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The Chefs Office

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  1. Pier.....no doubt From the rocks to Rose Bay at a guess it's probably $20 in a cab? Have a great anniversary!
  2. not i. A couple of trusted friend have been, said the food was amazing and the service was atrocious. "Sort of get em in, get em out" I believe was the comment.
  3. http://www.quay.com.au is open on Monday nights (I think Sunday as well)
  4. Bayswater is a favourite, a bit British but good French bases. Very friendly team, lively bar
  5. www.raisethebar.org.au Hey there everyone, Some lovely people have been working on a project to enable Sydney to have cute little bars (like the ones in Melbourne etc). At the end of this week proposed changes to the NSW Liquor Act will be presented to parliament. These changes will attempt to make it easier for small bars (capacity under 120 ppl) to get a license. This has a huge potential to shape Sydney's drinking culture, which most of us find somewhat lacking. Check out the site www.raisethebar.org.au <http://www.raisethebar.org.au/> Created by some of the Sydney kids: Dave from Digital Eskimo, Kate from dumbofeather and a gaggle of contribs, it aims to facilitate support for the proposed changes by sending local MPs 'a drink'. Each drink then generates a letter (handy if you're not feeling incredibly articulate) to your local member. All site action (clicks, drinks/letters sent, locations etc) will be tallied and reported on daily in an attempt to rally the changes. It's a way we can easily get behind the changes without waving a sign or mooning the premier. Would really appreciate it if you could get word out about this through any avenues at your disposal. We're in the rare position of being able to change the energy of a city for the better - power to us eh?
  6. FYI - you can't even pay people to eat roo in Australia 8+)
  7. sadly no. www.sialchina.com and www.hofex.com http://oad.typepad.com/oa/2007/02/geoffrey_chodor.html
  8. OK, here's a start. Any further pointers from anyone/other cities? Sydney: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/good-living/ Toronto: http://www.thestar.com/life/food LA: http://www.latimes.com/features/food/?track=leftnav-food NYC: http://www.nytimes.com/pages/dining/index.html London: http://lifeandhealth.guardian.co.uk/food/0,,1600376,00.html and http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_...food_and_drink/ and http://www.telegraph.co.uk/wine/main.jhtml...7&targetRule=10 Dubai: http://archive.gulfnews.com/tabloid/Food/10117329.html Cape Town: http://www.capetimes.co.za/index.php?fSectionId=3195 Bangkok: http://www.bangkokpost.com/entertainment/restaurants/ Shanghai: http://www.shanghaidaily.com/article/artic...79&type=Feature Tokyo: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/travel_food.html#N01 Auckland: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/topic/index.cfm?c_id=304 Melbourne: http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/epicure/ Can someone please tell me which of the London links is the best one?
  9. not yet...but thanks, that is a great starting point. 8+)
  10. Christopher, I can put you in touch with the right people in Dubai. Drop me an email on judd at hostec dot com dot au
  11. I'm looking for a comprehensive list of web sites of newspapers that are "the" respected reviewer in their respective cities. Would greatly appreciate if you could fill in some cities for me: Sydney: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/good-l...aurant-reviews/ London: NYC: LA: Paris: Tokyo: Hong Kong: Shanghai: Singapore: Dubai: etc etc (please feel free to add important global cuisine centres as you see fit)
  12. Nope, just making observations. I mostly find it hard to conjure up actual opinions. I thought the train perhaps had too big a load of speculation on it, thus why I tried to give what I consider to be an un-opinionated (is that a word?) "technical" appraisal. I completely agree with your suggestion that the "one dish/restaurants are going down the tubes" approach is not a good representation. yes and no, as we agree it's not an exact science. Preferred approach is to control your variance from forecast theoretical costs to actual month end food cost. I guess it depends where you want to drive the allowances into your food costing at the business end. If the variance gap is too big for comfort at month end, you have a problem. Some schools of thought suggest allowing an "X" factor of a few percent into their costings to allow for natural variance...sort of a "cost of doing business", a bit like allowing your bartenders when cashing out to be out of balance by a set amount per shift. There are differing approaches to this. Most restaurants are just happy if their month end comes in anywhere near budget (that is..if they have a budget or even have a clue what their food cost is at all....you'd be surprised) My egullet rail pass hasn't been used much of late, business has seen me traveling loads in Europe and the Middle East. Will try to get it stamped a bit more often but with trips to Shanghai (http://www.sialchina.com/) , HK (http://www.hofex.com/) and Singapore coming up I'm sure I'll miss plenty!
