Resort in Dixville Notch, NH.

2021 384

Reader Survey 2021 Restaurateur Connection

Can you believe we are in 2021? 2020 was a challenging year for restaurateurs. Here at Restaurateur Connection, we have worked tirelessly to provide guidance and a sense of community for our readers. Restaurateur Connection’s many thought-leaders eased the physical distance between us by sharing their wisdom and empathy. Our goal is that through our site, we helped make 2020 as rewarding as it was challenging. We would love for you to share your experience about how our site has affected your learning, and also your thoughts on how to make it better. The total time to complete the survey is 3-5 minutes. To view the survey, click the “View Now” button.

CULINARY SCHOOL – STICK YOUR TOE IN THE WATER BEFORE BUYING A BOAT

Culinary Cues

There are a handful of very significant decisions that we make in life – decisions that involve tremendous commitments of time, effort, focus, and yes – money.

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The Breakfast Cook – Tough, Dependable, Organized, and Fast

Culinary Cues

There are cooks and there are cooks – each has his or her list of responsibilities, required skills, and bag of tricks. Just because you are listed on a schedule as a cook does not necessarily mean that you are adept at filling every position under that designation.

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A CHEF’S REFLECTIONS

Culinary Cues

The most challenging part of difficult times is living in the moment. Today is what gives us the most angst since we live in uncharted territory with all of the unpredictable factors that align with it.

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MARC MENEAU – ONE OF THE WORLD’S GREAT CHEFS

Culinary Cues

There are chefs who have mastered the craft of cooking, chefs who have built a public brand that defines a region or exemplifies a cuisine; there are others who give to their community and as a result uplift those who call that community “home”; and there are those who push cooking in new and exciting directions.

CHEFS – WHAT DOES YOUR MENU REPRESENT?

Culinary Cues

Consider this – the menu is the most important component of a successful restaurant and once designed it can, and should, impact every other aspect of the business.

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THE RESTAURANT ECO-SYSTEM NEEDS HELP

Culinary Cues

There are a number of reasons why restaurants fail – some are predictable and avoidable, while others can catch a business off guard. None, however, are as devastatingly out of the operators control as this pandemic. Even the best operators are at a loss for solutions.

Restrictions into Opportunities: How to Make Your Restaurant Succeed

Speaker: Patrick Cottrell and Joe English

The restaurant industry has changed so dramatically in the pandemic era that it's time to redesign your business strategy. This requires us to take a look at our menus, inventory, staff, and even our seating strategy. Whether your state allows outdoor dining, takeout only, or a little bit of both, we're here to help. Join Patrick Cottrell and Joe English from Sculpture Hospitality, and fit your restaurant to thrive in face of pandemic restrictions.

CHEFS – FAILURE IS NOT INEVITABLE

Culinary Cues

It seems that every time I check my email or flip through postings in social media – there is another restaurant, food business, or culinary school preparing to close their doors.

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IN CHALLENGING TIMES DON’T MAKE CLASSIC BUSINESS MISTAKES REMEMBER THE TOP ELEVEN

Culinary Cues

Difficult times in business can never be addressed with complacency. This is the time to double your efforts rather than allow yourself to get caught up in the malaise. There is always opportunity beyond business survival for those who commit to moving forward.

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WHAT RESTAURANTS HAVE LEARNED DURING THE PANDEMIC

Culinary Cues

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SUCCESSFUL CHEFS – WHAT CAREER KILLERS TO AVOID

Culinary Cues

Rest assured, at some point restaurants will rise up again, clubs and hotels will measure success based on occupancy and food service activity, and the position of “chef” will be center stage in driving sales and measuring profitability.

CHASING THE DEVIL – SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN THE RESTAURANT BUSINESS

Culinary Cues

Joe is a single guy, young and well educated, quiet yet personable enough, incredibly talented as a cook, reflective, and a closet alcoholic. From the perspective of the chef who reigns in charge of the restaurant where Joe works – this young line cook is an ideal employee.

2020 354

Webinar Survey 2021 Restaurateur Connection

Can you believe we are in 2021? 2020 has been a challenging year for restaurateurs. Here at Restaurateur Connection, we have worked tirelessly to provide guidance and a sense of community for our readers. Restaurateur Connection’s many thought-leaders eased the physical distance between us by sharing their wisdom and empathy. Our goal is that through our webinars, we helped make 2020 as rewarding as it was challenging. We would love for you to share your experience about how our webinars have affected your learning, and also your thoughts on how to make it better. The total time to complete the survey is 3-5 minutes. To view the survey, click the “View Now” button.

