Over bearing boss, wont let me take creme brulee off the menu

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Joined May 5, 2020
Hi guys,
Im in need of some help.
I am the pastry chef in a restaurant in New Zealand, my boss tells me I can 'do what i want' in regards to the menu. In the next breath I am told I cant take Creme Brulee or Baked Cheesecake off the menu, I can change the garnish but the vanilla Brulee base has to stay and the Cheesecake has to be vanilla too. I have nothing against them both but they have been on the menu for a long time and I want a change,
I feel limited and held back and this is starting to make me look around for other jobs,
Does anyone have any ideas for a creme Brulee dish that might make it a bit exciting for me and a bit more bearable to make every day?
 
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Joined Apr 29, 2019
it doesnt matter if its exciting to you or not, the bottom line is..."the bottom line" - does it sell? if its a poor seller and you can point out consistent wastage then you can make a structured case for revamping/replacing it

if its popular and at least a decent seller, then the owner is pretty fair to insist it stays as is

if it *is* a good seller, id forget those two and turn my attention to making the rest of the dessert menu different and varied enough from those two so that there is strong variety of flavours/styles of dessert.

try a local seasonal garnish for the cheesecake, change the fruit/berry combination every 3 months or so.
 
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Joined Oct 31, 2012
As Lemon said, if it sells, it stays. Variations are limited only by your imagination. Check out various cookbooks for ideas, and the internet of course. I'll interpret your boss's directive to mean that you have to have the standard brûlée or cheesecake available. That doesn't mean you can't make an additional version. So you make a bigger batch of base. Half is vanilla, the other half is something else.
There are infinite toppings you can add to either dish. Various cookies or crisps or biscotti, sauces, fruit purees, praline, marzipan, chocolate, caramel, edible flowers, etc.
You might also change the presentations. Individual small cheesecakes, creme brûlée in different shapes,
Combine the two with brûlée on top of a cheesecake base.
Most of all, if you have license to change the rest of the dessert menu, go with that. Every good place has one or more dishes they are known for and the customers would revolt if it was taken off the menu. It is entirely possible that you end up creating one yourself.
 
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Joined Sep 17, 2018
How many items are on the menu? If the two they want left alone are a small percentage, just work with the other slots. I worked at a similar place and they had a handful of dishes that were straight out of the 80's but sold so much on a consistent base to repeat customers that it would be impossible to take them off the menu. Honestly vanilla creme brulee is one of my go to desserts if I go out as it is easy to discern if it was done well or not. I have had plenty of flavored brulees and again the vanilla seems to always be the best for me. (And I usually hate plain vanilla items.) If you are thinking of quitting over not being able to change two menu items I would wonder if there are some deeper problems you have over the place as this seems like a silly reason especially in the current state of things.
 
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Joined Aug 21, 2004
Leave the two desserts alone, just keep making them. Make other additional desserts that are so unforgettable that overall dessert sales go up while the sales of the two drop. Doing so will make yourself too valuable to the success of the operation not to be listened to for your opinon. If your boss is an astute business owner at all, problem of the two boring desserts will be solved.

When I was chef/owner, I was always open to suggestions of staff but with a caveat of "show me what you can do before telling me what to do."
 
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chefpeon

Kitchen Dork
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Joined Jun 15, 2006
It's always amazed/infuriated me to no end how inventive I could get with desserts, but people would order the "old standards" time after time. There's a reason vanilla ice cream is always listed as the number one ice cream flavor. People want what they want. Dessert, of all courses, is the one people eat for comfort. Comfort has always translated into the old standbys as boring as they are. I challenged myself out of boredom by trying to create the BEST of the old standbys. I tried to make the BEST apple pie....the BEST brulee......the BEST cheesecake......the BEST cobbler.......kept me from getting bored AND I upped my game!
 
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Joined Dec 18, 2010
That... plus, bosses in all professions rarely are completely sincere if the make a blanket statement like “you can do whatever you want.” There are always caveats and limits.
 
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Joined Feb 8, 2009
Pick your battles and keep track of sales. If they sell you don't have an argument. Did you ask why the boss wants then to stay ????????
 
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Joined Oct 10, 2005
Like everyone else say, if it sells, don’t mess with it. Like Billyb says , keep track of what sells. If it’s a poor seller you should be able to change it over.

Some say the customer is boss, others say the bank is boss. Fact of the matter is you are working in a business with other employees, it’s not an artist’s studio where you can make what you want for art’s sake.
 
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Joined Apr 20, 2020
As Lemon said, if it sells, it stays. Variations are limited only by your imagination. Check out various cookbooks for ideas, and the internet of course. I'll interpret your boss's directive to mean that you have to have the standard brûlée or cheesecake available. That doesn't mean you can't make an additional version. So you make a bigger batch of base. Half is vanilla, the other half is something else.
There are infinite toppings you can add to either dish. Various cookies or crisps or biscotti, sauces, fruit purees, praline, marzipan, chocolate, caramel, edible flowers, etc.
You might also change the presentations. Individual small cheesecakes, creme brûlée in different shapes,
Combine the two with brûlée on top of a cheesecake base.
Most of all, if you have license to change the rest of the dessert menu, go with that. Every good place has one or more dishes they are known for and the customers would revolt if it was taken off the menu. It is entirely possible that you end up creating one yourself.
Sounds yummy
 
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