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pastry chef recognition


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#31 alanamoana

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Posted 18 August 2003 - 11:27 AM

michael, i'd like to thank you for such a great response to this thread. you took all the "negative" points and turned them 180 degrees to positive for everyone to learn from. i couldn't have said it better.

you're absolutely right when it comes to pr. it does take self promotion as it is rare that the chef will give an inch of his own pr and share it with the pc. i look back on my first pc job though and realize all the advantages i was given and now i'm tempted to write to my old chef and beg his forgiveness for being such a stubborn and arrogant bitch! hindsight is 20/20 and whenever i felt that he and the chef de cuisine were getting all the kudos, he would pass the photographer to my end of the kitchen to make sure i got some notice. a better guy than i realized at the time.

as some people are saying on this thread, we wonder why we do this. i'm still in a transitional period with regard to what i'll end up doing when i finally return to nyc...i hope some of the new restaurant openings inspire me to get back into it in some aspect or another.

again, i'd like to propose a nyc dessert tasting for this fall for eGulleteers...anyone in the city interested? i'll try to post again on a new thread to see if there's any interest in this.

#32 bripastryguy

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Posted 18 August 2003 - 12:08 PM

these points have made me a stronger individual and more stedfast in setting up my own business. Not having to codle chefs with lack luster food and allowing them to ride on the coat tails of me "The Closer". I feel there are enough chefs out there that will appreciate quality desserts presented to them in the arena they understand (havent quite figured that out yet)

I will not have to deal with their kitchen conditions, equipment or ingredient restraints, etc... I will be my own boss....is that an oxy moron? We still and I will still be dictated to not as an employee but as a supplier, the chef will now be like the customers we look to please, so I guess owning a business or being your own boss doesnt end the strife that we endore.

The recognition to me means that others have recognized my accomplishments. I think we are all harder on ourselves than others are on us. We do need a little stroking occasionally to keep up morale.

When a chef steals your "thunder" is it time to call a spade a spade?
I, on more occasions than I can count. A chef has taken credit for a dessert that was way out of his league to assume the glory. Working in DC a bunch of years ago a restaurant I was the pc for got a favorable review in the Washington Post....they hailed the desserts with praise but no where was a mention of the pc, the chef came up with a whole bunch of lies how the some of the desserts were his mothers recipes which he refined for the restaurant or how he researched recipes for a specific item on a tasting plate and the best was....They rated the Creme Brulee as the best (at the time) in DC....he proceeded to give the ingredients for the recipe (to his surprise I had replaced the old recipe with mine) so that home makers could re-create it at home. My best reward was when customers called complaining that it no way resembled what they had in the restaurant (cruel?)
Another instance. I came in 2nd in a competition on Long Island, NY. Competed against 50 other restaurants. They presented me with a ribbon (the chef let me share the spotlight with him even though the dish was all me). The chefs mother took the ribbon (she attended the competition and saw it was my dessert that took the ribbon) and had it artfully framed, no mention of who or what it was for. I asked the chef why there was no description for the ribbon and he said "its a conversion piece, when people ask we will tell them" I asked the waitstaff do you know what that ribbon is for? yeah, Nick came in second for some dish he made........ :angry:

I think one of our major problems is some chefs egos are just to big to share the spot light and are not able to handle the fact they maybe overshadowed by someone who has a more creative vision then they do....
"Chocolate has no calories....
Chocolate is food for the soul, The soul has no weight, therefore no calories" so said a customer, a lovely southern woman, after consuming chocolate indulgence
SWEET KARMA DESSERTS
www.sweetkarmadesserts.com
550 East Meadow Ave. East meadow, NY 11554
516-794-4478
Brian Fishman

#33 Katherine

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Posted 18 August 2003 - 12:21 PM

It's such a pity that some people who are in a position to do so will take the whole pie for themselves, when with a little teamwork, not only will there be some for everyone, but the pie can be much bigger.

#34 nightscotsman

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Posted 18 August 2003 - 08:36 PM

Mmmmm... pie... :biggrin:

#35 tan319

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Posted 19 August 2003 - 11:40 AM

One thing I'll always be frustated about is how little attention is given to desserts by the hotside and management. I'd like someone to address this seriously with the masses of chefs out there that aren't working in "elite" restaurants. Attention in this regard: having a pc on staff. I don't understand why they don't care about making a profit on desserts? Shouldn't they care about the quality of every item they serve their clients?

I had one place that used me for their weekly buffets and ala carte menu then only sold ice cream on their banquets. How totally stupid that looks finacially (to me). Their explaination was they wanted to keep my hours down. Full time-making their banquet desserts would have paid for everything else.

I think to some extent we're like witch doctors (sorry I couldn't think of a better example) to chefs. They really don't understand our work and fear that we'll be difficult and more demanding upon their kitchen.

Reporting from my experiences lately, the reason they don't pay more attention to desserts is because they're more worried about selling their own food (in the case of the chefs) or simply getting people into the restaurant, keeping costs down and trying to keep stuff nailed down to the floor (owners, managers, with pilferage and worse).
It's funny you wrote about this yesterday because I had one of the worst days in a long while yesterday, and it pretty much pertains to what we've been discussing here.
My digital scale was stolen between Saturday night and yesterday morning. That certainly brightened my day up.
The guy who assists me threw out some dough I was using over the weekend because it didn't seem 'fresh', and then didn't bother leaving me a note about it. As well as a cornucoupia of other crap he didn't do.
Dessert sales at lunch haven't been great and yesterday, after 40 -45 covers and 3 desserts sold , I brought it up with the chefs, managers and a couple of servers. Basically said that if they couldn't get the #s up , who knows what would happen. And this subject had been coming up more lately from me.
This goes into big discussion about menus, etc., with assorted suggestions from sous chefs about changes, letting me know about how I pissed some waitress off when she caught me in a surly mood (who knows, a month or two ago?), it might've been over the heat in the kitchen that particular day, or it might have concerned that I was in the middle of something after trying to hold off on making product that I can't walk away from, anticipating some sales and not getting them and of course, Murphys law came into play. I plate desserts at lunch while doing production.
Much discussion followed about communication (my emphasis) and if anyone is annoyed at me, they should discuss it WITH me , instead of me hearing about it a month later.

