Duties a Head Chef should practice

21Aug08

What duties should a Head Chef practice?

All of us loves going to fancy restaurants, being serve by wondrous service staff and beautiful platters of food. Many times, the amount of DOLLARS in our pocket are keeping us away from these robust-looking, exquisite ambient, fancy restaurants. Besides, foods presented to us so nonchalantly beautiful made no sense to the extra pennies in our pocket because we can get these somewhere else for half the price.

On the next edition, FoodCentral will be talking about “Practice Simple Food Costing“, to give you a better insight of what practices restaurants make these days that punched a hole in your wallet.

In a restaurant or at home, (usually, Mom’s the Head Chef) a Head Chef should practice these things in order to ensure the success of the business itself. These practices may seem extrinsic to the normal duties of a Head Chef, but extremely essential especially to medium sized restaurants or start-ups.

Recommended Head Chef Duties

  1. Public Relation Skills

    Not only to his/her subordinates, but also to the customers. A Head Chef should spend more time on the restaurant’s customers to further improve the quality of food, the décor of the area, customer comfort and trends, etc. Knowing your market is one of the best things to do; better yet if you’re facing them. Try pick the brains of your customers when you serve them food. Get a good pick up line and start mining data. (We will not provide examples of pick-up lines here because restaurant conditions vary).

    Also, care for your staff. Talk to them, work with them, make them happy, show them why work an extra 10 minutes in the kitchen before rushing back home, party hard with them after restaurant hours, invite them to your place for dinner, head on to the snooker center with some of them during split shifts, personally cook their staff meal, etc. A little effort goes a long way. Make sure you don’t get too rowdy with your staff or they might climb over your head.

  2. Be the Personal Food Trainer

    Train your staff well. Make sure they know their job well and not limited to that only. Take turns to make them do other jobs, too. Teach them the science of food. When an authoritative figure share a certain knowledge (at the right time: Do it over break period or when you all are having fun), after gaining respect from their subordinates, information transition will not be a problem. Gain your respect, teach the right things and make them think critically.

    Tell them about how to cost food, how to receive raw materials, how to order from suppliers, how to plan a menu, how to talk to customers, how to effectively cook a pasta, etc. Give them your information love — Most people will appreciate and take them if you implement proper training.

    Some Chefs have trouble teaching their helpers how to properly cook or what ingredients to use so that a particular dish can taste excellent. FoodCentral has always lived on this concept: Teach and tell people your secrets without hesitation; if they can do it better than you, now you have a weakness.

  3. Handle certain tedious jobs

    Tedious jobs are always less handled by Head Chefs. Occasionally in a kitchen, the Head Chef will always command & conquer – To a point where Hitler couldn’t even dictate better. Head Chefs should always handle special requests, important dine-ins or even fillet-ing a fish. Sometimes, Head Chefs should also take the position of the Barker – The one who calls for order and plan which goes in and out, what’s to be produced first.

    In a way, a tedious job could also mean creating a proper system in the kitchen where it’s so optimized that even if the Head Chef is not there, anyone can take over.

  4. Review daily roster

    Reviewing daily rosters can save the kitchen from a lot of trouble. Plan ahead well – Know your staff and plan their daily tasks. Be sure to rotate these tasks and make it clear to them that everyone gets a piece of the dirty job. Even the Chef de Partie. This can serve as a good training ground especially when it comes to apprentices and kitchen helpers all the way to Chef de Parties. See number 2 – Be the personal trainer, and integrate an unbiased, systematic and excellent training with your roster.

  5. Be a marketer

    Being a Head Chef does not necessarily mean always being in the kitchen. In fact, knowledgeable Head Chefs spend more time out of the kitchen doing things that will benefit the restaurant. Marketing is a good way to start with. Go to gatherings, create an impact to the public – Refer yourself to this restaurant. Join business networks like BNI (Business Network International) and get some leads. Market yourself and eventually your restaurant will attract more crowd.

    Besides, you can also look into things like plain marketing (brochures), pitching large sales (catering for a large crowd) or personal cooking for the Royalties. Don’t limit or confine yourself to the kitchen – Get out there and start making an impact to the public. Press and media could only help you this much.

  6. Maintain/Build a good relationship with supplier

    Maintaining a good relationship with your supplier benefits you more than your nights of head-cracking cost-control techniques implemented in the restaurant’s kitchen system. Take your time to get to know them, to make them feel good about you, be their friend. Also, always ensure that payment is made to the suppliers EARLIER, not on-time or later. Topics in maintaining a good relationship with your supplier can boil down to your kitchen planning.

    Get your guns, PR techniques and coat. Head over to the supplier’s office and have a chat, or simply head on down to talk about the food market and/or their business. You’ll realize that achieving this will benefit you a bunch in the long run, and these rewards could come in many ways – Discounts, longer contract terms, gifts, the extra kilogram, referrals, new customers, lower market price and so forth. This is one of the most crucial metric to use in your weekly tasks if you’re the Head Chef.

Practicing good kitchen management techniques can help improve the restaurant business in many ways. Even to the extent of having just a stall in Tuesday night’s pasar malam. If you know how to play well with your foods, use alternative methods and still make an impact, you’re one step closer to achieving a Gold Medal for being Food-Smart.

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One Response to “Duties a Head Chef should practice”

  1. Nice bog you have here. I pretty much lurk the internet when I’m bored and read all I can about the organic lifestyle, but I really liked you view on things. I’ll bookmark the site and subscribe to the feed!


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