I am finally back in a town with Internet! It is so good to go through all the new threads, and seeing what everyone is up to.
I have just accepted a job with a small hotel, to fix up their kitchen, and get the restaurants up to scratch. There are two restaurants, both operating from the same kitchen. One is a fine dining restaurant, with a New Orleans theme to it, and the other is a lunch time, poolside cafe/bar. They both have a pretty bad rep at the moment, but the fine dining one used to be the best restaurant in the city.
They do want to change it, to give it more of a wine bar feel.
I spent a few days in the kitchen, only watching how it is being run, how the chefs work and all that.
The kitchen is the worst kitchen I have ever been in!! The equipment is about 50 years old, and hardly anything works, and has probably not been cleaned since it was installed, I ran my finger through the side of the main gas hob, and dug a trench, half my finger deep, through all the grease. The flat top looked a bit odd to me, rounded at the front, a bit different to the squarish ones I'm used to, had a closed look, and found it was carbon, compressed around it, about an inch thick.
Okay, I am rambling a bit on how disgustingly dirty the kitchen is, and there is so much more on the subject i could talk about.
The Chefs, or cooks, I have a bit of a problem calling them Chefs.
Most of them have been there for about 20 years, and they only know what they were taught when they arrived.
They have a huge problem with me being there, and I know they will not want to change, and try get me to leave, the good thing is i have the owners on my side if I need to get some new guys in, but i really don't like doing that, I would rather get them a bit more enthusiastic about the changes. Oh, and they all refuse to wear chef jackets, as it is "Too Hot" in the kitchen.
It is all going to change, so i won't go on about it. The cooks have no pride in their plating, and the quality of the produce is just terrible!
The restaurant manager.
He is very stuck in his ways, and i can see i am going to clash with him. He was in charge with the kitchen before i arrived, and he is very unhappy with me being there, I think he feels threatened. ( He is older than me, so are most of the kitchen staff. I have a bit of trouble giving orders and being in charge of people older than me, just the way i was brought up, and I am sure they will feel the same) Most of the food on the menus is his, and I think he may have taken offense when I called the food crap, a compliment in my opinion.
Never have I ever written a list so long (Ever) of the amount of problems with the existing equipment, and the the equipment that is needed. The owners have said they are willing to redo the kitchen, but i have heard that before!
The oven has one setting, Hell! and the deep fryer has to be switched on and off at the switch box for each order.
The walk in is about 50 metres away from the kitchen, and there are no fridges in the kitchen.
My favorite is the extractor, when i asked why it wasn't on, they said it doesn't work properly. So I had a peek, and the fan and motor is just one big ball of grease.
The plates are more of a yellow than white, and the bottoms are greasy and brown (Just a quick reminder, this was once the best restaurant in the city)
There is so much equipment that is needed in the kitchen. I have always been one to say, a good tradesman never blames his tools, but this is just ridiculous, I can't do what i have been hired to do.
This is going to be a big job for me, and there is so much I have left out! Any advice you guys can offer me would be great.
I am busy designing the menus, doing the costs and trying to find a way to get the kitchen up to scratch.
I will take a few pics of the kitchen, and post my proposed menus soon. Thanks in advance!!
Sorry for the long post!