Why management doesn't care about dessert sales that much is because they know,and I quote here from a managers words yesterday to me, " You can't begin to have a great restaurant, a serious great restaurant, without great desserts".
They know it's good stuff, mine do care about quality, but with customers using entertainment cards, trying to watch their money, sometimes putting their credit cards on the table to pay before they even get the check, it's 'hard' on the servers to get the dessert menu to them.
To me , it's a lame excuse, especially when there was a server there for maybe a week, worked two or three shifts, and she sold more desserts at lunch in 2 days then I think I ever saw anyone do. But, what do you think?
I was basically told yesterday that my job was safe, no matter what. Should I stop caring about how much I sell and just make my desserts, make sure they're great and that's it?
Oh, and as far as ice cream, profit lines go, here's something for you. That server who was kicking ass, great sales, came down to me and ordered some vanilla ice cream ( not made by me, I don't have a machine at this place) and I asked her how much she was charging and was told "$1.50" I told her it's 4.00. I'm scooping into an martini glass, berrie's ,etc, why were we giving it away?
Because no one really cared . Sometimes the Atkins people want berries in a bowl, I'll put them in a martini glass, make it look nice, server says ' I told them it was $4.00' , I'm like, why aren't we charging $7.00, like all the other desserts, the product costs more, etc.
And no one askes the pastry chef how much to charge, it's bullshit.
Sinclair, I think you're right about us not being understood and such.
We're secluded most of the time, a lot of chefs think we just play around with sugar.
"Sweet siders", LOL!!! That's how it's been referred to.
Hey, but on the positive side, a lot of the chefs, or at least some of them, know we work in crappy conditions, and try to get them improved, it just takes longer.
2317/5000

#36 bripastryguy

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Posted 19 August 2003 - 01:03 PM

tAN

On a better note, i have worked with a chef who's passion for dessert could almost be like a light at the end of the tunnel.

The first time we met, I could see that this was a chef that understood the true meaning and importance of dessert. Not just a selling item, but the end to his meal and the culmination of the customers dining experience. He felt that if he served lackluster desserts that is the way customers would perceive him and his restaurant Lackluster! We had lengthy discussions on simple and complex desserts and dessert styles. On many occasions he would force me out into the dining room to meet customers who were raving about the dessert. He gave free rein and was appeciative of all the work I did, unfortunately the kitchen was middle ages, with very little if any equipment. He now asks me when I can use his help in my shop (he is going to be a customer). He loves to get into the dessert realm and expand on his knowledge (which happens to be pretty extensive for a chef not specializing in dessert).

So I guess thereare some chefs and restaurant owners out there that really understand what we do and how it will make them $$$ in the long run and then there are others that are absolutely clueless and have no business running a restaurant.
"Chocolate has no calories....
Chocolate is food for the soul, The soul has no weight, therefore no calories" so said a customer, a lovely southern woman, after consuming chocolate indulgence
SWEET KARMA DESSERTS
www.sweetkarmadesserts.com
550 East Meadow Ave. East meadow, NY 11554
516-794-4478
Brian Fishman

#37 joiei

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Posted 19 August 2003 - 02:41 PM

When I was pc, my biggest problem was the chefs would make such large portions on apps and entrees that desserts were a hard sell to people who were already full. Not including the 2 bottles of wine they had drank. But the chef/owner insisted on New York desserts and in the deep south at that time, the dining public where I was did not understand this. They wanted stuff like they could get at Olive Garden. Oh well. I did learn a lot.
I definitely do not regret the time I spent there. I just wish they would lighten up on portion sizes. I do not want to take home doggie bags. And I do not want to waste either. Enough of my rant.

Edited by joiei, 19 August 2003 - 02:42 PM.

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.

#38 tan319

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Posted 19 August 2003 - 06:00 PM

BPG,
Thanks for your observations, etc.
Both of my chefs are into desserts. I've been given pretty much Carte Blanche in both of my places to do whatever I want.
I WOULD say that in one of them, the chef is a bit more excited about them then the other, as in he likes to come up with ice creams sometimes, or throws an idea at me to run with. Unfortunately, his restaurant is smaller, in every way, doesn't have the funds to play with as freely. So I can''t do as much cool stuff. I feel guilty if I start asking for glucose and trimoline, you know? Also, his place doesn't have the staff to do more intricate plating, or rather, I would feel pretty awful to come in one morning and find all the 'outros' I made ruined from mishandling.
My other chef from the place I spend most of my time is very into what I do, he just is tied up oftentimes in the politics and daily rigors of running a place and I guess he feels that on one hand, I have everything pretty much under control. It's been a pretty underwhelming summer here in New Mexico, everybody from Abq. to Santa Fe in the biz are pretty upset about the #s we've all done (except for the chains, I suppose) and it's just been a rough one here. I just saw my main pastry supplier pack it in and fold into a MAJOR big deal distributor. Where my choice & variety of supplys will shrink.
And , as to your chef friend's attitude about dessert, that's awesome! Was this on the east coast? NYC?
It's such a different market, as far as staff attitude. As well as most others!
:biggrin:
By that I mean a chef or GM would not be as reluctant to confront issues with servers, etc. Knowing that dessert sales gone is bull.
Like for instance what joiel brought up about overstuffed customers.
We have been confronting the "BREAD and BUTTER" issue lately.
Why do we spend so much money on something we give away?
Why place such an emphasis on that part of the meal?
We might start putting out some rolls and just try to get apps out ASAP, so people won't glut out as much.
One of the sous wants to do cornbread and flatbread too but I'm trying to get them to consider the possibility that maybe we're overfeeding them, and paying for it in a myriad of ways.
Man, watching that TRIO segment on 'Into the Fire', on FTV, has just made me start thinking about the grooviness of tasting menus. More control over the food, knowing what's coming up, too much to go into here. The idea of an amuse hitting the table lightning fast then getting into dinner just is really appealing to me.
I made a copy of it that all my other chefs are sharing and it's blowing their minds.
Hope it didn't too off topic here. There are a lot of issues hitting our dessert cuisine departments. Atkins and diets in general. The economy...
Someone I really respect wrote me something the other day.
He said that , and I'm paraphrasing a bit, " Please yourself first. Set simple goals for yourself, so that once you achieve them, you can set higher ones. "

I dig that
2317/5000

#39 zilla369

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Posted 19 August 2003 - 06:22 PM

my roomate, a total non-food industry person, offered this when i asked him about desserts in restaurants:

"I'm usually full. I mean, i like dessert, don't get me wrong. But it's so rare i go to a restaurant where the dessert isn't just something thawed out by the fucking waiter."

supports most of what you've all said.

