Guest Chef... perhaps chefs at Pop-ups can help?

Discussion in 'The Late Night Cafe (off-topic)' started by behindfoods, Apr 17, 2013.

  1. behindfoods


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    Professional Chef
    Hi everyone! I have a question regarding being a guest chef at a restaurant. I was offered to cook a dinner at a local organic, vegan restaurant for their community table. They can seat 16 (comfortably) to 18 people. This is my first time being a guest chef at a restaurant, and I checked out to see what they charged for previous events (they had a soft launch back in February and the official grand-opening in early March)... so they haven't had many events, but they've been a hit since February. Anyhow, I believe I'm the first guest chef there, but they had a similar event... I saw that they charged $55 for a head for an intimate cooking class/tasting--the menu was very basic with three small dishes they learned how to cook/eat and enjoy. For the dinner I can choose if I'd like to prepare a three-course or five-course meal: I come up with the menu, they provide the groceries and will assist me in the kitchen. I'm very excited! They left it up to me to come up with my rate, but I don't know how to go about this since this is my first time doing something of the sort.

    I was hoping that someone could give me some tips... maybe those experienced in the pop-up restaurant business... or share their experience as a guest chef. Thank you very much!

  2. junglist


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    Professional Chef
    Outside of home kitchens I've never been a guest chef, but have been host to numerous other chefs and outside personnel coming through. Taking into consideration the host restaurant and kitchen, I can offer these words:

    - Take the time to get familiar with the kitchen and staff. Get to know where equipment is, where the walk-ins and food storage are, where you can personally work without being in anyone's way. 

    - The kitchen might be aware of what ingredients you need, but don't expect all of your prep and mise to be magically ready for you. At least take the time and show the others (if they are supposed to help you), in person and by example, how you want everything to be done.

    - Please, please clean up after yourself. Put your mise away, put your prep away, check your dishes, wipe down your stations.

    I am not personally making any accusations towards you, but all the 'guest' chefs I ever had to deal with acted like they were God's gift to the world, expected all of their prep to be done when they arrived (although it was usually not the way they would want it, because you know we were supposed to be psychic), and rarely cleaned up after themselves (this part irritated me the most). 

    Whether you opt for a three or five course menu will depend on how ambitious you are, what demographic you are catering to, what food you have available to you, if the kitchen has the ability to accommodate the menu, what your budget is, etc. Bounce ideas off others who are helping you with the event, and do a tasting so you can tweak ideas and get feedback as well. 

    Be professional and courteous towards others, treat the kitchen like it's your own kitchen, and try to plan everything out in advance. Good luck with your event.
    behindfoods likes this.