About kenbuben

30+ years in the food service business with outstanding customer service.

Cooking With The Right Spices Will Have Them Coming Back

Chefs, the spices you use to cook up the best foods can really make a difference. Using just the right spices will make your customers come back for more the next time they are hungry and in the mood just for that spice. A great spice is an unforgettable flavor. It’s one that will have them driving far to taste that spice once more. They will be able to almost taste and smell it as they are thinking about it. It’s a must have flavor.

  “Once you get a spice in your home, you have it forever. Women never throw out spices. The Egyptians were buried with their spices. I know which one I’m taking with me when I go.” ~ Erma Bombeck

Check out the favorite spices from around the world along with their hidden health benefits. What could be better than tasty foods with added benefits to your health? Don’t forget which tools to use preparing these delicious dishes.

World

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How many of these spices do you use today?

What Tools Make A Great Chef?

What makes a chef top in their field? Having the right tools can make a difference in cooking and preparing food. Getting just the right knife for cutting, the right board for chopping and the right chef uniform and shoes for standing up long hours can make a big difference. Remember you may have interaction with customers and being prepared to be seen in front of them is important too.

How many of the following tools do you have today?

The Anatomy of a Top Chef

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We would love to know what other tools you use in preparing and cooking food – please let us know in the comments.

Chefs Interaction with Customers

I was selling to the food service industry for many years and one of the most gifted chefs I had ever come across was a gentleman by the name of David Brandt. A survivor of the holocaust in World War II David learned at a very young age that customers always came first. He was the executive chef at a very popular restaurant in eastern Rhode Island. Part of his success was he came out of the kitchen in a very nice chef coat, greeted and knew the first name of every patron.

Chef
One of his patrons financed him and the patron’s son to open their own restaurant in Providence, Rhode Island. It unfortunately had to close because his partner had some personal issues. Those issues cost both of them the business.

When the restaurant in Providence was open David would do the exact same thing that he did when he was the executive chef at, what is still, a very popular restaurant on the East Bay of Rhode Island. He knew every customer by their first names including Mrs. Chase, who ate there every evening and owned the Ann & Hope department stores. Ann is Hope is where Sam Walton came to visit and based his concepts on the Wal-Mart legacy.

The important concept here is customer service is everything! And to all the executive chefs that are out there, please treat your customers as your friends.

The University of Chef Uniforms

By Ken Buben

Many of today’s restaurants, nursing homes, and any other food service establishments require that the executive chef at the very least utilizes a chef uniform. The chef’s uniform can vary from a work shirt to a classic double breasted chef’s uniform. These uniforms have been worn since the 1900’s in the food industry.

chef uniforms

Many restaurants, institutions and other food service operations utilize an outside vendor to provide and launder their restaurant clothing to an outside service. In my opinion this is a grave mistake.

A chef should be proud of what he is wearing in the kitchen, especially if he has contact with customers in the dining room. Not to mention the fact that a professional well-dressed chef gets a lot more productivity from his or her help. The same can be said for a CEO of a company who walks around in a well-dressed suit and gets more respect from his or her staff. Would that same person get the same treatment if they were dressed in some old dirty clothing?

I recall years ago, selling food products to the restaurant industry where a great knowledgeable German chef use to change his chef coat and go to the front of the house to greet and ask if everything was okay.

Have you ever been asked by a chef if your food was cooked well?         

The bottom line is not always the menu or price but who is preparing the food for your party. You would not want dirty hands cooking your food or dirty clothing to get into your food as well.

In short, I personally ask for a tour of a restaurant’s kitchen to glance at their refrigeration, the quality of the clothing and sanitary conditions before I order anything.

Have you toured your restaurant’s kitchen lately? 

Chef Uniforms – Own or Rent?

By Ken Buben 

Many Restaurants, hotels, caterers, nursing homes, and other foodservice establishments choose to “rent” their kitchen uniforms from a linen supplier which in turn services these uniforms for a fee.

Sound’s good right? But let’s look at the drawbacks to this system. First is the fact that many of these “cleaning” companies keep bringing the operator soiled product even after they had been “cleaned”. This is because the supplier recycles the uniform until it virtually falls apart. I was at a restaurant a few days ago at 8:30 am. This restaurant has an open windowed kitchen. I noticed a young chef with a chef coat that was EXTREMLY dirty. I asked him how long he had had it on. He said he asked the owner the day before if he could take it home and launder it himself instead of having the linen company do it. Well, the result was obvious that the dirt was so ground in that it would never come clean.

chef coat

Let’s consider the cost of using a cleaning service. I’ll use easy numbers for this exercise. And chef coats only.

Let’s say an operator has twenty chefs on staff each working five shifts and let’s also assume this operator is open from 7am to 10pm, hence the twenty staff.

20 times 5 equals 100 chef coats the operator is “renting” at about 50 cents per chef coat. Anyone can see that this equals fifty dollars a week; times 52 is $2600 per year. $2600 per year for sometimes filthy uniforms? Not if I owned the establishment. What would be worse is if the establishment had a carving station, pasta station, or if the chef went into the dining room to greet quests.

In my opinion a chef should own his own chef coat and be proud to wear it every day and replace it before it gets grungy.

It’s a fact that a patron in a restaurant has cleanness at top of his or her list of “Will I Eat Here Again?”

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net & Image courtesy of Aleks Melnik at FreeDigitalPhotos.net