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Everything posted by stovetop

  1. You are right-That has been the standard a long time in a lot of places steve
  2. Wow! Where are the fireworks? I think you scared them all away. I know you are out there- and there is something to talk about? The one thing about this new shared waiter system is it creates terrible service! When you have people who know about food and proper service sharing tips with idiots -the good do not get what they deserve and the ugly get easy money. What motivated good servers in the past -to sell and serve their buts off no longer there- selling for the house- increase sales, increase tips. It is like some socialist sharing system- my opinion these arrangements never work- garbage in- garbage out! You work and sell! - You get the money-as simple as that. As for divvying out that is a little more complicated. Who gets it? 1) bussers ( who needs food runners) bring out your own food! 2) bar 3) host- hostess 4) house 5) Kitchen ?
  3. Ah Tips! This has been one of the longest discussions and arguments in the business. Who should get it- who deserves it? How much should the kitchen, the house, the bar get? Should we be taxed? And should the customer pay up front if you a group over 10 should there be a 15% add on their bill. Other districts have their own standards but this thread is for industry people who live and work in the business in Van-BC and the West. It sounds like we need a forum for discussion and get a feel what the standards are for the West and do we need changes? steve
  4. I started my career in Alberta (79) and have been working in the BC market off and on since the 90’s and the option of doneness in that market ( Vancouver) was not there then and it is not here now. In the Edmonton Market there is way more forgiveness in regards to doneness. The one thing that differentiates in the Van market and lets say Edmonton or Calgary is that it is more of a percentage of places that make their own burgers in Alberta then not. In BC SYSCO and Gordon foods are mostly responsible for product on the menu and I would not eat anything they make under done. Alberta has better beef products and does a better job supporting the Canadian beef industry- In BC we would sell our grandmother to save 50 cents a pound. Aussie beef and Argentina beef is flooding the market- both retail and wholesale. Chefs do not seem to be that concerned to differentiate products in the market and Sysco does not care if they support Canadian. The whole well-done burger thing seems to be part of the kitchen culture and I have been bombarded with it ever since I arrived In BC in early nineties. It seems to be part of the culture. The Alberta burger culture seems to be more fresh burgers then not and does not have that huge stigma attached to serving not well done burgers. steve
  5. In Canada no animal that is infected has ever made it to market- we have some of the best systems in the works and the posibilty of eating mad cow is less then getting killed in your car- We are driving today are we not?? steve
  6. Labour Shortage Vs Cost of doing business In BC minimum wage is one of the highest (Canada) and it is one of the biggest factors to why the cooks wage has not seen much of an increase since 1989- the average then was ten- the average now is ten- Not much growth in like 15 years. Waiters wage has increased in that time period in relation to cooks wage. How could owners increase cooks wage if waiter’s wages increased 5-10 % during that time period- something had to give? The cost of doing business has gone up and the cost of doing business is very much tied to this topic. How can you talk about wage without discussing the cost of doing business? When industry people start talking we get of topic and always get railroaded into many more splintered topics usually getting derailed and the discussion fizzes out. We have some things to discuss here and all have to do with wage and the cost of doing business- sometimes sidebars arises but that is just industry habit; we are all about side bars. As for tips and divvying out that is definitely another issue.
  7. It is called a Capon. Kidd Brothers has free range chicken and wing tat chicken producers does most of the processing for specialty chicken in the lower main land. Call them and find out whom they are processing for. steve
  8. In Edmonton! Sorry Van Side Track Cafe when they open steve edmonton in seven
  9. Hi You do not just come out of school and become a chef! (sidebar)(rant)(milkcrate) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- The food channel has created a false bravado in regards to what life is like as a chef- This life is like " Rock and Roll”; everyone wants to be a Rock Star- well sorry only about one percent of musicians become rock stars. The food industry is in similar boat- also many hot star chefs are not doing us a favor (no dis. here- just the facts) - personal goals are always ahead of the benefits to the industry as a whole. We as a professional group have splintered down to many self interest groups (especially the wet coast). There are like six different cooks associations- are we all not just cooks? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ My god I mean CHEFS (sidebar) (rant) Back to the ranch- I mean pay Sherwood is right. Vancouver costs are so high (along with min wage)! The eater (van) does not want to pay what the food in high end restaurants is really costs- so we cooks have had the same wage for over ten years (in van) - I think a line cook should make like 15-17 an hour. I mean a good 1st cook- sous or chef is a different animal. Vancouver chefs mostly are owners or have roots so that wipes out a lot of the available work in the position as chef. Calgary is paying 15-17 an hour for a line cook but a shortage is there---- why cook when you can go into construction with little experience and have a life for more money. TV- has created that glorified life we cooks supposedly live--- a year in the bus and people realize it is not that glorified. You have to love the business! For me this is my like 25-year--- ouch! Why! Because food is my life steve
  10. Hi: Was it not robert " deniro " who sued? steve
  11. http://www.characters.ca http://www.unheardof.com/main.htm http://www.laboheme.ca http://www.jacksgrill.ca http://www.hardwaregrill.com/ http://www.manorcafe.com/ http://www.wildtangerine.com/ http://www.blueplatediner.ca/ http://www.parkallen.com/ http://www.thebluepear.com/ Here are a few more I am working my way around steve
