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Perks to being in the Industry

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
If you read between the lines of alot of the threads, you'll honestly see why people remain the kitchen or food industry. Thought I'd emphasize it alittle, please share yours.......
Last Friday was virus day....no or low grade fever, drippy nose, coughing, hoarseness, you know the icky bad cold. Just finished up the week's work and had a site visit for my niece's wedding reception across town. My bro is a doc, so I stopped in to see him after a 10 minute site stop. Cold, flu, whatever, here's some meds, eat onion soup, go to bed and get better. ok. clear the weekend's plans (movies, visiting #1 son, teaching private class). Onion soup. ok. I have friends with soup on their menus.
on the way home I pick up pho from one spot and onion soup from one of my buddies.

Life is good. Having friends that will hand you a qt of primo onion soup at the back door is golden.


2) Insider shtuff....a couple of years ago the white house chef prepped all day in my kitchen.....my sous and I got so much insider shtuff.....so fun!!!! Q&A on how that whole food system works. Really interesting. Hey Nicko, that'd make a good guest.

3) Snacky treats......besides cooking for friends in your home, there is nothing quite like going out to a friend's restaurant and getting VIP treatment. Special snacky treats, visits from the kitchen,......impresses my friends every time.

4) Commraderie....a couple of years ago my boyfriend passed away, it rocked my world..for a solid week I was weeping inconsolably. Well, kind of hard to cater/cook and grieve. So I called a few people in the industry and they were able to work the parties that weekend. Fortunately I pulled out of it by Friday, but they were backup. To this day I appreciate them more than they will ever know. Both have their own restaurants now and when they call I'm there. There are probably other businesses out there that have that reciprocity, but this one is firsthand knowledge.

5) Judging food contests.....mixed bag but normally a fun time.

So, what perks do you get?
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #2 of 8
Because I fill in a lot for "missing" chefs at various restos in the area, I get comp'd a lot when eating out. Wife thinks it is cool. So do friends if they are along.

Gives me a chance to show friends how to take care of FOH. I always pay the bill on the table, even when one does not come, if I am comp'd... I know the FOH staff can use it.

Do a lot of swapping... meaning when I am developing a dinner menu I have a lot of the local chefs over and their spouses. Usually a good time and I always invite a few non chef couples to partake as well.

Because of that we get invited to a lot of menu tastings as well. Real fun, especially when the wine reps are on hand trying to push their stuff.
I am a reduction of my youthful mistakes mixed with the roux of a few adult successes
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I am a reduction of my youthful mistakes mixed with the roux of a few adult successes
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post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
got an invite last night from a buddy who is hosting a lunch for Sheila Lukins (booktour) this Tues., he invited me to join her at the bar for a glass of wine after.....
man I love that guy......same one that invited me to CMAC's ****'s Kitchen winning dinner (she worked at his place).
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #4 of 8
As a chef instructor, I get complimentary meals, beverages, and snacks in our student operated restaurant.

A local restaurant has offered me complimentary meals in exchange for consultation. The owner has never taken a sanitation course and wants me to do a walk through to see how her staff is doing. (One of my assistant managers moonlights as a server at this restaurant and told me that line cooks have been portioning rice and beans with their bare hands. They have also been eating on the line.)

I was invited to participate in the judging of a salsa competition but bowed out because I don't particularly care for salsa.

My culinary arts class was invited to prepare county fair award winning recipes for a photographic shoot. I initially agreed to this until I found out that the Chamber of Commerce wanted me to do this on a Saturday. I don't work on Saturdays and was also reluctant to impose upon my students, many of whom have part time jobs on a Saturday.

Since most culinary arts teachers in Arizona are former home economics teachers who don't have restaurant backgrounds, I've been invited to give a presentation on student operated restaurants at next summer's CTE conference. In exchange for this presentation, I'll get complimentary lodgings at state expense.

Each year the Shamrock vendor invites me to attend the annual food show in Glendale. It's always interesting to go, see, and taste new products.
post #5 of 8
I'm off to L.A. tomorrow.... if it's still there, then there are the rounds of golf, hockey tickets, you can abuse it quite easily, just always be thankful and try not ot owe anyone..especially a supplier
post #6 of 8
Perks?...

As a small business owner, (artisan chocolates and pastries) the only perk that comes to mind is entertainment.

No, not free tickets to games or concerts or anything like that, I'm a small business, defined as gross earnings under 1/2 million. No supplier takes interest in businesses like that, no money there to earn if you give away freebie. Free samples are only doled out if a fork lift runs over a master case, or if the expiry date expires.

No, the entertainment comes from the sales reps. Small businesses always get the noobie reps, and invariably the noobs have absolutely no foodservice business experience. Makes sense, why would a purveyor send out a noob to a big-ticket client? Fob off the noob on the small businesses, where he can learn the ropes. If he learns, great, then pack him off to service the big-boys and then get a noob replacement.

