Food pairing, the art of creating sometimes unusual ingredient combinations based on the science of flavor components, is a beneficial skill for every professional chef. Even if you are not a master of molecular gastronomy, knowing which fruits go with which meats or what outlandish-sounding condiment perfectly complements a certain dessert can only help your business. Take an educated risk and round out your menu with memorable dishes that will impress but that your rivals will not think to make.
Heston Blumenthal and Experimental Cooking
A great deal of the credit for modern food pairing techniques goes to Chef Heston Blumenthal, the famous modernist chef of The Fat Duck. Knowing that salt brings out the flavor of white chocolate, Blumenthal experimented with several combinations of white chocolate and salty foods before making the discovery that white chocolate and caviar form a perfect team. He had the foresight to inquire of a scientist as to possible reasons for the match (the chemical composition of the two foods turns out to be similar), and a new method of food pairing was born. He followed this epiphany with other intriguing pairs, like coffee with garlic and salmon with licorice. This is one scientific approach to the culinary arts that does not require special restaurant equipment or chemicals
As a professional chef, you possess a wealth of knowledge regarding the science behind the culinary arts. Understanding how proteins break down during the marinating process, the properties of fat and oil, and the characteristics that determine different cooking times for different products keeps chefs at the top of their game. Molecular gastronomy and molecular mixology take this kind of information a step further, enabling professional chefs to invent dishes and drinks that customers have never seen before and will not be able to purchase anywhere else. If you love a creative and scientific challenge, get ready to use your favorite bar shakers in ways you never thought of before.
Modernist Cuisine: See-Through Pasta
El Bulli’s Chef Ferian Adria, a pioneer in the discipline of molecular gastronomy, offers clients a truly surprising experience – transparent ravioli. He creates see-through pouches from potato starch and soy lecithin which dissolve immediately upon contact with water. They remain fairly unaffected if touched by oil or many other liquids. Customers dip the ravioli in the chef’s green pine cone infusion to begin the dissolution process, then quickly put it in their mouths, where the contents burst onto the tongue. Another avant-garde technique involves carbonating berries and other fruit through the use of dry ice or by filling a carbonating siphon with carbon
Superfoods, nutrient-dense products that remain unprocessed and offer a range of positive effects on consumer health, provide a simple way of increasing your restaurant’s appeal. Since superfoods receive regular attention from the mainstream media, building a healthy restaurant menu around a few of the most common ones takes just a little effort. You probably offer some of these foods already and can therefore focus on different ways to feature them. Slow cooking with commercial kitchen equipment such as bains marie adds to the nutritional cachet.
Common Superfoods For a Healthy Restaurant Menu
Well-known superfoods like blueberries, walnuts, and yogurt have the advantage of being easy to add to a variety of menu sections. Blueberries contain huge amounts of antioxidants, potassium, and vitamin C as well as phytoflavinoids. These properties make them powerful weapons against inflammatory diseases and lower consumers’ risk of cancer and heart disease. Walnuts possess both Omega-3s and antioxidants. Yogurt protects the immune system and colon while providing calcium to many lactose-sensitive individuals since it is easier to digest than milk. Salads, dips and tapas, and desserts act as great bases for these ingredients. You can incorporate blueberries into a main dish by concocting a blueberry confiture to serve with duck. Walnuts can be combined into a salmon dish, doubling your superfood clout. Serve a sauce with the salmon made of
Since Celiac disease, a condition marked by sensitivity to gluten, affects at least one out of every 133 Americans, a great number of potential customers seek dining establishments and caterers that can provide a gluten free menu. These clients are also concerned with whether restaurant supplies have touched regular orders, since cross-contamination often causes symptoms. Not only wheat – including derivatives such as spelt and semolina, but also rye, barley, and triticale contain gluten. Oats, though technically gluten-free, sometimes cause illness in those with Celiac disease. Divesting your restaurant entirely of wheat products is unnecessary, but you should be able to offer a decent range of gluten-free menu items covering every category from appetizers to desserts. Adapt some of your regular offerings and make sure that your target audience notices.
Gluten Substitutes and Naturally Gluten Free Dishes
Many of your current menu options may already be gluten-free or nearly so. Just ensure that either none of your restaurant supplies touch gluten-free dishes without being thoroughly washed or that you keep a set of the necessary equipment for use only with gluten-free dishes. Use particular caution in this matter; you should not even let the cake stand cover touch a gluten-free plate because of the risk of transferring crumbs. Unprocessed foods with no preservatives or additives are the most likely candidates for making gluten free dishes. Fresh fruits and vegetables, rice, potatoes, and eggs all lack gluten in their natural states. Fresh meat and fish, nuts and seeds, beans, and the majority of dairy products also fit this classification. Obviously, breading must not be used. Watch out for sauces, oils, store-bought spices, and flavorings, including flavored yogurts as these can all contain gluten or may have been manufactured or packaged in factories where gluten
So many professional chefs dream of opening their own restaurants, and many more probably would if financing a restaurant were not such an issue. Knowing how to find, approach, and follow up with prospective restaurant investors gives you a distinct advantage over many would-be industry rivals. A professional, can-do attitude and a well-written restaurant business plan will serve you well in this endeavor.