Edited by zilla369, 19 August 2003 - 06:22 PM.

Marsha Lynch aka "zilla369"

Has anyone ever actually seen a bandit making out?

Uh-huh: just as I thought. Stereotyping.

#40 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 20 August 2003 - 06:46 AM

The whole focus on bread in some places baffles me. It's never seen as a cost per entree expense....and some places spend alot on their bread!!

Yes the whole entree size thing has gotten well out of control. We go to those places and we complain about them at the same time. We want value but it's making us fat.

As to atkins and other diets.......well it has backfired in other areas. I think people now really splurge when their going to sin. Were going to such extremes with our eating.......it's all playing into our obese society. It seems to me this should increase our sales.

Tan-I don't think you should follow your sales as closely as you mention. You got to let somethings go and this is definately a must. Refocus. You can't badger someone into boosting dessert sales. You have a undertone of being pissed off with the waitstaff. Trust me they'll sense that and f-you in the process. It's not a battle, it should be about fun and positive feelings of increased revenue for them.

I've worked places where the waitstaff stunk, that's your employeers problem make them address it!

I've come down many notches since I've been struggling with employeement issues. I used to run my own department. But I'm now working like a a line guy for the chef instead of with the chef... and I think it's a positive! It's a bit hard on the ego, but that's o.k. it's good for me. It puts all the sweat on the chef and I feel far free-er at the end of the day.

As I'm out marketing myself, I've had managers say they'd buy a percentage of their desserts from me but not all of them. They never buy everything from one source to protect their butts incase something were to happen. But then what about their kitchen-their chef and guys. They are rely on them completely. Any comments?

#41 Oreganought

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Posted 20 August 2003 - 10:17 AM

I've been a savory chef all my life,but not ignorant in pastry/dessert and have owned my own restaurant for the last 5 years of my cooking carreer
which I sold a few years ago and retired @48 years old.Anyway........I certainly understand your frustration.

Throughout my cooking career I have noticed in most restaurants,(and this is a generalization at best)the establishment were either pastry/dessert friendly or it wasn't.

When it wasn't, generally there was no pastry chef position,all pastries were puchased and brought in,and heavy on the chocolate,with a few in house desserts that someone with some knowledge or a recipe would tackle
and produce.Of course this translated into mediocre desserts sales,and I found again generally,no passion,no presentation to speak of for existing
desserts,and of course the waitstaff would plate,no throw something together,and present this with little or no fanfare.This establishment has basically no hope in increasing it's dessert sales without a total philosophy
change by the owners/chefs. Unless someone with a knowledge and
good pastry skills decides in this enviroment that they will take it upon themselves to break from the pack and make the effort to put out a dessert
that has all the earmarks for headlines in any good restaurant,in other
words,an actual pastry dish.Which wins over the owners/chefs/waitstaff
and actually increases pastry sales by 25% over a 1 month period.You would think this would wake up a few owners...but it doesn't,again generally
speaking.

The other side of the coin is a little more complicated from what I have
encountered.I’ll cut to the chase and give one example.I worked in a 90
seat restaurant with 8 chefs in the kitchen and a pastry chef with an average
turnover of about 130 covers through the week and around the 200 on weekends.
Dessert sales penetration was about 40% which apparently was acceptable.
Desserts were in my opinion,run of the mill,I won’t get into actual recipes.
Presentation was not spectacular nor was the taste,again IMO which confirms
What others here have said…..most PC suck.
Anyway the pastry chef was treated like many I have worked with,little or
no respect and many times told to “get the fuck out of my kitchen”at 5:00
just before service,Im sure you know what I’m talking about.
This particular restaurant had gone through 3 PC in a 2 year span,and this one had just given notice and the owner was looking for a another.A buddy of mine had just returned from Europe and was taking it easy.One of the better pastry chefs I have known
and asked if he would be interested in the position.Anyway……to make a long story longer,he took the job on his terms which from what I was told, an extreme
uphill battle.New equipment was purchased as well as a new assortment of china,glass
and ceramic plates,bowls,platters and a few that were quite ornate.The bottom line….
every night 3 or 4 of us would help in the platings of his desserts,quite the assemply line
and quite demanding on all of us in regards to artistic abilities and the quickness in delivering the product to be picked up by our runners and waitstaff.The big sellers were the platters where a table could share.Many nights penetration with desserts was 1 to 1.
And a whole new respect for this position transformed over night in this particular
Restaurant.It became a strong profit center and included in this anomaly so to speak was a substantial increase in wine and after dinner drinks that translates into a bigger
Average check and of course larger tips.Everyone from the owner,chefs,waitstaff
and last but not least the customers found a new reason to come and have a more fulfilling evening.

I quess that’s all I have to say.But I think the change has to take place within the individual,to make the effort,and that can be extremely difficult to say the least.

#42 tan319

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Posted 20 August 2003 - 08:03 PM

Tan-I don't think you should follow your sales as closely as you mention. You got to let somethings go and this is definately a must. Refocus. You can't badger someone into  boosting dessert sales. You have a undertone of being pissed off with the waitstaff. Trust me they'll sense that and f-you in the process. It's not a battle, it should be about fun and positive feelings of increased revenue for them.

I've worked places where the waitstaff stunk, that's your employeers problem make them address it!

Sinclair,
Thanks for your observations. I"m in the process of redirecting myself, per monday's conversation with staff.
You see, this place is an old restaurant, which had gotten a bad reputation, solely bases on the food, no sanitary issues or stuff like that. Desserts were really tired. So I went in right before valentines day this year and got it into gear.
The summer has slightly demoralized the serving staff, I feel. If I was an owner or the chef, I would clean the house a bit. That one server who came in and was such a seller really opened my eyes. There was another one as well who was really good. I wish that someone in the upper echelon would remind the servers that while it's fun, etc., they are sales people.
As far as #s go, I like to see them just so I can track what's hot, week to week, as well as have an idea of my sales overall.
I don't dislike the servers. I DO think often times they feel they run the place if you let them get too much power.
It's easy to sell steaks and salmon, creme brulee, any of us could do that in our sleep.
When one is explaining a special to them, it would be nice to see them actually take the time to write it down.
But ,yes, I'm going to relax a bit not that I was following them around badgering them.
I would talk to the people whom I respect and see if they could inspire the others.
One would feel that they would understand that the more they sell the more they'll make.
Don't know if I'm ready to bust out the party hat's and balloons to inspire them :laugh:
2317/5000

#43 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 20 August 2003 - 08:37 PM

Tan you snuck in your post above while I was writing. I see your frustration and believe me I do "get it", been there- done that. You got to remember you'll attact more bees with honey..........come on line and bitch to us (I alway love a good whine). Hey wasn't it you that told me not to let them see me sweat? They've found your weakness.......figure out how to convey your points to the management "good waitress equals good sales".... and forget the idiots who will never be a good employee where ever they work.

