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Need Chef to design menu & kitchen for new restaurant

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

I am opening a scotch lounge and would like to serve tapas to guests. While the food is not the main attraction, everything about this place is going to be high class and I need a small plate menu to match. The place when full will hold 100 people. 


I need a chef to create the menu and in turn design a kitchen that can handle the menu and the crowd efficiently and with as small staff as possible. 


Sorry if this is very vague, I do not have much experience in the kitchen aspect of the business, but would like to incorporate it into my new liquor venture, which has been very successful in the past. 

If you have any questions please feel free to ask and I will do my best to answer. 

Thanks in advance! 

post #2 of 18
Hi alapdesai,
where are you planning to open your lounge?
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
post #4 of 18

How long do you expect to keep the Chef?


What kind of a budget are you giving him to equip?


Does the budget include infrastructure costs?


Will the Chef hire and train employees?


And about a zillion more, but for the time being this should suffice.

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 

Undecided on how long the chef stays. May just hire on a consulting basis to create the menu and train the staff. Again, small plates, simple but elegant and tasty menu. 


Budget is up in the air for the kitchen. We want it done properly and won't be cutting corners. The budget will be sufficient for the needs of the place.


Yes the chef will train the employees. 


Keep them coming. And any advice would be welcome as well!

post #6 of 18

What is square footage of entire operation and how much is designated for kitchen? What are hours of operation? What is turnover time?

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Appx 3000sqft. Kitchen size will depend on final design after figuring out what needs to be included and layout.

4pm-12am daily

Turnover time is unknown. Guests at scotch lounge usually stay for a while.
post #8 of 18

How many food items and courses are you anticipating per guests?

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
post #9 of 18

As far as kitchen design... what is the sq. footage for the kitchen? Your menu, you will want flexibility but you need to limit equipment to the most versatile pieces. I'd try to get a flattop grill/ stove combo over a double oven with a salamander for broiling and browning mounted above and a small fryer or steamer could be helpful. Is the kitchen closed or open? How is the ventilation? You need room for a 3 sink for pans, a 2 sink for food, and a hand washing sink for the best sanitation..a simple corner commercial dishwasher is ideal, too. You need a good prep space and room for a warmer or server pick-up area, and your freezer/ fridge and dry storage spaces.

Your menu will really dictate all of this planning, and drains, work flow, efficiency, hood systems and fire safety, pan and chemical storage... these are issues that need to be planned well to avoid improper storage. Will you need slicers, mixers, blenders, room for baking or pre-made salads for large parties?

Are you planning on serving full dinners, or just appetizers? With future growth would you expand your menu? How many employees do you expect to need in the kitchen? There are so many things to consider, I would like to help more.

post #10 of 18

Build kitchen around menu, don't   build menu around kitchen.

post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies guys. Have been working on menu item ideas recently. Here is what we have so far that we are thinking. 


1) Lamb in a blanket
2) Air bread cheesesteak
3) Deviled eggs with bacon bits
4) Chicken samosa
5) Baby cornished hen leggings (tandoori style)
6) Cotton candy wrapped (something)
7) Bacon wrapped dates
8) Spicy crab spring rolls

1) Gougeres
2) Cheese platter
3) Liquid olives
4) Watermelon caviar topped with cotton candy
5) Cherry tomatoes with liquid mozzarella
6) Spicy sweet potato chips served with aioli
7) Watermelon and tomato skewers


Would love your opinions on the menu, and any ideas on the kitchen as well to achieve something like this. We are very open in regards to kitchen size, design, employees, etc. We want to do this properly and willing to adjust the budget accordingly to achieve it. As we are starting from scratch we have the flexibility to design the kitchen to the most efficient way.

post #12 of 18
These small plates are to be served in your high end scotch bar, right?
Not much of a drinker anymore but do enjoy an occ nip.
Do have one question tho.. keeping in mind that I am no expert when it comes to the caliber of product you plan to pour.
Have you thought to bring in a consultant that is experienced with cocktail and food pairing?
Just askin'...
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 

Since it will only be brown liquors and some red/white wines, no mixed drinks, pairing isn't as easy. However, we do have some very knowledgable people and very many contacts in the industry who are also reviewing the menu and providing their thoughts. 

post #14 of 18
Excuse my poor choice of word.
By saying cocktail I meant the scotch.
Since this will be your first foray into the food side of things, and you have voiced your intention of projecting said venture as an upscale sipping lounge , mistakes are easily made.
Sounds like you have things under control.
Pop back in and let us know how things go!
post #15 of 18
If your intention is to open a scotch bar. Why not have something on your menu or multiply things on your menu that have scotch in them?

One thing I would tend to try and stay away from in a case like this is messy dripping dusty food. Things that are going spill and get all over the costumers clothing.

Another question what percent do you plan the kitchen in overly income? I'm guessing your going to make most of your money of the drinks and the food in the backround?
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 

As a brown liquor lounge, multiplying the taste of the liquor isn't very good. The liquor is the star and is meant to be appreciated for its flavors as a standalone. Similar to wine, its important to cleanse your palate when tasting different types. Thats why we are focusing more on bready type foods that cleanse the palate, and other small interesting items to complement the liquor. I feel like scotch flavored type foods are more gimmicky. 


The food is really only being offered as a convienence, side item. It is not the focus. If we break even on the food we are happy. However we still would like to keep with the high end nature of the place and offer tasty, interesting, well presented items to the caliber our patrons would expect. 

post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 

So I have begun to make progress on this. I think we have locked down the menu we would like. I am going to meet a chef who will help me pick out everything I need for the kitchen based on the menu and design the kitchen layout. Architect plans are coming together. 


Still need a chef to run the kitchen and train staff for minimum of 6 months. Do you guys have any sites or recruiters you've used in the past that you would recommend? 

post #18 of 18

Don't let an architect "do" the kitchen, they don't know the codes, work flow patterns, or common sense things like walk-in doors swing outward--not inward.  Your best bet is to go to a restaurant equipment supplier.  Usually they cut a deal based on how much stuff you buy from them.  They do know their stuff, they know the codes and what inspectors are looking for, and they know work flow patterns.  The dish pit is a classical example, it has to be lcoated close enough to the foh to allow servers access, and has to either r-l or l-r dpending on the traffic pattern in the kitchen. I'm not talking about leasing a dish machine, I'm talking about the pre-rinse sinks, landing table, rack storage, pot sinks and salad sinks--Eco-lab won't supply that......


Remember, the single most expensive piece of infrastructure will be the ventilation system--your stove and equipment like fryers is based on it's  location and size.  You will need a mechanical engineer to design this system--architects and design specialists don't have a mech. engineer's stamp, and this is what your municipality will demand.


Good luck with your project!

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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