Find Investors and Write a Restaurant Business Plan
In order to approach investors, you need to be able to find them in the first place. Join entrepreneur and other business associations to make connections with potential investors. Even if no suitable investors turn out to belong to the group, other members can point you in the right direction. You may want to avoid competition by posing your inquiries to businesspeople in relevant fields who are not necessarily chefs. Hotel owners, for instance, are likely to know investors who might be interested in restaurant investment. Friends, relatives, co-workers, and customers who can vouch for you make valuable references and may be in a position to contribute an investment. Your dedication, talent, and work ethic will be less of a question in their eyes than a stranger’s if you have done your job correctly thus far. Once you find one or more investors with whom to meet, write a business plan. Make it as detailed as possible so that you know exactly what you need and what you can offer your investors before you meet with them. Pay special attention to how much you will need to spend on professional kitchen equipment and a lease or down payment for a space. If you can, hire a professional to help you write the business plan and to
In a business as competitive as the food service industry, every penny that you can turn into profit rather than expenditure helps. Cutting down on ingredient waste, buying the right products at the best prices, and especially inviting the most suitable people to join your team are a few of the methods that will keep you under budget while enabling you to maintain the highest standards of quality. You can offer your clients the finest dining experience while remaining frugal in your spending habits.
Ingredient and Restaurant Supply
Reducing food waste remains the most effective way for professional chefs to save money. Always have a mandolin slicer set ready so that you can use as many vegetable scraps as possible. Serving specialty sauces and other unique but inexpensive additions for low-cost main courses boosts your dishes’ market value. Of course, using local and seasonal produce usually guarantees better prices as well. Negotiate discounts with suppliers and determine whether you will get a better deal on essentials by
Running a restaurant necessitates a great deal of hard work and expertise. As a restaurant owner, your right hand is your manager. Hiring someone who can handle the job can only be done by knowing the basic restaurant manager responsibilities and the personal qualities that the job requires. A restaurant manager should be equally willing to wipe down the countertop display case and fill in for an absent crew member. The key is to define the criteria and qualifications particular to the position and identify the perfect mixture of experience and character in potential hires.
Experience-Related Restaurant Manager Duties
While you can fill some positions in your eatery with candidates who make up for their lack of experience with dedication and a willingness to learn, experience makes up the most vital aspect of your restaurant manager’s resumé. A good restaurant manager knows how to perform every single job in a restaurant, from dishwashing to keeping accounts. Good financial sense and skills, backed up by relevant computer skills and expertise in the use of all commercial kitchen equipment. Notably, the person you hire for this job has to truly understand the extent of the demand on personal time and energy it will take, and the most surefire way to ensure that understanding is to hire someone who has
Each year, the food service industry places more emphasis on local, seasonal produce, and for good reason. Using seasonal fruit costs less, tastes fresher, and leaves a more positive mark on the environment. Better still, since customers share these industry values, seasonal fruit and other environmentally-friendly produce give you a beautiful advertising opportunity. Supplement your menu’s year-round favorites with fruit-filled ice cream dishes, pies, and other adaptable fresh choices to keep your clients satisfied in every season.
Plan Ahead with a Commercial Freezer
Revamping all of your fruit selections may not be feasible. Introduce change gently by preserving most of your current options. Any fruits that freeze well should have a place in your reach-in commercial freezer. This holds true especially for perennial favorites with a fairly limited season, such as blueberries. You can enhance year-round recipes with touches of seasonal fruit by inventing intriguing blends. Experiment with combinations like bananas with blueberries or strawberries with apricots until you
Product unavailability and the issue of being short staff have always plagued professionals in the restaurant industry. Remaining mindful of the possibility of either of these events can assist you in avoiding them entirely. Maintaining excellent inventory and always having back-up staff available are invaluable practices. If one of these restaurant problems occurs nonetheless, having a plan in advance will help you deal with the situation efficiently, professionally, and with as little aggravation as possible.
Out of Product Panic
Every restaurant owner dreads the news that his commercial kitchen supply of any necessary product has been exhausted. To prevent this situation from occurring in your restaurant, keep a meticulous inventory and check it often. Take note when a particular dish gains popularity to avoid the unpleasant surprise of a future ingredient shortage. Additionally, freeze any herbs and other products that freeze well, even if this means stocking ice cube trays filled with sauces. For an in-the-moment fix, place a notice on the menu or ensure that your servers notify clients before handing them the menu of a specific dish’s unavailability. In the meantime, improvise an intriguing replacement dish with the products that you have on hand. This way, you will hopefully avoid disappointing a customer. Be clever with your wording. Rather than pointing out directly that you are unable to serve the usual platter, the notice or server should phrase the announcement in a positive manner. Explain that instead of the affected menu item, you are serving a limited-time special. If you play your cards right, your customers will receive the replacement dish so well that it will soon earn a place on your regular menu.
Short Staff Problems in Restaurants
Another common occurrence that often literally wakes restaurant owners in the
Culinology® is a term trademarked by the Research Chefs Association. It comprises a discipline requiring intensive expertise in everything from food labels to enzymes to ingredient sourcing to commercial restaurant equipment. The Research Chefs Association offers the possibility of becoming a Certified Culinary Scientist or Certified Research Chef. This year, the American Culinary Federation sanctioned the discipline’s first professional competition. This exciting and innovative field appeals to professional chefs on many levels, and opportunities abound in this fairly recent addition to the food science and culinary industry.
What is Culinology®?
Mix food science with culinary arts and the result is Culinology®. The list of Continuing Education workshops on the Research Chefs Association’s website highlights some of the most crucial components of the discipline for professional chefs. The workshops, most of which include distance learning, cover such topics as food science, regulations, processing, packaging, sensory evaluation, and commercialization. Nutrition and creativity combine to bring the food service industry and the work of food scientists together in a whole new way.
2012 Professional Competition
The 2012 Professional Culinology® Competition, the first of its kind, gained more widespread recognition for the field, thanks to the support of the American Culinary Federation and other sponsors. Competitors shipped frozen versions of their entries – each consisting of three types of tapas – to San Antonio in advance and made the same dishes