REMEMBERING THE PROFESSIONAL LEGENDS IN YOUR LIFE

Culinary Cues

We are a blend of our experiences and the people whom we let in to our lives. Everyone and everything influences the personal and professional product that we become.

CHEFS – YOUR EMPLOYEES JUST MIGHT HAVE THE ANSWERS

Culinary Cues

We all know the challenges facing restaurants right now – there is little benefit in reiterating the problems. The question is: “What’s the answer?” Of course the pandemic is the cause and the effects are either a direct result of that or the necessary restrictions that evolved from Covid.

2020 280

COOKS AND THE SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS

Culinary Cues

Sweat was creeping down Alex’s back. The line was just 15 minutes into the 7 o’clock push and the board was full. The pressure was on, but Alex was on his game – he was wearing an ear-to-ear smile because he knew he was in the zone.

COOKS AND CHEFS – WE ALL CRAVE DISCIPLINE

Culinary Cues

Let’s not confuse freedom with a desire to do whatever we want without a system of order or respect for the discipline of structure. We can both be free and still respect the need for that discipline that comes from organization.

THE COOK’S INTELLECT

Culinary Cues

Anyone who has tied on an apron in a professional kitchen understands the physical nature of the work. We know about the aching muscles, the throbbing feet, the faltering knees, and the heat – did I mention the heat?

A CHEF’S 2020 LAMENT

Culinary Cues

. They say that hindsight is 2020 – that being so, there is plenty for us to reflect on and determine how we might have done things differently. The fact is, we can’t go back, but we can look forward. At this point we are all hoping that 2020 will just fade from our memories.

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TEAM COMPETITIVENESS IN THE KITCHEN

Culinary Cues

Create a Team Built to Win.

A SOMBER DAY – WE SHOULD NEVER FORGET THE SOUL OF AMERICA

Culinary Cues

Never Forget. Nineteen years later – what does 9/11 continue to mean to America and the world? This is a day that must give us pause, a day of unthinkable horror that will always be remembered by anyone born before 2001.

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A LETTER TO CULINARY SCHOOL GRADUATES

Culinary Cues

First and foremost – congratulations on earning your degree or certificate. This is an accomplishment that over the course of your lifetime will reward you tenfold. Know that the degree or certificate is more than an acknowledgement of the skills and knowledge that you have gained – it represents your level commitment and discipline that will serve you well.

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THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT INGREDIENT IN THE MAKING OF A GREAT CHEF

Culinary Cues

Is it possible to narrow down the secret of greatness to one ingredient? What could it be? Is it really that simple, or in this case is simplicity really complex?

2020 263

CHEFS – FINE TUNE THOSE SENSES

Culinary Cues

The kitchen sensual army. There are many things that differentiate cooks and chefs, but none more important to the customer experience and the reputation of the restaurant than mastery of the senses.

IT’S STILL A TIME OF THANKSGIVING

Culinary Cues

For most people this will be a different Thanksgiving, a day without the traditional celebrations of large family gatherings, a day with far too much leftover turkey as we attempt to keep some semblance of normality through the bounty of the table.

2021 271

STRENGTH, GRACE, AND DIGNITY

Culinary Cues

I am in the process of reading Chef Dominique Crenn’s autobiography: Rebel Chef. I have long been a fan of her style and passion for expressive cooking, but it is these three words that solidified, in my mind, how a chef should run his or her kitchen: Strength, Grace, and Dignity.

OUR DAILY BREATH: WHAT RESTAURANTS MEAN TO SOCIETY

Culinary Cues

Cooking for others is one of the oldest professions known to humanity. Since fire was first discovered – we have enjoyed and developed the skills to cook, eventually season, and finally plate prepared food to please other people. Cooking is one of the most admired and appreciated skill that allows the cook to express his or her history, traditions, ethnicity, and skill while engaging guests in a story.

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A COOK WITHOUT A KITCHEN

Culinary Cues

They say we’re back. The kitchen lights are back on, deliveries arrive, the battery of ranges is fired up, and cooks (some of us) are welcomed back. Somehow, it just doesn’t feel right. After four months of idle time – time without a schedule, time without a chance to do what cooks normally do – this kitchen just seems vacant.