  13. OK, this train has no driver and is heading for a wreck fast. I feel the need for some "educated" comments. 1. Yes, GST should be $2.91 2. In my mind there is a question mark when it comes to the addition of GST broadly over the bread component. I have a feeling it's not supposed to be charged on bread but I think a higher power could answer that one better than me. 3. Argue of the ingredients prices all you like, for this exercise we'll assume his prices/costs are correct. 4. The cost of bread roles, olive, etc. DO have to go somewhere, they aren't free from the suppliers. Same goes for that slice of lemon in your drink, etc. It's better to work out an average cost per cover and attribute that way (food costing is a science, just not an exact one (unless everything is portioned in nice little neat packets)). 5. If his ex gst food cost on this item is %40.05 (rounded) (it is) then this would/should be one of the higher FOOD COST (%) items on his menu. If his whole menu is running at this level, soon you'll be able to pick up some cheap glassware and stoves from the mortgagee auction, no matter what a reviewer writes. 6. There are other things to think about..... *wastage *theft *shortages - your apprentice had a huge night on the Jack Daniels, when the deliveries came the next day he didn't weigh in the deliveries and you were invoiced for 500g of truffles but actually only received 200g, etc. *Skill contributes to cost - above it's mentioned that the 200g trout portion costs $6. Is this trimmed or not trimmed? Do you get consistent stock that ends up with the same trim amount? Does one guy in your kitchen have great knife skills and can cut 5 portions per fillet and another not so good and can only cut 3? *etc *etc ---all those controls need to be in place and working well to ensure there is as little as possible "variance" from the pre costed theoretical costs to the actual costs that are generated after month end and stocktake, etc. 7. All of the above is great, informative, blah blah, etc.. but THE OVER RIDING FACTOR as eluded to by Julian above is what is called menu engineering. Stay tuned now for your advanced food costing lesson. The food cost percentage of a single dish is practically irrelevant when it comes to your overall monthly food costs (unless it is the only item on your menu). You menu is constructed with some "loss leaders" or high end items that you have to have but aren't necessarily as individually profitable as some other items on the menu. That's OK, you make it back on the other more profitable items The below outlines two different scenarios. Same restaurant, same item costs, same sales prices, etc. The only thing different between the two is the "menu mix" or differing items sold based upon guests menu choices. Total number of individual items sold in both scenarios is the same (58) but you will see that the overall outcomes are wildly different. Knowing this and knowing how to use it to your advantage is why some restaurants last years and some (most) last A year. EDIT: sorry, the below looks crap when posted on this board. If maths is your thing, PM me and I'll send it more readable to you. Scenario 1 Item Cost $ell % Number sold TotCost Tot$ Toast 0.45 2.50 18 10 4.50 25 Sausage 0.80 3.00 26.6 36 28.8 108 truff lolipop 7.97 15.00 53.13 22 175.34 330 TOTALS 58 $208.64 $463 TOTAL FOOD COST %45.06 Scenario 2 Item Cost $ell % Number sold TotCost Tot$ Toast 0.45 2.50 18 36 16.20 90 Sausage 0.80 3.00 26.6 22 17.60 66 truff lolipop 7.97 15.00 53.13 10 79.70 150 TOTALS 58 $113.50 $306 TOTAL FOOD COST %37.09 In this theoretical example, that's an 8% difference to your bottom line. So...what's the point of my rambling? Simply that listing the selling price and costing of one item on your menu is a total waste of time and a major mislead. The public will most likely swallow it, just like they do the ratings....so you'll get the desired effect..... Restaurant reviews can make and break restaurants...they just break non performing and mis managed restaurants faster and easier.
