Chefs and Cooks: Working in a Restaurant vs. Working in a Hotel

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by scofield143, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. kaiquekuisine

    kaiquekuisine

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    It honestly varies <_< 

    Depending on the dish and the components of it , some things can be made ahead of time , on time , or just heated for service. 

    Ill use an example if i may....


    The above dish is Pork Medalions with a Demi , sauteed veg and Parsnip Puree.... ( from pork challenge last moth ) 

    The meat was cut and portioned that day , but cooked to order. 

    Greens had been cut during prep , but were blanched and sauteed to order

    Demi was made days in advanced

    Parsnip puree was made during prep and heated and plated during service. We had made a huge batch so we also saved portioned some and froze another. The frozen portion was defrosted and used that week as well. 

    The dish was fine tasted great , and all components were handled with care using proper methods. No in the end it did not affect overall taste or quality of the dish. 

    Now all the components of the dish were each handled differently so how you use , save , cook , etc... varies on the product , dish , and component. 

    Im sure their are methods i used to cook , and save certain components of the dish that not everyone may agree with , but in no way did it affect the quality. 

    - The pork was not entirely used up all that day , so why not save it ( it was not cooked just portioned )

    - The veggies were pre-cut , i dont see a problem saving them , and seeing how they look the next day to see if they are useable , if not ditch it

    - Demi , well we made a huge batch , didnt use it all that day , so stored it properly and used it once again

    - Parsnip puree , we had a huge batch frozen , the batch that was unfrozen was portioned to order , and used immediately. 

    and i quote:

     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2013
  2. cacioepepe

    cacioepepe

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    Fresh is best.  Yes, there are exceptions, but for the most part who wants to eat frozen anything if you can have it fresh?  Freezing expands cells, losing water and original texture, usually depleting vitamins and minerals.

     I was part of an opening team that came into a poorly functioning restaurant in a well known hotel in NYC.  We changed concept, flipped the kitchen and had an all star crew.  The 'union' wages went out the window, as did a lot of the cooks.  We changed the way that hotel did business and the way the food was perceived.  Yes, we made batches of amatriciana sauce that lasted 3-5 days (not frozen), and soups to last 3 days or so.  Yes, we sous vide half chickens for pollo alla diavola, but thats where the batch prepping basically stopped.  We had a prep crew that could kill any task, we roasted 3-6 suckling pigs a day, had a pasta team of 2 or 3 people doing production of fresh pasta (yes, we portioned and would freeze it in bags), we had an overnight baker making croissants, cookies, caramel buns, olive oil cakes for the morning, we had a banquet staff that portioned their own fish, broke down strip loins.  

    Granted not all hotel kitchens can have this luxury.  It was a great kitchen, but to answer your question, its not always like you describe.  Freezing proteins would never have happened.  And yes, we were busy.  150ish for lunch, 320 for brunch on the weekends, 220 for dinner, sales of $33,000 on a cranking Friday or Saturday.  Most everything was fresh.  It can be done, but the expense of staffing a place can be crazy.  2 dishwashers, 3 prep crew, 2-3 on pasta production, a butcher, 3 cooks, 2 pantry just for lunch transitioning into another 5 person kitchen.  I've had the privilege of working in places that use some of the best product and don't compromise; they're out there.
     
  3. scofield143

    scofield143

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    Just Graduated From Culinary School
    Hope re-ignited. Now I would seriously kill to work in that place. That's awesome. :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2013
  4. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Mmmmm...

    Actually, if you read Jaques Pepin's biography, he did a lot of batch cooking and freezing.  Most of his collegues (which included Julia Child...) could not discern any quality issues with his entrees and soups.  Keep in mind this was back in the '70's when freezers and freezing technology was not what it is today.

    Myself, I find if a protein has been braised and is frozen with it's sauce, there is very little--if any, quality loss.  Of course, it goes without saying that the packaging and freezing process must be done correctly.

    While you can get fresh, never frozen bacon, most places, from the high end hotels to the low end diners use frozen.  And unless you have personally butchered a side of beef or pork, you can never be 100% sure if the meat was frozen--either in portions or in primal cuts.

    The quality of the food is sole responsibility of the Chef.  The Chef's choices are dictated by his/her foodcost, labour cost, expectations of the diner, and equipment available.  I see noting wrong with using frozen meat and vegetables in a lumber camp where supplies are only brought in every two weeks and you are given $12.00 per man per day as a basic budget.  I see nothing wrong with cooking and ricing potatoes, keeping them on the mise en place  and making mashed potatoes to order because the owner demands having mashed pots on the menu, but you only sell 3- 4  portions per service.  
     
  5. suki1964

    suki1964

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    I work in a tiny resturaunt We do little to no trade during the week. Monday to friday we have one cook to do everything including washing up and clean the kitchen. Our trade is sat and Sundays so we do batch cook sauces for then.

