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Kitchen From Skratch or "SUDDENLY a Chef"

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hello this is my first post but I read cheftalk for a long time. Listen to my story please because there comes a time in every man's life...

I'm 27 and have a family: a wife and a daughter. her birth pushed me change career to cooking for income. I'm the line cook for 2 years now and still loving it. Few days ago I left my second kitchen to Move On and while making calls I received a proposal to start a new kitchen from scratch in cafe-bar-pool-banquette-sauna-disco triple-floor (including underground one) complex. *sigh*
I was there today. Everything is in state of inside-works, kitchen has no electricity, ventilation etc. They want to push cafe, bar, banquette hall, disco hall - all at once, with european food and sushi.
They want me to build their kitchen (equipment, planning, etc.), create menu, setup everything and start to work with cafe while they will build everything else (second floor, discohall, sauna). Another cook going to help me.
They want to make it IN THREE MONTHS FROM NOW.
What should i do? Theoretically, i can do planning and cooking etc. My past two years were full of 'fun'. But overall situation is bothersome. Some time ago I was staging in another place that opened in almost a year after the same point of completion as the bar-cafe-sauna-whatevertheywant. And that place was just a small restaurant with four times smaller kitchen.
I know for sure that their schedule will be pushed back soo many times, so what about my income? How are they going to pay me for kitchen-building? How soon they will start to pay me? is it real to train-up chef skills on the go in this story? I know that piece of cake i going to chew is huge, but where else i'll find such an opportunity? There is no super-duper restaurants in my area and apprenticeship isn't available.
But again, i have to pay my bills and this project smells like another "we want to create such a great place" that will freeze on the cafe phase forever.
P.s.: sorry, English is my second language. I'm bad at it.
P.p.s.:they say that have some other business "to stay afloat" but want to create this place for it to become "general income".

So, what do you think?

Screw it, let's do it, eh?
Edited by y2135 - 4/18/14 at 5:44am
post #2 of 8

Kitchen cost more to build then front of houise. They want to use your $ to do this?  You have kids to support forget it. You said it had no venelation system. This alone could cost you thousands.

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
No they want me to project the kitchen. Ventilation pipes are there but that's it.
Oh and they ALREADY bought two $2500 gas-stoves..
post #4 of 8

 I will try to answer your questions.

they should pay you to do the planning etc for the kitchen build. It is not uncommon.

As well as the physical kitchen you will also have to write the HACCP plan, risk assessments, etc

  The first thing ,you should sit down with them and find out exactly what they expect, and a time line, and how and when they are going to pay you. Then you need to go away and work out if you think you can do it. At that point you go back to them and say yes or no.

 They should pay you as much as if you are working full time, take nothing less  what they are asking is a difficult process to undertake, and if they went to a consultant it would cost them a lot of money.

 you need to think about the menu you will have to cook, and the number of staff you will need before you go anywhere near designing a kitchen. You should also make your design as flexible as possible to incorporate possible menu/theme changes, which will happen.

  You should before you do anything have a chat with the local health inspector and   use them to help guide you through the process.

 If you use them as part consultant they will be very very helpful.

 Also most equipment suppliers will have someone on staff able to help design a commercial kitchen, and if you badger them enough and offer enough business, you can get access to their skills as part of the deal.


 Hope this helps. If you need more, just ask



post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the elaborated answer. I suggest this is not what I want to put myself into.
post #6 of 8

It would be great experience, but.......


Now if you were tagging along with an experienced Chef from day 1, I 'd say jump on it!


But three months to build a kitchen from scratch with no menu or even theme in mind, and then someone goes out and buys a few $2500 stoves and don't even know if or where they'll fit under a non-existent hood says a lot about the owners.


Most knowledgeable places will cut a deal with restaurant equipment suppliers, they buy X amount worth of equipment and the restaurant equipment dealer designs the kitchen and coordinates with the trades and the mechanical engineer.


The most expensive piece of infrastructure is the ventilation system, and most--if not all, municipalities will require a mechanical engineer to provide drawings of the ventilation system which also includes make-up air.


Then comes the plumbing, you will require a grease trap, and again most municipalities have some kind of formula to calculate how big this should be, and this is dependent on your equipment.


Then comes the wiring, and your big power suckers will be any electrical equipment like dishwashers, water heaters, ice machines, compressors for the walk-ins, ventilation equipment, air conditioning, and lighting.  You need to know what you want in your kitchen before you can figure out what your maximum amperage will be, and you need to know that before you can bid out for the electrician.  None of this can be figured out until the menu is finalized and that can't happen until you figure out your theme and your budget.


The dishpit is another area that needs carefull consideration.  How big, how much of pre rinse tabling and landing tabling needed, do the dirty dishes come in from the left or the right?  Is the pit too close to the entrance doors and makes too much noise for the customers?  Will the bar be using the dishwasher?  If you have banqueting and have a 200 plate 3 course meal mess dumped at the pit, do you have enough space?


What kind of a budget are you given?  Who prepares bids for the trades?  Who pays for licensing and inspections? Smallware budget? Chinaware and glassware?


You have good "spidey senses", you smell something funny, and decline.  That's smart.

...."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 #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Sadly, most of the businessmen here enter the food industry thinking it's as easy as buying some random stuff and opening the doors. World Wild Web educates but not those who are with money, somehow.
post #8 of 8

Always remember his. When you open and own a restaurant you constantly have a tough boss. Who you ask??


The front door is your boss  It must be opened daily, staffed, cleaned, insured, purchased for, accept deliveries accounting and assorted paperwork for, and closed daily.There is never enough time in the day. It is cheaper to work for someone else

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