What is the workflow like for a restaurant serving pancakes?

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by createasaurus, Dec 17, 2014.

  1. createasaurus

    createasaurus

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    (By pancakes, I'm referring to American-style fluffy breakfast pancakes.)

    Are pancakes made to order? Is someone just constantly making them at a station not specific to any particular order so that there is a small pile accessible to other chefs to finish with toppings/plate? Is there some soft of holding method?
     
  2. chefboyog

    chefboyog

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    You can hold them for up to a few hours ( covered in a slow oven, alto sham etc), with bad results IMO.

    Make them to order they take like 5 minutes. When it is very busy, brunch, do some ahead or you will run out of space on a typical flat top grill.
     
  3. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Stay 5 orders ahead at all times, they are cheap enough
     
  4. meezenplaz

    meezenplaz

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    You can make your best guess, based on business and anticipated rush, and make a batch up, enough that when

    you get low you still have time to make more in a slowdown time. Hold them under or in enclosed heat, stacked.

    New stack for each batch. My limit is 15 minutes--when that's up start tossing the earliest ones into the gunker.

    If you have no reserve when another rush hits, well that's life on the line. 

    And expect a little waste here--that's the price you pay for making your life a little more convenient. 

    Now, that's basically for buttermilk fluffers--after a time they make LOOK  okay but they start to taste like the

    heat-lamp special. If in doubt, break off a piece of one and taste. However other types of cakes, like pumpkin

    and other "filled" type batters tend to hold a little longer, but aren't usually as in demand. Experiment. 
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2014
  5. alaminute

    alaminute

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    Just like anything, start sandbagging when tickets are piling up and taper off as the tickets die down. Basically alaminute before and after rushes
     
  6. createasaurus

    createasaurus

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    Thanks guys, that really helps out a lot! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
     
  7. seabeecook

    seabeecook

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    Hotcakes (either oatcakes, yeasted or blueberry) are run weekly at the summer camp. Since 75 percent of the campers (mostly families at Oakland Feather River Camp) come to the dining hall in the first 15 to 30 minutes of the meal, I work ahead to cover the rush. Twenty-four cakes go in each 2-inch hotel pan. I have enough in the hot box to take care of the rush. I switch to preparing a pan or two at a time after the rush is over.
     
  8. capecodchef

    capecodchef

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    How big is the restaurant, how many daily covers at what percentage of pancakes, and how big is the grill? We have 42 seats, do approximately 250 covers on a Sunday and average 20% pancakes on our 4' flat top. They cook in 4-5 minutes and are all cooked to order. I can't imagine trying to hold them.
     
  9. chef julio

    chef julio

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    Just Think,,, how fresh would you want someone to serve you a pancake?
    Make them as fesh as possible!
     
  10. seabeecook

    seabeecook

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    Hopefully better than the pancakes I had at Denny's Placerville last night! They were horrible. It was late, nothing much was open and I refused to eat at McDonalds.
     
  11. meezenplaz

    meezenplaz

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    Horrible how? I mean seriously there are only a few ways to screw up a pancake.
    Ive noticed dennys cooks sometimes over cook them then serve em anyway with the
    burned side down. I always just send em back and tell the server "these are frisbees".
     
  12. grande

    grande

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    Sandbagging is not something I'm a fan of, and nowhere I've worked has pre cooked pancakes. It's always better to be organized, IMO. Workflow at the one dedicated breakfast place i worked was one flattop, probably 6', shared by pancakes, crepes/swedish pancakes, french toast and hashbrowns.
    In that scenario, cooking pancakes you didn't need could screw you if you got hit by crepes. But the hashbrowns were a different story, we would just start dropping them when people started coming in.
     
  13. chefboyog

    chefboyog

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    We run out of room for eggs if we dont pre make some panties.

    Merry Christmas everyone!
     
  14. capecodchef

    capecodchef

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    Do your eggs in a pan. They're better that way and saves grill space. Premade cakes are lousy.
     
    spoiledbroth likes this.
  15. chefboyog

    chefboyog

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    Hard to do 10-20 orders of eggs at a time in a pan to temp.
    Eggs are better IMO on the flat top. Easy to flip too. Easy to control temp.
     
  16. capecodchef

    capecodchef

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    Of course. In fact, it's impossible to do 10-20 orders at a time with say, only an 8 burner stove! That's why I asked the OP how many seats, how many covers and what % of orders have eggs. We do 250 covers in our 42 seats and all in pans. What do you find hard about flipping in pans? Just a flick of the wrist. Big advantage over a flat top is you can turn off a burner to slow things down. You have to plate off a flat top to stop the cooking. Give me a pan fried egg any time.
     
  17. mckallidon

    mckallidon Banned

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    Normally, I would feel like a jerk, but Lolzor.  The easiest thing to cook besides toast, is pancakes.  Honestly, I think toast is easier to screw up but not as hard to master, but that is a whole other debate per se.  If you are always getting screwed on grill space, then you may have too small of a grill for the number of seats and your extensive menu, but more likely it is just poor organization or bad habits.  If you have a six inch grill, and a six burner stove, which is most kitchens, no matter how buried you get 3 solid cooks should be able to pwn that rush.  Do the crepes and omelets in pans and everything else on the flat top.  Flat top eggs are so fast.  You can cram a ton of over-easy eggs, pancakes, home fires and other things on a 6 ft grill.  You can bury the service staff when the stars align.

