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looking for inspiration

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
ive been a line cook for many years, but i just ended up with my first executive chef position last week. a great place to work, a good family and everyone supports me and belives in me. i just want to be able to come up with a few different ideas as far as specials go. if anyone knows any great cookkbooks or ideas, anythinkg like that, i would love to hear it.
post #2 of 14
Hmm, congrats? :D Specials? What kind of place?
post #3 of 14
Specials are a way of asserting your tastes and flavors on your dining public. Conversely, they are also a way of emptying out your walk-in.

In the former guise, you do what you like with food and ingredients in the hopes that your clients will enjoy. An easy way to do this is to look at your sales history and decide on the items have that have greatest appeal. Go from there with various flavor combinations. If your clients are more 'cosmopolitan' you might incorporate other culture cuisines and flavors. If not, it's best to stick with tried and true flavors with your own twist.

Doing what I used to call "walk-in special" actually requires a lot more skill than just throwing together things. You take what you have and work the ingredients together in such a way you create something enticing.

Dang... time to hit the road to work. Gotta cut this short.

Order In/Food Out ~ It's NOT magic.
- * - * - * - * -
"It's not getting any smarter out there. You have to come to terms with stupidity, and make it work for you." Frank Zappa
Order In/Food Out ~ It's NOT magic.
- * - * - * - * -
"It's not getting any smarter out there. You have to come to terms with stupidity, and make it work for you." Frank Zappa
post #4 of 14
without knowing what kind of restaurant you're working in, any sort of info would be like buckshot not a clear hit.

Anyone using the Professional forum works in food, many of us run our own places and specials are very normal.....95% of the food coming from my kitchen is "special" no recipes, whatever looks good at the market, wholesaler or whatever I've sold to a customer. I cook on Monday's for a diabetic priest, what I make for him would not be something I'd make for a wedding cocktail reception or a BBQ or a chef's choice lunch.....

My inspiration comes from eating out, rifting with other chefs, coming to Cheftalk....CC used to burn up the board with creativity in the day, HEY you still out there?!!!!, reading cookbooks....sometimes like yesterday just flipping through Joy of cooking looking for pickling ideas or muffins that have a twist....I get bored with magazines these days.....go to the library. A couple of months ago I got a couple of calls for fork food buffets, so came up with Spanish theme hit the library for ideas, went to the specialty wholesaler and walked their storeroom and cheese selection talked to the client and came up with really fun creative menus with stuff I'd never made before...then took elements and made other dishes....ie piquilla peppers were blended with chevre and put on crostini for cocktail aps (topped iwth shiitakes).....the marcona almonds showed up on other cheese platters, the Squid heads were fried for lunch and served with remoulade one day. Last week I made veg soup with frozen tomatoes I had put up last year and other produce that needed to MOVE, added slaw from one of the fish fries, deviled eggs, cheese biscuits/cornbread and brownies....slammed out lunch for 50 in 2 hours.
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
well it is a sushi resteraunt, but i am in charge of the hot side of the kitchen. we hae daily fish dinner specials as well as any other random specials i feel like. my direction from the owner was to do anything i wanted but keep it interesting and exciting. italian one week, asian the next, etc. ive been trying to search the internet, books and my own creativity, which im sure is what everyone would have told me to do. but i want to do something a little more, and keep it different, but i come from a steakhouse background and now im dealing with only fish every day. feeling a little lost and a little behind. so i guess im just looking for good ideas on fish cookbooks, or sauce cookbooks, or even side items. im tired of using cabbage salads and kim chi, and pickeled cucumbers and tomatoes as sides.
post #6 of 14
If your dealing with mostly fish why not do some like regional fish dishes.

Or since you have a steak house backround use that but jsut apply it to the fish.

First thing that came to mind was like a fish surf and turf. Like you can do liek a salmon and shirmp or maybe like a tuna steak and some grilled shrimp.

Best advice I think anyone can give is be confident in your abilities and trust your instinct.

Congrats on the new job
post #7 of 14
Tell you what's a hit at my parties, the "Tuna Salad." :D Seared Tuna, Romaine, etc. Ponzu/mayo dresssing just like you have on your cold side. Hmm, but that's not hot kitchen.

Seared Halibut cheeks are very good and traditional and my favorite.

Dude you just gotta watch iron chef more man! :D
post #8 of 14

Culinary Artistry

Out of the several hundred cookbooks I own, there is one never too far from my desk. Culinary Artistry by Andrew Dornenberg and Karen Page.
I wouldn't even know where to begin with this one, not really a recipe book, although it does have recipes, it compiles list of ingredients by season, cooking method and cuisine and gives popular and curiously inspiring pairings for each...example:
Lemon....almonds, cardamom, chocolate, currants, honey, lime, poppy seeds, raspberries, strawberries.
Chocolate? apparently Dieter Schorner loves it! Who knew lobster goes best with Vacherin cheese? or Mackerel with gooseberries?
If you have a good taste memory and can "taste" things in your mind, this book will blow you away. I think even the most experienced chef can benefit from this book as a reference point. Classic well respected combinations are all in bold, like apples with cabbage or trout with almonds.
If you're looking for a tool to put together new dishes and combinations this book is a must. Anyone else agree?
Keep those fires burnin'
Keep those fires burnin'
post #9 of 14
just out of curiousity, did u not take notes and steal recipes through out your "years" of working lines? u must have something
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
thank you glayd, that book sounds likeexactly what ive been looking for for quite some time. i will definatly check that out.
post #11 of 14

i ve just taken a hot side of fish dish at a fish and seafood restaurant as well

I know one french book, It is a best reference for me now.I can't found in English version. there are big pictures in every recipes, "Grand livre de cuisine d Alain Ducass" but i found just one of english version for the desserts. It is great to take a look inside and catch some ideas and and delelop to your own style.:rolleyes:
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
well, sswordfish, like i said earlier, im from a steakhouse expeience. i can make alot of rich sauces that work well with steaks and that clientle, but this is pure fish, where the flavor of the fish is very important, the sauce or side dish is complimentary. im just trying to grow, and i think that book sounds great, thanks again for the idea
post #13 of 14
If this is a sushi restaurant, you need to embrace Asian cuisine, including Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese. This is a vast frontier of incredible food that in many cases is simple to prepare. The internet will lead you too many sites and resources focused on Asian cuisine.
post #14 of 14
For a light, highly-flavored sauce to go with grilled strong-tasting fish (e.g., salmon or swordfish), try mincing together watercress, Italian parsely and dill. Give it whirl, with some lemon juice, in a bar blender. Stir into plain yogurt. You're looking for a green tinge to the sauce, with some pieces of the herbs suspended in it. The taste should join the tang of the lemon and yogurt, with the herbs.

It's a simple, uncooked suace that will hold up well AS LONG AS (a) it's carefully stirred (too much agitation will "break" the yogurt) and (b) kept cool to cold.
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