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Dessert Tasting Menu


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I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you Matt, but that assumes complete startup, which may or may not be the case. And in regard to freezing, often times freezing enhances moisture and texture, not to mention necessary in some instances for functionality (ie removing the pastry from a form). If we're talking about start up from the very beginning, then any restaurant is deemed expensive - work surfaces, fryers, grills, hoods, etc. Those are difficult to pay off. A bite sized petit four is much more difficult to pay off than a porterhouse, to that I completely agree.

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I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you Matt, but that assumes complete startup, which may or may not be the case.  And in regard to freezing, often times freezing enhances moisture and texture, not to mention necessary in some instances for functionality (ie removing the pastry from a form).  If we're talking about start up from the very beginning, then any restaurant is deemed expensive - work surfaces, fryers, grills, hoods, etc.  Those are difficult to pay off.  A bite sized petit four is much more difficult to pay off than a porterhouse, to that I completely agree.

Freezing makes for nice clean cuts, easing removal from moulds, etc. absolutely. But that's not what was being discussed. Using the freezer as a food storage device yields one thing: frozen food.

When does freezing enhance moisture and texture aside from food that's supposed to be frozen?

In my experience, much of the equipment required for fine pastry work is specialty stuff. Harder to get, and more expensive to begin with. Tables and deep fryers are cheap. Four inch double sided French steel tart shells are not. You just don't find that stuff for sale used on Craigslist.

As the one responsible for food cost where I work, it bugs me when people assume everything in pastry is 'cheap', when in reality, using top quality ingredients to produce top quality results is the opposite. You can cut corners anywhere you'd like, starting with cost of sales, but when you are attempting to do only one thing in your establishment, you had better make it perfect or else what's the point?

-- Matt.

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As far as savory foods, none or only like a salad or two, foie (?), maybe something like a couscous salad with  (brought in ) duck confit.

My two cents

Good Luck!

I sort of agree, but also think that trying to do too much can be an ultimate downfall. If those few salads or tapas are going to be as great as the desserts, then go for it, but if they are just going to take energy away from the real focus they might not be worthwhile. I'd definitely offer a cheese plate or desserts bordering on savory. You can't be all things to all people, so you should just do what you do best.

As for food cost and efficiency, baking and finishing 10 cakes does not necessarily take 2x the time as 5, maybe 1-1/2 times. There is some economy of scale to having a full mixer & oven and setting up the workstation fewer times. The times I've run food cost, I've found most of my desserts to cost between 50 cents and a dollar to make, and sold for $7 to 9. I've heard that ingredient prices have gone up in the US, but even in Bhutan, using imported Valrhona that cost $15 a pound and eggs at 25 cents each, the chocolate mousse was still only $2 per serving to make. Most restaurants shoot for a food cost of 28 to 30%, so I agree with Paul that food cost for pastry can be very low, under 20%. Yes, Matt is correct that tools and toys can be pricier, but I think you can run a very low food cost to offset higher equipment costs. It is a difficult industry no matter how you slice it.

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Food costs here are actually quite reasonable if you follow the season, Im a big believer in using fresh produce from my local suppliers whom I get really cheap top quality product of, which saves me going to the large fruit and veg purveyor, I have someone for my Citrus, another supplier for berries, apples I can pick from a tree, milk cream and butter have become a bit more expensive, The food cost is not a high worry for me at the moment as the I get reports for the restaurant I am working at as PAstry Chef at the moment and my food cost is spot on, actually very low, much lower than 28% which is great. and the sales are flowing through well too. Sourcing is something I spend alot of time on, even driving into the countryside( half an hour away) gets you amazing cheap produce, As far as staffing, I would be running it with my partner as the host and 3 in the kitchen.

I do get paid very well in terms of New Zealand wages but that would be scaled back for my own business obviously and the others will be juniors whom I can mould into what I want from a pastry chef.

As far as whats on offer from the venue my considerations are to run very casual through the day with bakery products from early from the Baker I mentioned, (upscale cafe) through to dessert restaurant in the evening a couple of hours closed between 4 and 7 reopening and running as the dessert restaurant serving cocktails, awesome wine, coffee etc.

Thanks for all the opinions given, they are all great and just.