    Our steaks are cut and vac packed. That gives us 4/ 5 days. Chickens that are needed for burgers, goujins etc are poached up to 3 days

    Rice we batch cook for three days. Sauces for two days. Potatoes two days

    We blanch chips for up to three days ahead

    There is no loss of quality. But then we aren't a fine dining place and when there's one person working all stations it's all we can do
     
  6. htarko

    htarko

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    I think the biggest message here is as long as you're providing a meal with no lack of quality and pleases your customers is What matters.

    I agree myself I prefer to use fresh everything when possible but some places you don't have that luxury. One of the most important parts of cooking is taking What you can get and elevating it to a higher level. Also on the frozen food thing a lot of seafood has to be braught I'm frozen and is still fresh. On other meats it can be done just make sure that when you freeze and thaw you do it correctly or else you could cause quality dammage.

    Ps: Don't forget that when you make a sauce and let it chill I'm the fridge it gets better with that chance to meld more.:3
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2013
  7. ryanf56

    ryanf56

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    I be worked at some places that did a lot of banquet service that did not do this I certainly don't do it and would not let one of my cooks keep his prep around for more than a day in advance it sounds like u need to be looking my advice is to try and work under the chef that can teach u the most if u have a chef that half asses it he is only going to teach u the same
     
  8. brandon odell

    brandon odell

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    Yes, unfortunately, most restaurants and food services of all types take shortcuts. Of course, according to Cornell, 59% of all restaurants fail in the first year, and up to 75% by their fifth year, so doing what "most" restaurants do is probably a bad idea.

    While you are starting out, I think the most important thing is to make sure you are in financially "successful" kitchens. Poorly run kitchens are rarely financially successful, though many with only "average" food are, if they are run well. What I am saying is that if this is a financially successful kitchen, absorb what you can from it. Despite the food quality issue, it sounds as if the kitchen is well organized. Learn from that. Learn the tools and the processes they use and discard the crap, like portioning and freezing product.

    Every financially successful kitchen has something to teach. Gather what this one has then move on. Good, fresh food is getting more common in our country. It's happening mostly in larger metros in independently owned restaurants. If you want to move to learn about producing better quality food, I suggest following the James Beard Foundation and seeing if you can get into the kitchen of a chef, or chefs, that are highly regarded within that organization. In my city, most of the best restaurants have been started by chefs that either won JB awards or worked in the kitchen of someone who did. it seems like 3 or 4 of the best chefs in town are pumping out employees who go on to run their own restaurants.
     
    linecookliz likes this.
  9. john meyer

    john meyer

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    wow tons of opinions on this topic! agreed it depends on budget, who is running it, their quality issues blah blah blah  truth of the matter its the lesser of two evils, just remember. ... there both evil lol
     
  10. youngandrestless

    youngandrestless

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    Young new sous chef of egoless dinning
    I am someone who has always worked in restaurant kitchens. I got a degree in anthropology with the meager hourly of an upscale-ish Irish bar as a line cook. Since then food has been my main focus despite my years of academia knowledge and debt side by side. I am very fortunate to be a sous chef and more so a sous chef at a successful respected chef owned restaurant. I’ve been here for five years in the prime of my career and it’s still justified everyday. I started on garde mange the day we opened and now I’m the sous chef. Which I bet sounds very encouraging on paper. But my chef owner is a rarity in the sense that he owns this successful restaurant with prestigious reviews and nation press but works on line on pasta station with me every night. To become his sous chef took me working off the clock two hours early everyday for two years to gain the knowledge and recognition from him. I did it with a smile and all on my own will. Most culinary kids fresh out couldn’t fathom that mentality. But I wanted to be the best at all cost whilst being polite and nice to everyone around me. Older cooks tried to put me down and that never bothered me. I was the first to bale people out of the weeds despite their negativity. Now I am their superior by merit of my drive. At this point our restaraunt doesn’t compromise quality or freshness despite consistently serving 140+ every weekday and more on the weekends. Dinner service only. I start peeping 1030 everyday we are open and get off after service. 7 hours prep time 5+ hours of service. Printed seasonal menu and daily four coarse pasta tasting menu.

    This unique production is what has harbored my passion and accelerated my growth. It embraces pure soulful cooking and never compromises quality. I don’t believe this could exist in a hotel kitchen. Focus is lost when the kitchen is huge staff is huge menu is huge breakfeast lunch dinner banquet room service. At least for me its too much bullshit to work against to make consistently great food that is conscience of execution quality consumer price food cost seasonality etc (in a way that I would be as successful against my realm of restaurant kitchens). Again this is my single mind perspective with no hotel experience. Granted I’ve wanted to work at a hotel for a multitude of reasons and I have no doubt of their kitchens standards of quality and obvious talent.

    But if your not in a place that meets your ambition find some else that does. For me it happened to be in a restaraunt setting for you who knows. Making your job in this industry has to be made to make sense for you. It’s not easy work and if ascension to real chefdom is the goal it’s going to only become harder. Wasting time is no option. Do you want the best go work for them for free until they give you a chance at a job otherwise take the paycheck in silence and float on. Namaste
     
  11. chefross

    chefross

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    My Chef friend Jean Joho runs a Michelin starred restaurant in the Paris hotel in Las Vegas.
    I'm sure he is not the only one.