There’s more to being a successful chef than having all the right equipment and knowing how to turn ordinary into extraordinary. Food that is cooked while you’re wearing your daily garb just doesn’t look/taste the same as when you’re wearing the proper chefs’ attire. The uniform gives you that extra oomph that your food needs to be anything less than perfect. Anything less than perfect is unacceptable for your profession.
Even though, when we think "chef", we visualize a tall white hat, jacket, and pants, in truth a chef’s uniform is a combination of more accessories. The majority of chefs do not don the entire uniform. However, any chef working in an upscale restaurant or hotel will surely be required to dress in most of, if not all, the attire. Some tips to consider when buying chef’s uniforms:
- As any chef can attest, a restaurant kitchen is hot and stuffy. Therefore, make sure to buy clothing that are comfortable and give you just enough room to breathe. You still want to portray a professional, neat, clean look to your customers, so make sure not to overdo it on the casualness. Bear in mind that clothing that is too loose is a fire hazard.
- Chefs’ whites can be made out of different fabrics. Your choice of fabric should be based on what your criteria is – comfort, heat resistance, stain cover-ups, etc. Most chefs opt for the cotton uniforms since cotton is the coolest fabric available, and can also endure frequent washing at higher temperatures.
- Uniforms are available in colors such as white, black, gray, black and white checkered, etc. The most popular choice is a white jacket and dark colored pants. The white gives you, your kitchen staff and the customers the impression of professionalism and cleanliness. The dark pants are the best way to hide stains if you choose not to wear an apron.
Think plastic and elegance cannot go hand-in-hand? Plastic dinnerware can be much more practical than regular china or glassware, since you save on money, as well as avoid having to worry about breakage and losing the real stuff. Plastic dinnerware is a must during the spring/summer picnic/barbequing months.
Most plastic dinnerware is manufactured from one of the following materials: melamine, polycarbonate, SAN, or good ol’ plastic. Can’t make your mind up on which material to go with? The following information will give you a better understanding of the difference between each material and help you decide.
Melamine resin is an organic compound often used in kitchen utensils and dinnerware. It should be handled like any fine quality dinnerware. Although better than plastic, when melamine is exposed to high heat, the heat will cause it to decompose. Therefore, it is not safe to place melamine products in either ovens or microwaves since they take in the microwave radiation and heat up. However, they can be places in a dishwasher. Melamine is a thermoset plastic. Therefore, it cannot be melted down and, as a result, cannot be recycled through melting.
Although we’re already more than a month into Spring, I can guarantee you that a large majority of restaurant owners have yet given their restaurants that much needed, well-deserved deep cleaning, as well as a good buffing. It is much easier for you, as the owner and/or chef, to skip the spring cleaning. However, studies show that if you want your customers to return, you better get those gloves on and do the following:
- Though your kitchen gets it daily wash-down, there are many areas in the kitchen and dining area that are either overlooked or just go unnoticed, ie. the top, sides, behind, in and underneath equipment; beneath raised counters or appliances, hoods, filters, walls, ceilings, light fixtures, etc.
- Mopping your floors on a daily basis is good for cleaning the actual surface. However, while mopping, the dirt gets stuck in the pile and grime and grease tend to build up on the tiles and in the grout, causing it to discolor. Giving it a good deep cleaning or steaming once a year will restore your floors to its original color.
- If you have carpeting in the dining area, all regular vacuuming actually does is remove the surface dirt. Deep cleaning your carpets yearly will suck out the tough dirt stuck in the carpet, leaving you with fresh plush looking (and smelling) carpets.
No kitchen can survive without fry pans. They can be used for practically anything from sautéing to stir-frying. It is probably the most versatile of the pans. There are so many different types of frying pans that are made out of different types of material. Using the wrong type of frying pan can turn your cooking extravaganza into a nightmare. Get to know your frying pan before using them to get the best results the first time around.
- Copper frying pans are the cream of the crop. They are superior in heat conductivity and are extremely durable. However, being the cream of the crop comes along with a price tag which makes it out of reach for most homes. Cooper also tarnishes quite quickly, and therefore requires maintenance in order for them to keep that impressive shine.
- Stainless steel frying pans are very durable, require much less maintenance than copper and are also more budget friendly. Although they do not conduct the heat the same way that copper does, they do a pretty fair job at distributing the heat. The biggest downside of it all is that food does tend to stick to the frying pan unless they are very well greased.
Whether you’re a baking expert or a novice, you’ve got to admit that baking can get pretty sticky at times- usually the most inconvenient ones. I would venture to say that the most frustrating baking experience is when you’re done putting all of your blood and sweat into making your cakes and cookies just so, and having half of it stay behind in the pan.
Here are just a few tips that will help you get the most out of your baking experience.
When working with cakes, make sure to grease and flour the pan before pouring in the batter. I find the best greasing agents are either solid shortening or non-stick cooking spray. For lighter colored cakes, grease the pan then sprinkle with some flour. Wait two minutes for the flour to absorb into the grease before adding the cake batter. For darker colored cakes, substitute the flour with some cocoa. The flour/cocoa creates a ‘wall’ around the cake, allowing the cake to slip out easily while keeping its form.