DON’T JUST RE-ARRANGE – CHANGE THAT RESTAURANT

Culinary Cues

Take a breath, hold on and think it through, turn on a dime, change or be changed, now is the time, don’t jump to conclusions, don’t forget what got you to this point, the past is the past – move on, the conflicting words of advice are swirling around us and restaurateurs and chefs are caught in the middle like a ship without a rudder.

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OUR DAILY BREATH: POST COVID KITCHENS – GET READY

Culinary Cues

Restaurants will get the green light at some point. When the data demonstrates that the virus is somewhat under control – whether that is the end of May or later, we all know in our hearts and minds that things will be different. Guests will not likely flock back to our operations, there will still be a considerable amount of trepidation, especially since pre-vaccine life will still include the threat of virus transmission.

OUR DAILY BREATH: IDEATION AND SCENARIO PLANNING

Culinary Cues

Part of ideation is dealing with the challenges faced today as well as those to come. We may not be able to predict the future, but effective managers are always sifting through the “what if” scenarios and building a strategy for dealing with them. As we are seeing so vividly right now – when we fail to plan for the possibilities we will always wind up chasing the problems rather than moving past them.

WHY RUNNING A CLUB KITCHEN MIGHT BE THE TOUGHEST AND MOST SATISFYING CHEF POSITION OUT THERE

Culinary Cues

The tasks of the chef are fairly universal: planning menus, putting your signature on each dish, hiring and training staff, ordering product and building vendor relationships, controlling costs and adhering to budgets, maintaining a clean and safe kitchen environment, etc. So, wouldn’t it be safe to say that if you can manage a kitchen – you can manage any kitchen? The answer is emphatically – no. Sometimes the difference is the shear scale of the operation.

CHEFS: BUILD A TEAM – KEEP A TEAM

Culinary Cues

There is no issue more pressing, and no task more important than building a kitchen team and establishing a culture of retention. Yes, I do mean a culture of retention.

2020 354

OUR DAILY BREATH: CHEFS & OPERATORS – KEEPING YOUR TEAM TOGETHER

Culinary Cues

This is another time when we can rely on what we know about human nature and what keeps people whole: physically, mentally, and emotionally. I once again turn to the wisdom of Abraham Maslow as a guide through this difficult time, a crisis unparalleled in modern times. Those of us in the restaurant industry are in shock at the speed and severity of destruction to the core of our businesses. Everyone seems to be gasping for breath and starved for direction.

OUR DAILY BREATH: PROFESSIONAL COOKS – DON’T DISMAY – KNOW YOUR STRENGTHS

Culinary Cues

Too much idle time leads to reflection and analysis. What am I doing” is a question that some will ask: “What am I capable of”, is of equal concern. If you have been cooking at a professional level, if you have always been driven towards doing things right and have shunned mediocrity, and if you have approached your job in the kitchen with passion and commitment, then answering these questions can be straight forward. “I I have spent years in the kitchen and now I am without a job.

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OUR DAILY BREATH: CHEFS AND RESTAURATEURS – DON’T WASTE THIS TIME

Culinary Cues

Desperation has sunk in for those of us in the restaurant business. We know that closure is a reality for at least 30 more days and likely longer than that. The only adjustment that can be made is the heartbreaking decision to furlough employees or consider permanent closure of operations. Some try and paint a brighter picture by projecting that as soon as the quarantine is lifted – people will return in droves to their previous lifestyle and fill those empty restaurant seats.

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OUR DAILY BREATH: AFTER COVID-19 RESTAURANT CONCEPT IDEATION

Culinary Cues

If you are a chef or restaurant owner I would like you to begin today with a significant question: “If I had to build this restaurant concept all over again, knowing what I know now, what would it look like – how would it be different? You may never have a better chance to ask and answer this question than right now. This is the beginning of IDEATION and the purpose of the process. There have been many days when you have probably said to yourself – “I should have done that differently.”

WHY IS A PARTICULAR CHEF’S FOOD SO MUCH BETTER THAN ANOTHER’S?

Culinary Cues

Every chef has experienced it and as a result he or she will relate to the content of this article. There are times, possibly many times, when you question your own skill – whether in cooking or presenting food, or even with the operation of a kitchen.