I think having 3 or 4 people helping you plate is too extreme and I don't think I'd like it.......UNLESS your talking about fine dining on the highest level. Oh hell maybe I'm jealous or too simple but unless the freezer is across the room- that's too busy of a menu if the guy can't get it down to him plating and 1 runner.

Anyway I'll try to wake up and focus here, sorry.

You know in some regards this whole conversation leaves me to throw my arms up in the air and ask "what is a good dessert?". I'm just shocked to read people posting that the average pcs' work stinks. I find I'm now comparing myself to others, wondering if I fall into "that" catagory. Whats good, whats bad, I'm not so sure I know those lines as well as I used to when I was even more ignorant. How sweet is too sweet, when is simple too simple?

SERIOUSLY

What do you want from us? Do we need to make you think? Do we have to give you new flavors your not familar with? Do we have to be original to be good?

I need you to qualify what level restaurants your talking about?

Time after time what has sold for me are basicly twists off of classic or familar desserts or old fashioned really homie stuff. (But I'm not working at the four seasons either) Yes, I love to work out of Bau or Orial B.'s book but Herme's tortes are as gourmet as I can sell.......and then I dumb down my descriptions as to not overwhelm.

I have a grossly sweet caramel pecan tart I'm doing (from payards book- he does hazelnuts instead of pecans and choc. chantilly no wc) that they are doing dessert numbers like never before on. Sweet crust, med. soft caramel made stove top, fried and salted pecans mixed in. Then topped with layer of chocolate mousse, layer of vanilla bean whipped cream, caramel and ganche drizzled on top with more pecans and I sprinkle salt liberally over the top.

Go figure. I win when I give them what they want. Does that make me a crappy pc?

Edited by Sinclair, 20 August 2003 - 08:53 PM.


#44 alanamoana

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Posted 21 August 2003 - 01:44 AM

I've been a savory chef all my life,but not ignorant in pastry/dessert and have owned my own restaurant for the last 5 years of my cooking carreer
which I sold a few years ago and retired @48 years old.Anyway........I certainly understand your frustration.

WOW, retired at 48 and in the restaurant business...what numbers did you pick in the lottery?!!!!!! :laugh:

that's amazing luck for a person working in restaurants...i'm very jealous.

you did make some good points oreganaught...as has everyone else who has posted over the last day or so. these are all things i have done over the years...obsess over sales, blaming the waitstaff, bitching, moaning, blaming MYSELF...my desserts suck, why aren't they selling, etc, etc, ad nauseum!!!

luckily i've let that go (for the most part). sinclair, you're right about the honey...i definitely talk to the waitstaff and foh management just to keep a good relationship going. i type up an ingredient/description list of all the desserts on the menu and update it when i make changes. i go to lineup and talk to people. here's something i do that i know a lot of places don't do because if the chef knew we were giving away so much chocolate, they'd kill us (except mine, 'cause he has a huge sweet tooth)...i make dessert for family meal as often as i can!!!! mostly i use things that have to be tossed or overripe fruit, that type of thing...but sometimes on a whim, i make the triple chocolate chip decadence cookies or the hershey's kiss peanut blossom cookies (yes, i buy the kisses myself), or whatever i know the staff enjoys...they do appreciate it!

sinclair, let me demonstrate the demoralizing aspect of the economy and its effect on restaurants...here in nyc...

i moved to new york to work with my mentor in february of 2002. the company was supposed to open their second restaurant in the spring. after much delay, the new restaurant opened in august of 2002. remember, the economy is in the shits and most high-end ("elite") restaurants were barely doing respectable numbers particularly in the summer, particularly one year after 09/11. well, on the menu, there wasn't one entree priced below $30!!! so, after the initial opening hype, business started to slow down. we started our pastry department with my boss, myself as a sous chef, one other sous chef (total salaries for the three of us totalling $165,000) and four other employees...all for a ninety seat restaurant. needless to say, my boss was used to getting her way (when i first worked for her in san francisco, her pastry department was about 10-11 people for a 200 seat restaurant). gradually we had to let go of our staff....then, there were disagreements between herself and the chef which were left to fester rather than discussed which led to my boss being fired in february 2003. the chef and my boss were friends at one point in life. i was asked to replace the pastry chef which i did with reluctance as i could see where business was headed. by the time i left the restaurant on the 4th of july weekend, the department was myself and one other person!!! the numbers were so low and we did such poor dessert sales, that it only took two of us where there were 7! and i still did reasonable amounts of sugar work/tuiles/chocolate work/petit fours/ice creams/sorbets/breads/etc. talk about depressing. a week and a half after i left the restaurant (knowing that it would close sooner or later, but with promises from the owner that he wouldn't do it without warning the staff...) i called one day to see how things were and i was told that the restaurant had closed that day without any warning. cooks left on the street with nothing to do and no safety net at all!!! all less than a year from open to close (i think the construction and anticipation lasted longer than a year!!!)

i guess the point of this story is that...wait, did i have a point?!!!! oh yeah...be happy you have a job (it seems that most of you are), always have a safety net, pastry isn't everything when you don't have a restaurant in which to make your desserts.

unfortunately, i found i was most creative right before i left this job. i felt numbers were so low that i had nothing to lose by trying interesting combinations and changing the menu often...i was motivated by boredom to try new things! ugh, i'll never understand my own phyche!

#45 Oreganought

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Posted 21 August 2003 - 02:34 AM

Sinclair,when my friend Mike took over as PC I believe the staff was not
prepared for the response.The presentations were elaborate as were the
plates themselves,it seemed everyone wanted a plate at their table to see what all the fuss was about.Keep in mind this was a fine dinning restaurant
and was considered one of the better places to eat.Let me clarify that during those first few weeks that 3 or 4 of us savory cooks would help out
simply because of the amount of orders to be filled.Mike hired a person soon after.

