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Spraying steaks with pan spray?!

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Here's the problem... I've taken over an existing restaurant and will be rebranding and changing all procedures (which are mostly non existent) and doing a complete menu replacement. The existing restaurant is known for their fantastic steaks ($32 ribeyes $40 filet mignon) and upon observing the chef in action I noticed that he sprays his steaks after seasoning them. I've always oiled the steak before cooking but he's GENEROUSLY spraying his steaks with non stick. I've seen the episode of kitchen nightmares and cringed when I saw the chef do this exact thing. Now my dilemma is, the steaks are delicious! And this chef has been cooking for much longer than I have. I don't want to keep this habit of his especially since diners can see it since we have an exposed glass window kitchen. So how do I justify stopping this? Thanks for all suggestions!
post #2 of 6
Just want I want on my $40 steak. If you are in charge, throw away the spray and make it known that from here foreword spray will not be used on meats. Save it for the muffin tins.
I worked the broiler in big very busy restaurants for years, never once sprayed a steak. Fish and poultry might need a little lube at times, this is what oil is for.
You have to look at why he's needing to use this stuff. Is the broiler hot enough? Meat will stick if not. Is it clean? You need to hit the broiler with a wire brush several times or more each shift, then wipe clean with an oiled rag.
You call this guy a chef, there can only be one chef in the kitchen, is it you or him?
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your input. I'm really asking because when I brought it up to the owner he asked what's wrong with that if it tastes good? I have written procedures that are required not optional. Cooking steaks is in those procedures. I'm not going to let him continue to use the spray I'm just looking for a way to explain that it's gross and unprofessional to a lay person. Trust me, I'm the chef and I'm a tough one by most standards. The kitchen was under other ownership at the time of my observation and I wasn't about to tell them to stop cooking their way before they were on my payroll lol!!
post #4 of 6

In case you need a second opinion, here's one. 

I agree with Chefbuba that you should examine why he's doing it. The end product is delicious and sells well so maybe it's a problem, maybe not. If the chef cooked a steak without the spray, would it taste as good? So is the spray what makes it taste good? 

In any case, before you do anything, know the why. If tradition is the only rationale, then there is no reason. 

If it's the quantity of spray, you can substitute something else, right; a brush of olive or grape seed oil, butter, lard. 

     What I don't agree with is to change procedures because the perception may be that it's gross and unprofessional to a lay person. If it's gross and unprofessional to a professional, then it's gross and unprofessional. The average person doesn't know squat about what goes on in a professional kitchen. I've listened to too many stupid, uninformed, asinine opinions about professional cooking from lay people who didn't' understand what they were seeing or hearing. I'm sure doctors, lawyers, mechanics and contractors all hear the same baloney from people. 

By all means, change what you don't like. But do it because as a professional you know it's wrong and you have a better method. Then explain it to your chef/cook as one professional to another. 

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

I have seen several things that the chef and cooks do in that kitchen that can be dubbed unprofessional. I without a doubt have established it as so and by no means am taking into account the opinion of a lay person (I deal with those on a daily basis). But the question of why change it brought to my attention that maybe it's not a big deal. I'm glad that I'm not the only one who sees it as strange and unprofessional. I'm hoping for a good rebuttal as to why he shouldn't do it. My reason is that using the olive oil blend that I currently use on my broiled steaks, the protein develops a better crust and cooks more thoroughly since the heat is dispersed through the oil. I've also found that it hold the seasoning more if seasoned first, then oiled and seasoned again. I really think he does it just because he can. Either way, we will be cooking steaks according to my procedure since I'm focusing on duplicating the restaurant that I've built over the last four years. I will be sure to ask him as to why he does it when he comes into my kitchen next week for training. Thanks again for the feedback. It's nice to be able to talk to like minded chefs about things that come to my mind..

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

He uses a gas grill. It's brushed regularly so I'm assuming he cooks this way just because he finds it easier than rubbing the steak with oil. I'll definitely ask him his reason why. He and his cooks are coming to my existing restaurant while we remodel the one they've been working at and we purchased. I'll train them in my procedures (as he and I have discussed and he is on board with) and then he will run the new restaurant for me while I am at the original. Thanks for your thoughts. I really appreciate the feedback.. 

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