Dear God...look at what I started...LOL!!! Although my views may not be as "cynical" as some of the other views I have seen here, I definitely understand why you have them. I have shared some of those feelings based on the two events that I have worked on.
We had a large event two weeks ago, and we had a discussion this past Tuesday on how we can make the event better. I remember the day of the event, I was so upset at some of the things that I saw and witnessed, that I literally was documenting/writing things down that need to be improved. The pastor of my church saw what I was doing, and I think he realized how "unnerved" I was. He is a good guy, and he wants the chuch to move into the 21st Century, but he is also new, so he is also trying to get a grasp of the "church politics", which can make "office politics" and the "politics of Washington" look like grade school by comparison. During this "discussion", I think 60% of it was dedicated to what the "culinary ministry" did or didn't do. Now...the people who came to the church, were happy with the food, and to what I heard...they were happy with the service. Now...as a classically trained musician, just because you beat on a drum, and it sounds pleasing to the audience, doesn't make what that musician did...correct. I raised my hands a few times during the discussion to put some ideas on the table, and the main thing that I was bringing forth to them is..."YOU ALL NEED TO IMPLEMENT A BRIGADE SYSTEM. There is no organization or accountability. You can't have everybody asking somebody what to do. You need a system in the back of the house, and you need a front of the house...and it ALL comes under the culinary ministry. That's how you will get things done and in an organized manner." Well...I was unfortunately mocked by a few people there, who thought and even said, "This is not a restaurant."
Whether you have a Michelin star restaurant or a small soup kitchen operation, an Escoffier brigade system helps. Granted...you may not need a "commis" or a "Chef De Cuisine"...but set it up according the size of your group. (Executive Chef, Sous Chef, Two Prep/Line Cooks, Pastry Chef and for Front of the House...Front of the House Manager, Station Managers, Waiters, Dishwashers/Busboys-girls). That's it. Small operation, but organized and systematic, with clear roles identified. Mind you...I have never, ever, ever cooked on the line, or worked in a professional kitchen. But since 2003, I have self-taught myself, I practice technique every single day. I read books upon books upon books on the industry. Watch endless YouTube clips about the business, and the art of cooking. Create recipes. I have my own catering business as a result, and when I do something I do it 100%...never half-assing it, even if it takes me 16 hours to do it (Because I do it all by myself).
It's frustrating. These people all are well-intentioned, good Christian people. But...professional standards need consideration. Even the food choices need consideration. Butter and pork fat do not belong on everything, especially in a church where a lot of people have diabetes and suffer from obesity. Why have braised cabbage and kale? Those smells are strong, and do not need to be served up buffet style. Right now...I am just sticking in there. Patiently waiting until I may be given the opportunity to set up the kitchen and lead a brigade. Sorry this entry was so long...but I had to get this off of my chest, and especially after seeing the reply entries, I wanted to put my proverbial "two cents in". Thanks for the replies, they are all very helpful.