Like I said in my original post,a restaurant is either pastry friendly or it isn't.
This one was,but nobody was excited per se,so this was a reletively easy
transformation.One thing Mike did that I believed helped tremendously
was to seperate the menu,and have a seperate dessert menu.The menu consisted of After Dinner Drinks which included Armagnac,Cognacs and
Eau-De-Vie.....Grappa.....Port Wines.....and Dessert Wines which also included Icewines and champagne.We also offered a selection of Cuban
Cigars.

I dug up an old menu and here a few things on it.

Flourless bitter chocolate dome with a passion fruit coulis.
Tulip cup of expresso marscarpone cream with coffe anglaise
and Sambuca marinated fruit.
Granny Smith apple and sundried cherries in a shredded wheat crust
lavender Chantilly cream and apple puree.
Double vanilla creme brulee with a cinnamon layer crisp.
Roasted walnut genoise,hazelnut Bavarian,walnut nougatine and rum vanilla sauce.
Chocolate tasting platter.

It's funny that some here have mentioned that quite a few PC suck
and this could be one of the underlying problems. Hahaha I think most cooks including savory chefs suck,and I really mean that.It boggles my
mind that the food that has been served by my fellow chefs has been well
accepted.Maybe I'm too much of a perfectionist.We savory chefs have much
more room for error that you PC's and possiblly more room for artistic leeway,or is it the recipes can be modified without too harsh a result,I'm not quite sure.But I've seen food that had no business going out,from cooks
that have no business in the business.

I believe the major problem is complacency and fear,if you don't succeed
try again.It's not a complicated affair,imo,if I have a dish that for some reason is not selling,I change it,or take it off the menu and try something else.I worked in a small restaurant where my seafood sales were so slow
I was flabbergasted,until( keep in mind this was a very small place 35 seats on open in the evenings)my 2 waitstaff hated seafood,of course that was an easy hurdle,especially when you confront the problem with a 12" chefs knife in your hand,just kidding of course.

I believe a balanced menu is definately a prerequisite not only in the portion size but in the sensory aspect of the dish.Some restaurants I
worked which had a heavy menu,not only in the ingrienients but in the
portions as well,dessert sales were low,and of course this gives
exponentially similar results everywhere.So this has to be addressed in
order to fix the problem,whether it is a lighter or smaller portion,nothing
goes forward without someone taking the time and effort.And if this was easy,everyone would be making the big bucks.These same probems
are paralled somewhat in savory cooking.Anytime I have worked in a restaurant that have fundamental or indiginous problems and I have
no hope in changing (all the cards are stacked against me) I get the fuck out,life is to short, I have more to offer somewhere else,where my abilities
will be appreciated and embraced,rather than looked upon like someone
with 2 heads.

#46 Oreganought

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Posted 21 August 2003 - 02:41 AM

alanamoana,the old joke in the restaurant business is,if you won the lottery what would you do....simple,keep my restaurant open :laugh:

I retired from the restaurant business,but still working...alas. :wink:

#47 Steve Klc

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Posted 21 August 2003 - 05:07 AM

This is interesting alana "pastry isn't everything when you don't have a restaurant in which to make your desserts."

I think that's something integral to this recognition problem: pastry chefs tying their identity and value to their restaurant. A restaurant job and connection can certainly advance your career and level of recognition. Look at that really nice Bon Appetit spread on pastry chefs--how many had leveraged restaurant connections? Just about all of them. Not hotel, patisserie, teaching or bakery connections. The smart/lucky/talented ones, even within this group, have already moved or are in the process of moving past their restaurant identity. But, as I said previously I think you have to be prepared to go beyond that because as we've seen on this thread--a pastry chef's relationship with their chef, ownership and clientele is usually limiting, unsupported and problematic. It's difficult to make a meaningful connection to your customers in a restaurant. And if you rely too much on your restaurant job for your satisfaction and reward you're setting yourself up for dissatisfaction.

A restaurant pastry chef is, essentially, an overworked underpaid hourly employee. No more no less.

Unless you MAKE yourself more. How might you do that?

First, you have to keep looking within, questioning your skill level, reading, networking, trying new things--regardless of whether your current job supports this or encourages this. You have to acquire new skills and knowledge and travel and taste the work of others voraciously. You cannot stay mired in your little area, wherever you may happen to work. Don't use "my customers aren't ready for this" as an excuse. And yes, this growth usually has to happen AFTER your normal tough work week--you have to do your charity gigs, networking, demos in the grocery store, dropping in on other pastry chefs to visit, reading, testing, experimenting, pulling sugar, OUTSIDE of normal work hours.

Second, realize that you are not the one that gets to decide what kind of pastry chef you can be in your locale. The LOCALE, your local market, decides what kind of job and compensation and work you can do IN YOUR AREA. No amount of desire, passion, skill, effort and experience can overcome a shitty unappreciative economically-depressed area. If, after trying to change things and looking around, you can't change things, if you're doing work you are not proud of, you have to be prepared to walk off your job or move. What you don't get to do is stay put and complain--it's ultimately self-destructive;

Third, without creating an ownership or partnership situation the odds are likely that this "recognition" thing won't ever change for you. Think 5 years down the road. You do have options beside the restaurant grind: you can go the self-employed or entrepreneurial route (why do you think Payard and Torres aren't restaurant pastry chefs anymore?) You can begin a small chocolate business or "freelance" as Sinclair has started to do as long as that is done strategically in ways that position you for better things down the road. You can begin a wedding cake business--you think pastry chefs suck? Cake decorators really suck. Acquire the decorating skills you've avoided all these years, put your pastry and baking skills to use in a niche that really needs help--the "cake decorators" out there are so bad, the level of their work and experience and palate so underwhelming, that I'm surprised more pastry chefs aren't muscling their way into wedding cakes. Face it--pastry chefs in hotels and restaurant hate doing wedding cakes and usually don't have the time or skil to do chocolates. Use that to your advantage. There's some nice money to be had AND you're more likely to control your destiny and how you are perceived in the marketplace.

All this leads up to something astute Oreganought said: "I believe the major problem is complacency and fear,if you don't succeed." I agree.