  14. much respect for on purpose going to a restaurant that has just been slated in a review to check out for yourself. Also, great review! I can't say their presentation is really doing much for me.
  15. Atelier was crap, end of story. 8+) I'm sure it might be better on other days. Don't trust me, go find out for yourself. Had my "review" (can we call it that?) of the above been for wider public consumption, I might well have considered some similar points as raised XXX seafood supplier above before putting pen to paper/print and crafted my words more carefully. Since it's just for us, you got the real deal. That might well have cost them 5 or ten customers, that kind of review in printed in SMH would cost them their car, house, lease, equipment, etc., etc. I do think that kind of thing is a very heavy price to pay for perhaps something like the head chef having the flu and an apprentice running the pass for the night? Who knows? As far as I'm concerned (who cares anyway?) the whole people committing suicide over hats is bollocks anyway. Do a Marco, give your hats back, tell em to shove it and put out good food and attract strong custom on your own merits. If you are good, you will survive. Giving the hats back will get you enough publicity to ride off for a long while anyway! Julian, you mention this: "When the reviewers are controlled by the industry they are seeking to review, that will be a sad day in the history of free speech, if it hasn't already happened." So you are OK with the fact that the success of the restaurant is currently controlled by the reviewers? I'm not. (consider the collective industry boot now given). I'm not seeing black helicopters or anything but either there is something funny going on with restaurant reviews in Sydney or the reviewers are seriously and absolutely incompetent. I won't rant on again too much but there are restaurants out there with hats that are serving dog food and others that can compete on national and world stages left without a mention. Perhaps a survey/Zagat approach might be more reliable rather than sweeping power wielded by one or a small group of people?
  16. This came to me on the grape vine, an interesting read. Has been well forwarded around town. Names have been changed to protect the innocent. From: XXXXXXXX Sent: Friday, 23 February 2007 2:05 PM To: sthomsen Subject: just some thoughts on our industry. Dear Simon. I hope life is treating you well. This email isn’t a personal attack on you by all means.. I just wanted to express my thoughts to you since you are such you hold such a pivotal stake in our industry. I’ve been in this industry since I was 14 (now 36) and have been operating XXXX since 1993 (at the age of 23) . I live, breathe and love everything about the seafood industry and the food arena alike. I have met so many beautiful people including food writers, chefs, international chefs, celebrities etc. I have enjoyed the past 14 years immensely. However there have been many victims and tragedies along the way and I have also met many wankers and “wanna bees” as well. I understand your role and your responsibility and I also respect it.. however I have watched the socio economic cycles of the past decade and along with it the amount of victims in our industry it has devoured. I for one have come very close to “packing it up “..not because I’m physically exhausted, mentally drained, or have lost my passion…but simply because I have lost in excess of a million hard earnt dollars from restaurants that have been closed by receivers. Some of them deserved to close…many had no choice. After reading many reviews over the years and having eaten at many of the worlds and Sydney’s best restaurants, as well as supplying most of these places, I know for a fact that most of those victims didn’t deserve to go the way they did. I watched restaurants like 41 lose all their credibility over night and since then Dietmar has never been the same again. From a morale point of view as well as a financial point of view. Then I read the review on Summit this week and I just want to cry. I want to cry because I know what these people do from day to day to operate a place like that. I see how much effort and money goes into what they buy every single day of the week. I eat their food, know the people and all there is to know about them and many others and I ask myself: What did these people do to deserve such a lashing? How do the poor apprentices (future chefs of this city) feel in that kitchen after such a bashing? How would Michael Moore feel after just having put his balls on the line (buying this place) just the other day? How do I feel as their supplier knowing that potentially upon their demise I will lose another