Sunday, November 2, 2008

From a line cook friend: How to save your kitchen money in a hard economy.

I love this guy for many reasons. There are many reasons I miss the hard core, day to day business, he is one of them. He sent this out to a bunch of us who worked together in the past. Cheers, mate!

* Use everything. Fennel tops. Celery leaves. Pork trim. Fish bones. Keep a spatula close, and use it to scrape down everything.

* Revisit your recipes. Where are you not being efficient? Are there ingredients in there that you could be making in house? Cheeses, spice blends, curry paste, breads, charcuterie, pastas--you can make them better than what you're buying...and for cheaper

* Cook seasonally for fucks sake.

* Get to know your purveyors. Learn who to trust, and who not to. Don't be afraid to ask for a cheaper price.

* Change your menu when you need to, not just when you want to. If something isn't working, change it. Move your ingredients around so as to not to have certain items that really sell, and other that are just there.

* Dont be afraid of the oily fish. $20 a pound snapper vs $1.95 a pound mackeral. You figure it out.

* Limit your menu. Any menu over 25 items is really tipping the scales. One fish entree, one steak, one pork/duck/chicken item. Offer a veggie entree. Don't get carried away with foie gras and caviar.

* Use everyones ideas. A cook on a station knows exactly how much mise en place they need for a night--so ask them how much prep they think they'll need for a service. Analyze your prep list constantly.

* Get creative with family meal. The true test of a cook is taking all those leftovers and making something that will satiate twenty cranky servers.

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