Oh, one other thing which can only help get pastry chefs some recognition is this: start posting here at eGullet under your real name. We're read coast to coast by food editors including the NY Times. You never know how relationships and opportunities are going to develop and eGullet is but one way to network with the media. A few months ago Russ Parsons was writing a piece for the LA Times and read something I had written here that he thought would work in his piece. He didn't necessarily agree with what I said--but it made his piece stronger. As a result of Russ's professionalism--I got my first mention in the LA Times, but so did Zaytinya and eGullet.
Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant
Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

#48 tan319

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Posted 21 August 2003 - 09:30 PM

Hey wasn't it you that told me not to let them see me sweat? They've found your weakness.......figure out how to convey your points to the management "good waitress equals good sales".... and forget the idiots who will never be a good employee where ever they work.



Time after time what has sold for me are basicly twists off of classic or familar desserts or old fashioned really homie stuff. (But I'm not working at the four seasons either) Yes, I love to work out of Bau or Orial B.'s book but Herme's tortes are as gourmet as I can sell.......and then I dumb down my descriptions as to not overwhelm.

LOL!!!
I don't know about that.
Before I get started, let me say that when I came in, the food was already better, due to a friend of mine who had taken over the chef reins and wacked things into shape. The dessert menu was in trouble and I fixed that.
My sales here aren't horrible, I'm not throwing anything away. I just got spoiled when I was doing the menu at another place here and was enjoying sales in the 45-55% range. And I know we can do it here. The owner is aware of the scene, he wants the people who do the food for his restaurant, whom he pays to perform that function for him, to do that. And I don't disagree with that philosophy.
But on to other things. Sinclair, your Payard influenced dessert sounds like a winner. It should be. Payard is one of the great ones. Sure, he's rooted in the classics, but what's wrong with that? Although a lot of us here are excited about all the new stuff that's about, I don't think Steve or Michael think classics blow, they are a foundation. And Hermes get's a lot of lip service here too, dont you think?
Bau's stuff is pretty classic too, his cakes are at least, he's into the science of stuff but nothing wrong with that. Laying low on the descriptions is not a bad thing.

Onto other things again

Steve Klc, as usual, hit's so many nails on the head.
The real name thing is a good suggestion. Why am I scared of that?
I think Steves "self-employed or entrepreneurial route " suggestions are the thing to think about if we're not happy in our present positions. I've been weighing these things in my mind most heavily.
#1- Trying to get investors to back a dessert based restaurant, offering a VERY small savoury menu but really make it about dessert. Tasting menu would be nice, maybe breads for sale in front, as well as ice creams, etc. But really make it more about dessert cuisine. One catch here. I would want an investor(s) to come with an alcohol license. Would have to have a full bar.
#2- Maybe set up a business to provide desserts for restaurants, high end. Not as appealing but.
#3- Try to get the press thing going, investigate guest teaching a class in restaurant desserts and related items.
There are 2 things I would love to do, one would be to stage somewhere, and the other would be to do the 6 month FPS course, like Nightscotsman is doing.
I looked into a Balaguer stage, looks like it's a 6 month commitment and some bucks, which I'm sure would be well worth it. But would have to leave the family for 6 months, that's like a REALLY long record.
The other is just a pretty heavy hit, financially. Again, I'm sure well worth it. Just not as appealling.
We'll see what happens. It's all good.
Except when it's bad :laugh:
2317/5000

#49 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 22 August 2003 - 07:51 AM

Well Steve did hit all the right points. Good job of cutting thru all our c---.

All my excuses are lame. I try to do the best I can with-in my limits (family obligations). I guess the answer is I'm not ready to commit to rising above the excuses. Mainly-I fear investing even more financially and emotionally into a career that I don't see offering a rewarding return. And I'm not talking finacially rewarding-I just see employement as a pc as a horribly shrinking, becoming extinct job opportunity.

#50 Steve Klc

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Posted 22 August 2003 - 08:14 AM

Yes, but you're smart to realize your situation and you are obviously very self-reflective. Now, the onus is on you to figure out the best way to turn that to your advantage and only you can determine the right compensation to recognition to reward ratio for yourself.

You, like every pastry chef and baker everywhere, has options. It begins by accurately assessing the situation--yourself and your environment. Don't delude yourself into thinking that there is nothing you can do. There's a lot you can do as this thread reveals--little things that can change quickly but have no real long term impact all by themselves and big things--life-changing things that will have immediate short and long term effects.
Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant
Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

#51 tan319

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Posted 22 August 2003 - 05:54 PM

Well Steve did hit all the right points. Good job of cutting thru all our c---.

All my excuses are lame. I try to do the best I can with-in my limits (family obligations). I guess the answer is I'm not ready to commit to rising above the excuses. Mainly-I fear investing even more financially and emotionally into a career that I don't see offering a rewarding return. And I'm not talking finacially rewarding-I just see employement as a pc as a horribly shrinking, becoming extinct job opportunity.

Sinclair,
Nice reply and Steves post packs it home even more.
I KNOW, no matter how screwed up everything is right now with the economy, etc., etc., it's not THAT dire!
it's been a weord summer, falls coming , let's get ready for it.
More parties means more work, new stuff to work with.
I really feel it's gonna be ok.
2317/5000

#52 alanamoana

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Posted 23 August 2003 - 02:26 AM

okay everybodyALANA HENNING

you read it here first!!! i'm not shy....and steve you're right...if we're all bitching about recognition, the first thing to do is post using our real names. most of us don't even live in the same state :smile: so no need to worry about pastry stalkers :laugh:

steve, your points are all great as tan and sinclair both agreed...at the very least, i'm a good schmoozer. i guess the reason i place some of my value/worth with the restaurant i'm affiliated with is because i find that these restaurants are my stepping stones. if i play my cards right and hook up with the right name during an opening (when a restaurant gets the most press), the pr is paid for! this is the beginning i'm looking for. we do a lot of charity, etc. (usually the chef is the only one invited, but i would always ask to tag along). it worked really well in san francisco and by the time i left the city, i was the one being called to do charity gigs. unfortunately, that was when i decided to leave the city...but that's okay! i can continue to do the same things in new york...

i didn't want to start a whiny thread, and i have to admit that i'm very lucky. i moved up quickly in this business and definitely got recognition that i probably didn't deserve at the time...but i save those 2 seconds of fame (in a scrapbook for my parents...all the money wasn't wasted :laugh: ), because i know i'm due a few more at least! i know that i can only improve...if i push myself like you say. i just have to decide in what capacity and at what level! we'll all get there...we'll find our niche and make a comfy little nest there!

i just hope that everyone found some of this information useful! i'm thankful that eGullet is here for all of us!