bucket load of money? And upon that result close my doors , sack 30 staff members and become a bankrupt? Why should these people/chefs buy top quality produce from Sydney’s best suppliers just to have it trashed as if it were frozen imported crap that MANY of the well known restaurants use? These people aren’t even focused on their bottom lines like they should. Dietmar still battles on over a decade later buying the best produce he can afford just to stay in the gutters . How does this happen?? Look at the kirketon: forced to sell Marron for :”fish and chips “prices to attract a good review : VALUE FOR MONEY. Look where that’s got them. Bankruptcy , unemployment, suppliers trying to feed their families short of yet another few thousand of their had earnt dollars. What the hell is going on????? Why do we want to exacerbate an already bad situation. This industry is in a huge mess. HUGE. You should ask these people who do 90 hours a week how they feel day in day out. Not seeing their loved ones for more than a few hours a week? Mortgages of millions maybe on the line so they can create employment for young Australians ??? I just think enough is enough. By encouraging restaurants to be working at a loss because they don’t want to upset reviewers is just suicide. NBIF I remember you once said they weren’t really value for money. That’s so untrue!!! The quality of produce they use just doesn’t make sense to me. In order for them to make money..they would need to charge a hell of a lot more than what they do. You should get an understanding of overheads and what goes into producing the food they do before we discuss value for money. What you are encouraging is more pressure and unrealistic expectations. More bankruptcies and unemployment and ultimately an industry that has beauty and glamour on the inside but a massive malignant tumor on the inside which inevitably will kill it….and everyone in it. I personally feel sorry for these guys and my self because I get get caught up in all of the backlash in the end. This isn’t a personal attack…just a request that you get to understand more than meets the eye…that you allow the industry to survive . It may be too late anyway. Best regards, xxxxxxx Director / Sales xxxxxx Seafoods Pty Ltd, Unit x, xxxxxx, xxxxxx NSW 2019
  17. Just a heads up, Jacques Pourcel will be coming to town in march, likely around mid March. Is in town for a week and is doing some events with the Shangri La. One or two of these events will be open to public diners, the rest are private. Start saving now, menu will not be cheap. http://www.jardin-des-sens.com/
  18. Let me give you my take on things (in line below) I live in Balmain.
  19. A heads up for any non industry people: When you are shopping at any sort of commercially orientated kitchen supply shop, ask them if they have "industry discount" (they all do). Tell them you are a dish pig at some restaurant or you own some other restaurant (make one up even) and you'll cop around 10% at most places. Sydney: Chefs Warehouse 111 Albion street The Hospitality Store 191 Parramatta Road, Camperdown Melbourne: Whilst in Melbourne recently I found this awesome little place, excellent selection of knives. Can't remember what it was called but it was on Elizabeth Street right near here: http://www.outregallery.com/ Any Melbournians able to remind me of the name? Also Essential Ingredient in Prahan Market was good. Great book selection for any other cook book freaks out there. Off topic but best Cook Book junkie supply in Australia is: http://www.booksforcooks.com.au/
  20. Many talented businessmen are presented with opportunities all the time, not all take every one. I consider this approach better than taking on many opportunities and pulling out when (many of them) don't work. Certainly your losses are less also. Before I can admire someone for pulling out before it hits the fan, I need to admire them for taking the right opportunities in the first place. Anyone can open and close restaurants, it just depends on the depth of your (and/or your backer's) pockets. "He's a very wealthy man, so he must be doing something right." - sure is, cooking, PR and media. Running multi restaurant empires is perhaps done more successfully by other chefs/groups. Regardless, I do want to see the Melbourne venture floursih and bring the his level of food and service to Melbourne!
  21. I'm not sure I agree with that logic. Anyway, one thing for sure is the guy can cook. Afterall, that's what it's all about.
  22. I hope he does well also. Should do, he's had plenty of practice........ Some might say he's closed more restaurants than he's opened, but that's the restaurant game.
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