Have a bad feeling about your cake being stuck to the pan? Warm up the pan just a tad by placing it over steaming water or a hot oven for no longer than two minutes. The heat will loosen the grease, making it easier for the cake to pop out.
When it comes to proper hygiene in commercial kitchens, it is something you want to make sure you have down pat. You want to make sure that all the safety measures and health rules are being carried out to the "T" for the benefit of yourself, your employees and your customers.
No one can argue that obtaining a health certificate when opening a food establishment is a breeze compared to maintaining the cleanliness once the establishment is up and running for a few months. No inspector is coming to check up on you day in and day out. Therefore, it is really up to you, as the chef, owner, or manager, to make sure that all the rules and regulations are being carried out by every single employee. Losing your health certificate means losing your customers and ultimately, your business.
- First things first, let’s start at the very beginning. Keep all your workstations dirt and germ free, wash all dishes in soapy hot water, change uniforms daily, wash your hands in warm soapy water after working with raw food or touching anything other than the food you’re working with, and after sneezing or coughing.
- Install two sinks in your commercial kitchen, a single sink that is designated for hand washing and a double commercial one for washing dishes.
When planning a large gathering in your home, there is a certain peace of mind knowing that you have a dishwasher that will help you get rid of the oversized stack of dishes that would otherwise pile up in your sink. A dishwasher can be of a huge help when loaded, run and taken care of properly. In addition, it uses less time, energy, and water than hand washing.
- Scrape off any excess food before loading the dishes. Pre-rinsing is not necessary.
- Check all containers for stickers and make sure to remove them.
- Use the suggested amount of dishwasher detergent, and place it in the designated area.
- Always run the dishwasher using the hottest water option available.
- Use commercial detergent, or vinegar for hard water.
- Stay away from gels since they tend to clog up the soap dispenser, they leave a cloudy film on glassware, and stick to the interior. They also have a tendency to leave spots when used with hard water. What’s more, gels usually include bleach, which is no good for the dishwasher’s rubber seal.
- Make sure to leave enough room for the washing jets to reach all items in the dishwasher and to allow for the washing arms to spin freely.
Pizza and Americans have become inseparable. Actually, pizza can be found in approximately 180 countries around the world. Ever wonder how pizza came to be so popular and famous? To start with, pizza originally started out as a food for poor people. Being that food couldn’t be stored for too long, the Italians had to think of ways to finish up their bread. They would top their thin bread with all different ‘leftovers’ and add spices over it. And so pizza came to be.
Although pizza has been around for ages, literally, it only started becoming famous in the 1900’s. These days, every pizza shop adds some kind of a twist to their pizza. Be it a secret ingredient in the dough or sauce, or some different kind of topping. The best part of it all is that you can get the pizza fresh out of the oven, delivered straight to your front door, still piping hot. Thanks to the pizza delivery bag, pizza has become even more popular.
With such a wide variety of pizza bags to choose from, and a large price range, how do you know which pizza delivery bag is right for you?
Thermal bags are the cheapest and most commonly used delivery bags. They simply retain the heat from the pizza. No gizmos or gadgets. Thermal bags are constructed of either vinyl or nylon.
You know that restaurant you’ve been keeping an eye on for quite some time now but is way beyond your budget? Well, now is the time for you to indulge. Many upscale restaurants are offering three-course lunch meals for a total of $24.07 and dinner for $35.00. Some tips to keep in mind when dining out during Restaurant Week in NYC.
1. Chances are that you are not the only one that has been keeping an eye on that specific restaurant. Make your reservations as early on in the week as possible to be guaranteed a table. In the event that the restaurant is completely booked, don’t give up. There are people who end up canceling their reservations the day of so do call the morning of- you might get lucky.
2. Many of the upscale restaurants have great food and service but tend to downgrade somewhat when it comes to Restaurant Week. Make sure you ask around and find out what the restaurant is like so as not to end Restaurant Week on the wrong foot.
In addition, make sure that you will not be overspending and that you can’t actually get the same meal that they are offering on Restaurant Week the rest of the year for less than the Restaurant Week special.
Living in a fast-paced society, where everybody is always on the run, it would only make sense to have all your needs on the run as well. Whether it’s for a quick scrambled eggs and bacon breakfast, a short lunch break with a slice (or two) of pizza and fries, or a pleasant night out at an upscale restaurant with family and friends, most people have no time, or don’t want to have time to wait for more than two minutes before digging in.
Since food preparation is your source of income and timely service to your customers is of the essence, a commercial microwave oven is a necessity. It is simply the most practical piece of equipment to own when you’re running against the clock. No matter what kind of food establishment you own, food always has to be either defrosted or re-warmed and dashed out to the anxious costumer. I would venture to say that in 92% of the cases when a microwave oven is used, the customers have no idea that the food was cooked, frozen and now defrosted and warmed up once more in a microwave.
- Microwave ovens tend to heat the food in more than half the amount of time that stoves and ovens do.