#53 Steve Klc

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Posted 23 August 2003 - 07:16 AM

Alana--you should feel so gratified as well that as a newbie to eGullet, unknown to any of us, you prompted such an outpouring, such an interesting discussion. That's one of the things that makes this nascent community we have here so special and unparalleled. I've read some perfunctory pieces on "recognition" before but I've never seen it addressed so realistically, so emotionally. That post by Michael Laiskonis on this thread is one of the best summaries from a savvy pastry chef I've ever read. It's a shame that something like that has never appeared in an old media outlet--let alone the discussion which sandwiches it. And you will have a lot to add as you make the switch from West coast to East coast!

Also, no one is saying restaurants aren't stepping stones--just look at who gets nominated for the Beard awards and who steps beyond that to a FoodTV show or a cookbook or something entrepreneurial--a la a chocolate business or patisserie! If we look closer we all can learn something from these people who have come before even if we may not choose to try to emulate them. It is the rare non-restaurant pastry chef who garners votes and who steps forward, but we all can step forward.

Hotel pastry chefs rarely get the fine-dining consideration like this--but they also make their choice going into "foodservice," they (generally) get a great salary compared to what a free-standing restaurant pastry chef makes, supervises a large staff, does a lot of banquets, buys and uses a lot of commercial products and in turn is more likely to get featured in industry magazines like a Pastry Art & Design, which is in turn supported by the product manufacturers. In a sense it is much harder for them to get more mainstream recognition for their work--in say a Bon Appetit--regardless of their ability or how their desserts taste.

Which leads back to: you make your choices, you're responsible for your own mistakes and missteps, and you realize there isn't necessarily a right way to go about things. You define for yourself what the appropriate level of recognition and reward is. And hopefully you manage to keep finding little joys in your work.
Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant
Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

#54 Suvir Saran

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Posted 23 August 2003 - 08:24 AM

Hello Alana! Thanks for a wonderful thread. As always, eGullet prompts discussions that are so varied and rich.

I was looking at Food Arts magazine the other day and was somewhat confused to not find Steve Klc's name on the mast head. Then, as I browsed another magazine, I saw him featured. And I said, for a pastry chef that is working, it would be far better to be featured than be writing about what they love. I share this for I realize that Steve Klc is a very savvy man. Read his words with care. He is not a newbie to most fields where he shares his strengths. And all that are able to learn from him, watch him, and emulate him, will find themselves in a happy situation.

His words on this thread made me find respect for him anew. It is always nice to have people who continue to impress you. In this new media outlet (since Steve calls the other "Old Media Outlet") one often has to skim far too much scum before reaching real substance. Steve is the real thing... old or new. What is great is, we in this new media outlet, are fanning the ego of the old media by giving kudos to those that find themselves in the old outlets. My point is, there is space for both outlets, and a clever person gives and takes from both. And can find time and respect for both.

Steve is a classic example of one that has mastered the art of using his talents, passions and convictions and translating them to success in both old and new media outlets as well as in his profession.

For those that are self-employed, I am too, we need to be less bashful, less circumspect at times, and more self serving. It is a very hard way to be, but I have seen newbies that were less bashful and generous to others than me, and far less talented, climb high ropes and find great success, only for they were bold enough to shatter the first challenge, one of getting into a door.

"i didn't want to start a whiny thread, and i have to admit that i'm very lucky. i moved up quickly in this business and definitely got recognition that i probably didn't deserve at the time...but i save those 2 seconds of fame (in a scrapbook for my parents...all the money wasn't wasted ), because i know i'm due a few more at least! i know that i can only improve...if i push myself like you say. i just have to decide in what capacity and at what level! we'll all get there...we'll find our niche and make a comfy little nest there!"

Alana, you said the above so beautifully. I wish more people would remember this reality. We could then have many that find opportunities, share with others what comes their way. Far too many chefs (savory or pastry), find it difficult to share with their Hands, that which comes to them after the magical effect their Hands leave on the diners. Too many of us are afraid our creations today are our last ones. I always feel there is a very deep well of inspired dishes that shall continue to come out of the well, if we reflect, understand, respect and pasisonately seek. And when we can look at life somewhat more deeply, we can easily find ourselves in a more comfortable and enviable position. And we can finally leave lasting legacies that live beyond our own lives and generations.

Thanks for this great thread Alana.

#55 Suvir Saran

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Posted 23 August 2003 - 08:28 AM

Does it bother any of the professionals out there when they read a restaurant review and the pastry chef's name isn't mentioned?!

And yes it bothers me a Great deal. I am always sad. I love desserts and no restaurant, no matter how many stars or great rave reviews they may have gotten, can impress me enough if the desserts are not of the same level. And often, a great pastry chef, that is having to work with an ego maniac in the savory side, will ultimately loose their passion and creativity when they realize nothing they create will bring them even a momentary gratification, for even if it does leave others smiling and happy, the pastry chef will never hear about it. Forget the reviews, often the pastry chef does not even know how the diner has been impressed by their creations. Far too many chefs and restaurant managers give very little time to this most critical element of fine dining. But I do think that trend is changing. And maybe eGullet, and this new media outlet, can change the way people in the profession treat pastry chefs.

#56 joiei

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Posted 24 August 2003 - 07:49 PM

God, I wish there was a decent dessert restaurant here. After working in other places, Criolla's in Northwest Florida and The Grill Room at the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans, it is sad to go somewhere and the desserts are just so boringly the same. My tendency is to not order desserts unless I know they are made in house. Otherwise, why spend the money on a piece of Turtle cheesecake that possibly came from Sam's Club. I have seen that done.

And if they come out with the crosshatch chocolate and raspberry sauces, i tend to not touch them. Plating is important.

When I was at the WCH, I worked with David Guas (one of the featured chefs in the Bon Appetit Restaurant issue). We did some pretty cool stuff and it was not all that hard to put together. I am glad to see David get that recognition.

Make better desserts and presentations, then I will spend my money to enjoy the end of the meal and it would possibly include a nice dessert wine to go with the dessert. Not just a cup of coffee and the check. The restaurant would make more money, the waiter would make a better tip, all would be happy.
It is good to be a BBQ Judge.