As regards to making stuff and freezing it, I prefer to work Fresh, stuff doesnt sit around long enough, maybe 2 days to 3 days maximum, recipes are scaled down and often I make products for lunch service then have to make more for evening. Its extensive labour but the quality shines through

It's an appealing concept, but food and labour costs (especially in New Zealand) would kill you.

Pastry in a restaurant setting is not much of a money maker, and there's very little savings on labour when you scale up production, unlike the savoury side of the kitchen.  ie:  braising 40 lamb shanks does not take twice as long as braising 20, but baking and finishing 10 cakes takes twice as long as 5.  Pastry chefs where I am from command top dollar, as they are few and far between.

I doubt many restaurant pastry departments make enough to justify their existence and rely on other departments for subsidy. 

Freshness is also something to consider, especially when you start getting into multi-course small tasting portions.  You'd have to be doing some decent volume to maintain product quality, or be willing to swallow a lot of waste.  As soon as product quality starts to dip, people won't come back.

-- Matt.

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I don't really have anything to add except best of luck.

A similar concept is what I would have as my dream place. Not tasting menu based but a pastry shop in the front, dessert (or, maybe, apps and desserts) restaurant in the back. Most of the points already raised are why I haven't worked at taking it past the "wish" stage. I just don't think the local market would allow it to be a viable business.

I think the concept is definitely doable, just not where I live. I could probably do well late may through early october (tourist season) but the rest of the year would be extremely sketchy unless I could contract desserts to some of the local restaurants. That isn't a likely option though, most of them use pre-portioned frozen Sysco stuff that they can pull as needed and the local market majority is fine with that. Fresh from the freezer Rolo cake is unashamedly the height of pastry for many of the local diners. There is a core market that does appreciate fresh, well made pastry and desserts but it is not a large percentage of the already small market in this area. So the dream continues to be just a dream for me.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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It's an appealing concept, but food and labour costs (especially in New Zealand) would kill you.

Pastry in a restaurant setting is not much of a money maker, and there's very little savings on labour when you scale up production, unlike the savoury side of the kitchen.  ie:  braising 40 lamb shanks does not take twice as long as braising 20, but baking and finishing 10 cakes takes twice as long as 5.  Pastry chefs where I am from command top dollar, as they are few and far between.

I doubt many restaurant pastry departments make enough to justify their existence and rely on other departments for subsidy. 

Freshness is also something to consider, especially when you start getting into multi-course small tasting portions.  You'd have to be doing some decent volume to maintain product quality, or be willing to swallow a lot of waste.  As soon as product quality starts to dip, people won't come back.

-- Matt.

Wine Spectator did an article maybe a year and a half/two years ago that besides wine( liquor sales?) dessert sales generate the most profit in restaurants.

As pastrygirl noted costs can be controlled even when using ultra premium chocolate like Valrhona.

Labor is the biggest cost in pastry.

I agree with pastry girl generally too that savory can rob the customers attention from the sweet.

espai sucre always has had a couple of tasting menus that move from sweetish savory to dessert but that's a more specialized thing.

2317/5000

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Hello.

Just out of curiosity, would anyone here come to a restaurant just for a dessert tasting menu, I am planning on putting a 5 or 6 course menu on the menu and would love to hear what people think, also dessert restaurants. would you come to a dessert restaurant after your meal in another establishment?

just in the early business planning stages of dessert restaurant, just want to hear a broad view on it.

thanks guys:)

I grew up in Peru, my Dad use to take us to dessert only places all the time, these are places that have been open for decades, and not in just one city but through out the country. so this is a concept that works. a dessert only restaurant is also in my to do list. what kind of desserts are you thinking of?

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I plan on having a couple of menus, maybe a small classic menu then something more like the stuff you see on my blog, just a little more upscale.

Hello.

Just out of curiosity, would anyone here come to a restaurant just for a dessert tasting menu, I am planning on putting a 5 or 6 course menu on the menu and would love to hear what people think, also dessert restaurants. would you come to a dessert restaurant after your meal in another establishment?

just in the early business planning stages of dessert restaurant, just want to hear a broad view on it.

thanks guys:)

I grew up in Peru, my Dad use to take us to dessert only places all the time, these are places that have been open for decades, and not in just one city but through out the country. so this is a concept that works. a dessert only restaurant is also in my to do list. what kind of desserts are you thinking of?

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