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470 article submissions by the ChefTalk.com community.

A Managers Guide To Employees

I would like to begin this article by saying that in the past 12 years of managing employees of various kitchens that managing union kitchens has made me a better manager of people. I have no doubt that some of our readers are currently managing kitchens that are unionized and have found it to be the most difficult experience that they have ever had. I can most certainly agree with them. But as I have been gaining more experience in this area I can offer my advice and share some of the tools that have helped me grow. In the early years of the development of the... read more

Picking The Right Restaurant Name

What's in a name? History says plenty!So you want to open a little place of your own. It's something you always wanted to do. Just a cute little place with good food, a few plants and small intimate tables where people like to gather. You've spent months mulling over the name. You could go with the obvious-"Henry's Restaurant". After all, this was the name given to the little stops along a travel route that served food and beverage to "restore" its weary patrons. Nice title, but you're right-it's obvious. You might consider a name that is a little more down to earth... read more

Making Salads With Gourmet Lettuce

It's summer, it's hot, and it's salad season. Besides watermelon and corn, salad is the perfect summer food. They're light, crisp and refreshing-- especially when paired with a tart dressing. They're fast and don't heat up a hot kitchen. And they're versatile with as many salads as the imagination can invent. At the core of most summer salads is lettuce. Lettuce, plain lettuce, was viewed for years as a tasteless part of a salad that existed to be covered up with a thick, sticky dressing. But what a metamorphosis lettuce has seen in the last 10-15 years. Interesting... read more

How To Listen To Your Employees

Do you listen to your employees? Really listen? Letting employees talk is not the same as listening. You have to work at it, the same way you work at anything else you want to succeed at. Here are five things to remember that will make you a better listener: - Put your work away. As soon as an employee comes to you and wants to talk, put whatever you're working on away. Remove all temptation to do anything other than give your full attention to the employee. Listening means really concentrating - and for many, that's hard! - Bite your tongue. One of the first signs... read more

Sofia

The newest cheese in Judith Schad's repertoire of fine American cheeses in the French style is the SOFIA. Judith Schad is the award-winning farmstand cheese maker in Greenville, Indiana who is always experimenting, and always achieving excellent results in her pursuit of taste and knowledge. Hand-made from fresh acidic curd, this cheese, a truncated brick in shape, is layered with several strata of vegetable ash in the center, covered with a layer of vegetable ash around the entire surface of the cheese, and ripened with a light white mold over the ashen surface. The... read more

Lemon Verbena

No doubt about it. The rather bland looking lemon verbena, Aloysia triphylla, is not going to be stage center in those herb gardens where esthetics play a strong role, but the wise cook will most assuredly find a place for this homely child; it can work wonders as a flavor enhancer in dishes from desserts to entrees - even in iced drinks. Referred to as "a member of a select group of olfactory ambushers" by a well-known herbalist, one need only smell the scented leaf to understand its culinary value. And yet this exotic herb is seldom seen in recipe books. Considered a... read more

Jackets And Toques The History Of The Chef Uniform

  Chefs, for the most part, wear their uniforms almost every day of their working lives, replete with toque, checked pants and double-breasted jacket. Though these uniforms are ubiquitous in the foodservice industry worldwide, they are often taken for granted and worn without much thought. However, many may find that the origin and reasons behind traditional chef's attire are as interesting as it looks. Much of the chef's uniform has developed out of necessity. The jacket, for example, is double-breasted so it can easily be reversed to hide stains that may... read more

Finding A Chef Job On The Internet

Chances are, if you are even remotely computer literate, you have seen job postings on the Internet for provocative positions in exotic and far-away places that seem like just the thing for you. I'd like to share with you a recent experience of mine about just such a situation. I am a professional Chef with over twenty years experience in upscale hotels and resorts. Over the past five years I have accepted four jobs that I found via the Internet. I have found these positions on hospitality industry web pages and Chef bulletin boards. The ads usually read something like... read more

How To Use A Chef Knife Part II

In our last class session, we discussed the importance of knives and learned how to judge the quality of a knife. In this class we will look at which knives any well-organized kitchen should have, and how to keep them sharp. A trip to a cooking store will reveal a wide array of different knives. They vary in length, thickness and function. While each knife is valuable, I consider the following 5 knives essential tools for any serious cooking: Chef knife-This is the workhorse knife that chefs reach for the most often, and for that reason it is the most important... read more

How To Use A Chef Knife Part I

The most important tool on the kitchen? Even though chefs disagree about almost everything, most, if not all would agree that knives are the most important tool. Without their knives--their own personal knives--chefs would not perform as well as they do. It's like a professional musician who intimately knows how his or her own particular instrument plays. Knives are the one thing in the kitchen that are absolutely worth spending the money on. A good knife will last decades and may even be passed down to the next generation. But how do you know which knives are the best?... read more

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