  12. The Creperie and Hans Kuhnel Chef Ernst Doffler and Hans Kuhnel put on a great show through the eighties it was an amazing place. steve
  13. Last night my friend and I ate at Cafe Select in UA area (109 st)- We did not make reservations but we got there around 8:30 p.m.- it was a good thing too because it sounded like they where jumping busy and without a reso, we would have waited long to get in. The down side - both of us were like focusing on having mussels; which has been a weakness and addiction for many years. Mussels are also- me as a chef one of the things I do best. I am quite picky in regards to both cooking and eating mussels. I was very sad and almost started crying at the bad news of there being no mussels. That night it seemed there was many more ahead of us that had the same craving and opting for Select’s mussels. I do not know what Mussels are like now (at the new restaurant) but back in the hay days- Select downtown was a master at mussels and they sold thousands of PEI mussels; it was one of their best dishes. So when my friend and I agreed we were going to Select for dinner on Saturday- I spent the whole day, day dreaming about those succulent and sexy east coast bivalves sliding down my throat with love and landing in my belly- So sad; is all I have to say. Anyway -it was good to see that the restaurant in their newest location is rocking and doing well. Even on a night when Calgary pounced on the Oilers and Calgary fans outnumbered Edmonton every where I went on my way home from a fine night of eating and wining. We had wild mushrooms and goat cheese served on light rye- a wonderful crustini; Coq Au vin and a wonderful curried vegetable dish with rice, pappadum, yogurt and mango chutney and all being washed down with a nice Merlot 1998-Vine cliff, Napa (very nice) We had started with a half bottle of Pinot Grigio (Italy) Tunata s anna- we were split on it. It was a nice evening and I would not think twice on going back- the cost was over a hundred dollars- the average we spend when we go out, about the same when we go out in Van. I look forward to going again and next time I will have mussels. steve
  14. “Dining in Edmonton is a bit like stumbling around a catholic schoolgirl dorm - lots of boring, hardworking, plaid clad folk, but the odd mindblowing experience to be had if you knock on the right door.” Said the MightyMrQ Food writer Judy Schultz and the journal have a great food section- it beats the sun-province hands down The city has Restaurants hiding in all the wrong places just like those school dorm girls- some of them have been around for thirty years or more and have had some mean and lean years to survive. They too have been working hard but have not been bored or boarding (: I agree with Hardware Grill and Jack's Grill- the Sugar Bowl- the Saturday afternoon jam at the Commercial hotel on Whyte and Blues on whyte (old Renford inn) not mentioned- do not forget the Side Track Café- one of the best live music venues in Canada. The music scene in Edmonton is very good for where it is- the middle of no where. You also have one of the oldest Jazz clubs in Edmonton “The Yardbird” Someone up posting mentioned one of my favs- that is a very old-timer restaurant Bistro Praha, still great after all these years. The 20 year club- Café Select has moved to 109 street- around UA campus,. La Boheme on 112th; great dinning. Have you ever heard of the Unheardof restaurant in mill creek area still rocking and putting out great food. New places such as Blueplate on 104 downtown – Manor Café -125th—Dadeo-5th-white I am in Edmonton for a while so I will go around check out what’s up Happy hunting steve
  15. What is up with breakfast? Hey I love Sophies but there are more breakfast places then that- what about cafe zen-sunshine cafe-joes.......... open your eyes people steve
  16. I heard that program on CBC- I was entertained by it and laughed hard about the sex thing about oysters- the history of oysters as our food source- it is one of my favs. steve
  17. Wow! - Beautiful pictures Ling, a very nice pictorial report, good to see Andre hard at work- doing what he loves best. Thanks everyone for the kind words. Oyster Guy- I am going home to the coast soon so I just might drop in on you, I would just love a oyster fix and I am sure you could fix me up. thanks steve
  18. The year was 1993; I was working on the West Coast of Vancouver Island at the Whales Tale in Ucluelet. I had the honor of meeting and doing business with Oyster Jim- after a whole summer of buying oysters from him and selling them at the restaurant, he invited me up to what he called his oyster ranch. You go to Tofino then launch off by the Golf course and cruise up Clayoquot sound. It was near dawn; the light was missing fast- as you slid your hand through the water- the luminescence would light up your hand like a candle. The whole boat was moving through light and the night sky was pushing its way through the day. We passed many clam stakes and other shellfish claims- the area is what I call breathtaking- I could see why so many people are very protective of the area- Its beauty transcends everything. He had a simple cabin at the ranch and everything he needed to harvest the oysters- it was an incredible experience to sit on the bank of the sound slurping down an endless supply of oysters that came fresh from the ocean- moments ago, sliding down my throat before they even had a chance of any awareness of wrongdoing- the life force entering my body as I was looking up at the beautiful sky. steve
  19. stovetop


    Nice shots- I love the simplicity of presentation- Do you know if Dana is still chef du Cuisine- Also does it taste as good as it looks. steve