    Lol.  I am by no means a bona fide chef (yet), but I cooked breakfast in a little dump across from a University for years that would do easily 500+ tickets on a Sunday breakfast, mostly 4-6 tops, with a line out the door with just a 6ft grill, a 6 burner stove, and a conveyor toaster with less than 10 minute ticket times all day, with the lunch menu kicking in at noon on top of it all.  Granted, we didn't have crepes (praise be to Zeus for that!), but we had everything else and did benedicts, frittatas and steaks and would go through at least 500lbs of potatoes on a Sunday (6am-3pm).  One guy can bang out so many basic breakfasts by just flipping a field of eggs, pumping out toast, and grabbing potato and bacon that just hangs out.  We never really stuck to any one way, we flowed our way around whatever came by doing what would work best then, and we had all worked together for years, but there is no excuse for sandbagging anything breakfast besides bacon and potatoes.

    A lot of Greek diners I have worked in keep their pancake batter a little runny because they thin out more and cook a lot faster.  Of course, these places are super cheap and turn serious tables so the average customer doesn't know what really good food is anyways.  But still, holding pancakes?  Hilarious.

    I may get a lot of hate for this, but whatever.  I'd hate to have my first post on here ever to come off as a flaming one (not my intent), but I had to be the gadfly.  I may not have extensive knowledge (yet) that isn't even appreciated by most of the dining public, but I've run circles around a few chefs on their line doing their menu doing stuff I have just learned because of keen instincts and moves tempered in the bowels of Hades.  It's not just technique and terminology, optimizing your space, order of operations and movements is key. 
     
  18. capecodchef

    capecodchef

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    No need to apologize for one's own opinions, and I agree with most of your post, although I do prefer eggs cooked in a pan vs. flat top. We only sandbag potatoes, bacon and sausage. Never pancakes. That said, I suspect a bit of hyperbole in your post perhaps? 500 lbs. of potatoes for 500+ covers? Given that  probably 20% of the count doesn't get potatoes (with their pancakes, french toast etc) that's well over a POUND of taters per person. That's either an exaggeration or just plain gross plating.
     
  19. laurenlulu

    laurenlulu

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    If you're not able to make them all fresh to order premake some and when you serve make a fresh one to go on top, it's harder to tell that they are not all MTO because the bottom ones will soften anyway.
     
  20. mckallidon

    mckallidon Banned

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    500 lbs for over 500 tickets.  Most tickets on a Sunday breakfast rush were at least 3- 4 orders.  Booths could seat 6, all tables were set up for 4.  No 2 top seating.  It was all families and groups of college kids on the weekends.  No singles, not really any couples.  We didn't even have a counter (they took it out for more booths).  Double hashbrown was really popular with the basic special (buck more) and we loaded up the homefries.  No one else around even did hashbrowns so people went there just for that.  They came off the back of a sketchy unmarked truck hauled by possible felons working for some Ukranian guy that unloaded them from local distributors to the dumpy places.  People could add an order of homefries or hashbrowns to anything breakfast for buck on the weekend (but everything went up in price on weekends, heh heh).  So we sold a lot. There was no portion control with the potatoes either because they were nothing in cost.  These were not Sysco's finest; often sprouted and getting to the edge.  Didn't matter after boiling/peeling.  That's 500+lbs of bagged potatoes, not prepped.  After prepping (peeling, throwing out bad spots etc) and waste you lose weight as well.  Not to mention the bags are never exactly 50lbs each.

    I myself have no preference anymore.  Each has its merits.  I respect anyone's preference as well.  Both are better than poaching lol.  A master breakfast cook should be able to do both.  But, many dive places use too much oil in the pan, especially if they do not use non-stick pans, so they can be too greasy for my taste.  Scrambled is always much better from the pan though.  If you have like 30 orders of over-easy all day, pans will bog you down, and then it takes 2 guys to cook/plate those.  Plating from the grill is faster.  But, flat top eggs can be an unnecessary pain, especially when doing lunch orders as well.  We would just do whatever worked best at the moment given the board.  Pan eggs are easier though.  Anyone should be able to do them, which is what is god about the technique.  I mastered it in half a day.  In two days I could handle 4 pans with both hands and flip left-handed no problem.  But, I had a good teacher.  It takes much more skill to sling flat top eggs.  It took me quite a while to master that.  I always enjoy the endless conversation cooks can have about the topic though. 

    What is your opinion on omelets though?  Most people think I'm nuts for actually liking pan omelets more.  I think the presentation is never as good, but I think they taste better and have a better texture if they don't brown too much.  I only worked at one place that did them (with real butter!) and they were so good.  All fresh veggies sauteed in the pan first to order too.