The fun starts with the noob trying to sell me something. Thing is, I know the product list, the prices, and more product information than any rep will ever know. Great price on chicken? Oh, you must mean the s'less, b'less IQF breasts, right? I never order that crap. Why? Well, what's the pump on those anyway, 18% 20%? You mean you don't know what pump is? Jeez, I think you better find out.

Or negotiate a case lot, or a $1,000 shipment of one product. Before I even think about calling the rep for this, I'll contact the manufacturer or check on their website for any price increases. And when I get the line from the rep, "That product has gone up in price since you last ordered, the best I can do for you is $____ , I smile and tell them that according to mnfctr or the distributer, that the price hasn't gone up. The look on those guys faces is priceless, kind of like a parent watching a 4 yr old read and recite Shakespeare. I mean, the client is a small business owner, right? Heck his wife works with him, it's a mom and pop operation, how on earth did he figure out to check with the distributer? Small business owners are eejits, that's why they're small businesses, this shouldn't be happening.

Like I said, the ones that catch on and actually apply themselves to learn what they're selling get moved on to the big accounts, then they get to hand out free tickets, pens, notepads, and assorted goodies. It's not in my interests to educate them, other than for the entertainment of making them sweat. And why not? They should know what they're selling, and if that isn't enough, the sight of their last name printed on every invoice I get makes you stop and think. They're getting a cut of my money on every order I place with them, irregardless if they can sell, can't sell, or avoid me like the plague.

Customers, too are a source of entertainment.
No, not the regs or the "real customers", but the non-customers, the ones who come in and demand my time and don't buy anything. See, I do a lot of networking with local schools and community centers, do a lot of kids and adult's baking and chocolate workshops when time allows. It's good business, and it benifits a lot of people. But now who was that Chinese great leader who said something like "If we open up a window there will be one or two flies that will come in" ?
Every couple of months someone I have never known will waltz in and demand to speak to me. Cooks/bakers are eejits and their time isn't valuable, right? "Ah, Mr Suter, I'm from the _____School/Church/ Charitable organization. I have to tell, you have a real nice store here, nice stuff, lovely, really. But the reason I don't buy anything here is because you don't donate your time/money/product with our _____school/church/organization".

I look them straight in the eye and ask them: "Now how should I respond to a wonderfull sales pitch like that?"
I keep a poker face and it really bothers them that they can't read my face. They don't know how to respond. Heck it's a small business, all small business owners are eejits and pushovers,I did compliment on his nice store, right? Well, the jerk small business owner should be apologizing and begging to throw free product at me or free time. Maybe I should just get out of here and put "undecided" on my clip board....

And that folks, is entertainment. Not the warm glowing belly laughs, or the box seats for the Canucks vs Philly, definately no wine or even a note pad, but it's the only perk that I can get.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #7 of 8

Play the game smart5

I basically do the same thing.. I will ask salesman give me price on 16-20 shrimp .. He tells me 5.95 pound. Ok I say now give me a price on 400 pounds.He says I just told you 5.95., I say that was for 1 pound now I am talking 400. They always come in lower, and on the rare occassion they dont, I get someone else.
Or how much for cash? I also get a kick out of order takers, who go under the guise of salesman and know nothing about the product they are selling.
Or give purveyors a rest. If you have 2 or 3 ,cut one out for a week, when he calls ,tell him his prices were a little higher then other guys, he will drop them on next weeks quotes.:lol:
CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
one of the perks of working with celebrity chefs is seeing how they deal with your staff, you, their fans.....most are gracious, thankful, generous.......some who you wouldn't think fit that mold.....others just "wanna be alone". I love the guys that make sure my stage crew is acknowledged on stage, and who pose for pix and sign copies of their books.

some of the biggest names I've worked with have sent hand written thank yous, THAT is impressive

artisan food/beverage people sending you off with samples to get your feedback....the new shiitake, blk trumpet, porcini chocolate line or the new blend of fresh roasted coffee.....or the chocolatier who roasts conks his single estate beans into bars....shows up with a box for you prior to eating at the farmer/chef dinner table....oh man....

people shopping at a farmer's market stopping you to get your ideas, ask for recipes....as your shopping....which ones would you buy Julie?

farmers that raise something just for you, or bring you something they just tried out for the first time

having local media on speed dial, just pitched a cool story on small farms being a viable sustainable option to large farms....connected numerous dots and handed out phone numbers.

nothing like having a restaurant reviewer text you or call in the middle of their meal just to share.......

having national groups or media ask who you recommend for national awards

comparing notes with experts....ie asking Fr Dom the bread baking monk what to do with xyz in a recipe

ego scratchers to be sure, but as your lifting that nasty pan out of the back of your trunk at 1am to wash after a long day, it's bonus.....like a tip jar with twenties or hundreds.....or dealing with 30* weather and commando dish washing on a veryvery cold stage
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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