  20. Ah- The "RICE" bowl- the restaurant closed a few weeks back- they say it was because they did not pay the GST- I went there a few times and I found service to be indifferent and found the food not that great- pump it up they did- themselves as a great restaurant - I found the interpretation of various menu items lacking. That stacking thing and many plate presentation trends that as I see were out of date and are not done very well- I guess that is really more of my issue- you can be out of date but if you do it well; I would let it slide- enjoy and just get into the retro thing and maybe get even teary eyed and reminisce about the old days. Nelson has had a tough winter in the restaurant world, we have had a couple of flips and a new addition; who now is changing concept in mid stream. It really does rely on the tourists to keep itself viable and sustainable in the restaurant scene. There are only about 9,000 people in the city so it is not a huge place but it has the impression of a way bigger place and has the number of restaurants and bars of a way bigger town. The summer is a way busier season for Nelson but I feel with the great number of winter resorts and better services and some great BB it should lift off very soon- many a property is being sold to Alberta and many retires are buying up the cheap realistate. The population will go up and Nelson will become a year round resort town. It is a gateway to some of the best skiing on the planet and in the summer some amazing hiking, mountain biking and all those other summer sports. The only thing close to high end cuisine is ALL SEASONS- you could call it West Coast cuisine, I will be going there for dinner before I make a complete opinion- there is no shortage of many different opinion around town and I have heard about the restaurant from both sides- old staff and the customer but I must make my own opinion first hand. The Stanley closed recently and replaced with a new place is called FULL CIRCLE- they are following the old concept very close-still only open for breakfast and lunch- still my favourite place in town to eat. A new place opened up called BAKER STREET LIVE in the old church at the end of Baker Street- they have live music and dinner. I went opening week and had a glass of wine and really loved the place. Although recently I have heard they are changing the concept. Not a good sign- it usually means death in the restaurant world. Never change your concept in mid stream-bad business. More Nelson food news soon steve
  21. If you combine a teaching program with the lunch program and cafeteria- where you have kids that are learning what it would be like to be a cook- It could also be the basic skills of life like how to cook food for your self; cooking is a basic life skill that is truly missed in the system. This way there is less costs and products that are made in class could be served in the cafeteria. Having a big name chef involved brings exposure to the situation; I am sure if some no name person was going to do this it would have not even been on the radar. This issue is about media exposure and in this day and age it is all about media. (bling-bling) Also I do not agree that it has to be expensive, there is a side of cooking that people learn when they do not have a lot of money and they become very creative- a lot of classical French cuisine came out of the situation after world war two, they did not have a lot of money and utilized every scarp of food and turned things into workable food dishes. You can create a very nice food environment that does not cost the school board a lot of money and kids and the community could come together and provide a learning environment where kids could get good healthy food and a varied diet and not have to really on brands and big corporation like Sysco to get a affordable food program in the schools. Chefs like Karen and others would love to help and give their name and time to bring this issue to the forefront and make a program like this work. It is a win win to all involved.
  22. stovetop

    Inside Out

    The customer is the biggest part of the business plan and most of the time it is completely missed: Who is my customer? - In any business plan you must decide who your target market is? - But first location-location-location; how does this fit into your concept-next the menu design process, the most over looked aspect I have ever seen in the food business. It is not what you like or dislike but what does that customer that you are trying to get likes and dislikes- It is not about you but your customer. Being involved in many openings I began to see the same pattern. I call it the front end fluff – The over expenditure of front end design process, the under funding of the kitchen; the last minute development of the kitchen and all processes involved- the menu is just an afterthought. It is like building a boat and forgetting to put an engine or sail. The menu is the basis of the marketing plan and customer development-it is the engine of the business plan. The menu should be the first thing in the process, once the menu is made and priced out then you should say to yourself who is my customer? - Then go look for a location that will fit your aspirations. These people will become part of your life so you better put a lot of thought into it. When you find your location build your kitchen first and if you have any money left then work on the dinning room, it is just fluff from there. Customers come to a restaurant for the food first not for $10,000 light fixtures. Leave your ego at home and use the KISS method, it always works. Then when you make your millions then go buy that $500 each chairs , until then stick to the business plan and always finish your menu first. steve
  23. It amazes me about critics who do not have objective overviews of any venue or medium- I mean any art form or form of communication; the whole bear foot event has been around and is what it is. I find when critics bring personnel opinion into the mix of the peice they are writing how objective are they being. You critics all have this problem. It is like a movie reviewer going to see a cowboy movie and they hate westerns and trying to critic the movie- then panning it.First of all bear foot has always been about smoke and mirrors and you have to put the place into context the bear foot is a international venue and it has its audience (customer) - Mr Saint-Jacques knows who his customer is and they keep coming back. He is not there to please everyone- that is not his job, his job is to please that certain international customer who goes to whistler with money and wants to spend it. That is what the whole venue is about. If you can not get your self around that you do not have to go, but to put down something because you do not like it.Many people love what you do Mr. Saint-Jacques so we have to keep everything into prospective. Steve
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