#57 laurenmilan

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Posted 25 August 2003 - 09:01 AM

my roomate, a total non-food industry person, offered this when i asked him about desserts in  restaurants:

"I'm usually full.  I mean, i like dessert, don't get me wrong.  But it's so rare i go to a restaurant where the dessert isn't just something thawed out by the fucking waiter."

supports most of what you've all said.

You said it!

Believe it or not, New Jersey (land of 1000 chain restaurants) has a newspaper, the Star-Ledger, that always calls attention to the desserts in its reviews. Are they in-house or bought from a vendor? Are they unique or same-old, same old? Are they stellar or bland, or does the chessecake still have ice crystals in it?

Gotta give them some credit, that's one critic that shares my appreciation for in-house desserts.
"Give me 8 hours, 3 people, wine, conversation and natural ingredients and I'll give you one of the best nights in your life. Outside of this forum - there would be no takers."- Wine_Dad, egullet.org

#58 Rail Paul

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Posted 25 August 2003 - 11:11 AM

4.

Keep your recipes on your computer- easy to access/edit and they can be emailed instantly. When the piece finally comes out, follow up with a thanks and an eagerness to work with them again in the future. Better yet, let them know when they have a story on their hands. Update your local press when you launch a new menu, or when you discover some new ingredient. Hype the local farmer who's getting you those beautiful peaches or that seedy asian market that is likely a chef's playground. You  see some story in the NY Times of a chef using tobacco in desserts? Give the scoop to your local editor, saying that you can top that! They run a wire service bit on Pierre Herme using salt in his desserts, invite them into your place so they can taste something that you're doing, demonstrating why it works. It's simply about getting on their radar.

If you live in a modest metropolitan area, you could probably name a half dozen daily, weekly, or monthly publications with limited, local circulation. If you don't know the food editor or writer by name, it's time to do some homework. Know their phone numbers and email addresses; know who they think is good and not so. They need you to generate interesting copy, and you need them to get some attention. Use them. Same goes with your local radio and television stations; if you or your restaurant has something to promote, give it a shot. They all love free food- especially dessert.

4b. Take your show on the road. So you may not get an invite to Aspen or the Masters in Carmel, but once you get a fair amount of notice, you'll get asked to do all sorts of events- it might be a class for the church ladies, or a big charity gig. If your higher ups are willing to donate the food, you should be willing to donate the time. At first, say yes to everything. You'll learn a lot about setting up a demo and speaking to people the more you force yourself to do it.

Michael -

I'd add a few comments to your excellent guidelines.


4) The wireservices for many papers (NY Times, Wash Post, Chicago Tribune) usually have a delay in distribution from when the original story ran. If your local paper reprints food articles from the Times a week later, you can prepare a local content paragraph or sidebar with your pitch and have it on the reporter's or editor's desk ready to be used. Check the source so you know what's on the way to your local editor.


5) Volunteering at food shows, food bank events, etc gets you in front of many chefs. There's always a need for people to work the line, help with plating, etc. Even if you're not the star, your get-it-done attitude will be noticed by potential employers. (one lucky eG member worked with Daniel Boulud at an event and even received a ride home from him)


Paul
Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

#59 Lesley C

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Posted 25 August 2003 - 11:30 AM

I have five words for any pastry chef looking for recognition: get out of the restaurant.
In France, the majority of top pastry chefs work in a boutique setting. Do you think Pierre Herme would be Pierre Herme if he worked in a restaurant? Hell no! You have to get out behind the shadow of the chef, especially if that person is a chef/owner.
As a former pastry chef and present restaurant critic, I can honestly say I go out of my way to name pastry chefs in reviews. Problem is, I rarely come across one good enough to mention. Excellent restaurant pastry chefs are a rarity in my city, Montreal, though we do have excellent restaurants and very little of that oreo cheesecake crap. Problem is, many restaurant pastry chef are under the orders of the regualr chef. How many of them are really working with their own vision?
If you're looking for recognition, open a chocolate shop or pastry shop. Not only will you be the boss, you will also get all the credit.

#60 Michael Laiskonis

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Posted 25 August 2003 - 12:04 PM

4)  The wireservices for many papers (NY Times, Wash Post, Chicago Tribune) usually have a delay in distribution from when the original story ran. If your local paper reprints food articles from the Times a week later, you can prepare a local content paragraph or sidebar with your pitch and have it on the reporter's or editor's desk ready to be used. Check the source so you know what's on the way to your local editor.





Awesome tip.

So, being media savvy also means paying attention to the press others are getting, and knowing how to position yourself among them. It's a way to practice that 'think globally, act locally' approach. You must make it a point to at least flip through the glossies, and browse the weekly, online food sections of the major newspapers. Once they are bookmarked, it's just a matter of a few minutes each day. And the great thing about eGullet is, most of the work is done for you, as we tend to cut through the fluff, and highlight the most relevant, meaty pieces being written.

Not only will you be keeping in touch with the current trends and issues, but the more you read and scrutinize food writing and reportage, you'll notice patterns, styles, and agendas- which in turn prepare you for dealing with the media at large.



5) Volunteering at food shows, food bank events, etc gets you in front of many chefs. There's always a need for people to work the line, help with plating, etc. Even if you're not the star, your get-it-done attitude will be noticed by potential employers. (one lucky eG member worked with Daniel Boulud at an event and even received a ride home from him)


Another pearl. I've met and worked with dozens of students and aspiring pastry chefs at all kinds of events. The learning experience and potential contacts are indeed worth the time volunteered, and as someone often being in the position of relying on such help, it is appreciated, and sometimes, crucial to the success of the event. And there are several young chefs with whom I've kept in contact with long after the event; not only does it keep them engaged and inspired, but I feel it is in my best interest (and the industry as a whole) to foster that excitement and maintain those relationships.

At my restaurant, we host a few guest chef dinners each year, and by keeping in touch with the local pastry community (chefs, assistants, and students), I've been able to provide opportunities for people to come in to my kitchen for those events, to work side by side with Nancy Silverton, Claudia Fleming, and most recently, Johnny Iuzzini. It is not uncommon for our kitchen staff to suddenly double on those days when a Morimoto, Ming Tsai, Eric Ripert, or Jean-Louis Palladin (sigh) join us to cook.
Michael Laiskonis
Pastry Chef
New York
www.michael-laiskonis.com