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bripastryguy

Menu Pricing and description

37 posts in this topic

What is the constraint that makes your work not a good example of your capabilities?  Food Cost?  Direction from the owner/manager?  Time? Self imposed?  A combination?

Other potential factors might be the composition of the restaurant's clientele, and the matching of the patissier's creations with those of the chef for savory dishes. :hmmm:

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What is the constraint that makes your work not a good example of your capabilities?  Food Cost?  Direction from the owner/manager?  Time? Self imposed?  A combination?

Other potential factors might be the composition of the restaurant's clientele, and the matching of the patissier's creations with those of the chef for savory dishes. :hmmm:

From Bripastryguy's initial post,

I do desserts for a small bistro in NY, I have full creative freedom with the menu items

Given the above I don't see clientele as a likely constraint. As to pairing with the chef's savory dishes, I would expect a patissier to have the depth to overcome such an issue.

I understand the difference between the desserts possible at Philadelphia's Le Bec-Fin and what one expects to find in a bistro, but I am willing to bet that if Le Bec-Fin's former pastry chef, Robert Bennett, woke up one day and found himself transported to a small bistro's kitchen, he would still present deserts that show off his capabilities and do so within acceptable food costs for a $5 or $6 dessert.


Edited by Holly Moore (log)

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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My empathy to you.

I was working at a place not long ago where I worked with a great exec chef who was very supportive, interested and inspiring to work with and for.

He left suddenly and was replaced w/ the sous chef who was totally the opposite. He wanted me to do really dumbed down stuff that wasn't neccessary. We were enjoying dessert sales of close to 50% or better. At first I thought I was being snobby but soon realized that I just didn't want to start doing turtle pie type stuff so I got out of there.

The $$$ was much better there then anywhere else I've worked since but I do have my sanity.

And some great reviews too.

I would get out of there pronto if I were you.

But.

Don't count on this person caring a whole lot either way. They never do.


2317/5000

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What is the constraint that makes your work not a good example of your capabilities? 

I can't speak for Brian, but I see his point to a degree. There are a lot of pastry chefs who work the early shift and cannot physically be there for the entire day's service. Or in the case here, the pastry chef is in on a part time basis, or merely consulting. So who is plating the desserts, or doing some of the prep under this kind of system? Most often the salad/pantry/garde manger guy/girl, who, in most kitchens, is the lowest one on the totem pole, with the least experience. Perhaps someone like Steve Klc could speak to how he trains the staff at his various projects, but I think it must be difficult as the idea man, not being there all the time. A dessert has got to be simple and hard to screw up. Factor that in to the venue, price point, management... and I can see where Brian feels it is not his most amazing work.

Someone like me is in a luxurious position. I have one of the largest full time pastry staffs in my area (me, two assistants, and usually a stage or extern at my disposal). We are a dinner only, 90 seat restaurant. I am in the trenches every night (save one or two days a month). I, thankfully, never have to think in terms of limitation, whether it be complexity of presentation, a la minute cooking, space, or the bodies with which to pull it off. I agree that flavorful, beautiful desserts can be done at every level. Put in Brian's position, however, I might feel that I was capable of more.


Michael Laiskonis

Pastry Chef

New York

www.michael-laiskonis.com

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The constraints are as follows:

-Chef's lack of ingredient and equipment knowledge as far as pastry goes, for example:

Gelatins, Flours, Chocolates, etc...

"Can't you use white chocolate instead of bittersweet?"

-"Why cant we make up a name (instead of panna cotta or creme brulee)

-I make a cherry merlot sauce for the molten chocolate cake, he said use raspberry jam instead, huh???

-There are no no molds, no special dishes, cake pans, etc... I have brought everything in that I use. He did however just purchase me 1-dozen ramekins.

The restaurant is unbelievably small, no separate pastry area, I come in @ 5:00am and have to leave by 8:00 am (anywhere from 1-3 days a week depending on sales)to get to my full time job. Ingredients and dry goods are outside the restaurant in a trailer and adjoining walkin (fun walking out in the snow or rain with a tray full of desserts). Ordering is usually a big problem. The Chef either forgets to order my stuff or he goes to Restaurant Depot and they really dont carry a wide selection of specialty pastry items. As wells, for the minute salary and time restaints, he (the Chef) bitches that he wants me to wash all my pots and pans, because he doesnt have a dishwasher come in until 1. I really dont have the time to produce what he wants and to be the dishwasher, too. Please do not misconstrue my meaning, I would proudly do whatever the job entails, but I am limited by time so I think the decision has to be: produce enough quality desserts for the upcoming service or have a few clean pots.

In response to the reference to my work. I'm proud of everything I put out or I wouldn't be putting it out. As I described previous, The Brownie Sundae, intense and delicious, but ho hum. I have gotten rave reviews for my molten chocolate cake by recent newspaper reviews. The Panna Cotta, I cant take total credit for it-I base it on a Gale Gand recipe and tweek it alittle with the accompaniments. My apple tart in its simplicity is just wonderful (#1 seller)-but needs its ice cream (we agreed last night to put Honey cinnamon ice cream that I will twist from a store bought vanilla). I'm not gonna go thru the whole menu, but what I was meaning to say, Is that its not my most challenging or interesting work. These desserts fit in perfect with the restaurant concept and everyone including the chef to some degree


"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

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Thanks for the insight. As I said in my initial post, I had gathered you take pride in your work and that seemed in conflict with your statement that the deserts you are producing are not a good example of your capabilities. Expanding a bit further, if the pride wasn't there you wouldn't be so upset with the owner's shortsightedness as it impacts on your products. No disrepect was intended. I just wanted to resolve those to impressions / statements. Thanks for the explanation.

Now I disagree with you though. I'd suggest that your desserts are indeed a good representation of your capabilities - within the constraints imposed upon you - and that photos of those desserts presented in the context of the menu and price range will speak very well of your work.


Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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to add:

I am the only one doing the prep, the chef wont even let the salad guy peel and dice apples for me.

The guy who plates the desserts (and works the salads)

is a really nice and dedicated guy. Extremely forgetful, vey slow and sloppy so I have no control what goes on when I'm not there. The chef is to busy doing what needs to be done to have any time to keep an eye on the salad guy.

The other night I took my father for dinner at the restaurant. The bread wasover proofed, cornbread dry and tasteless (They changed my recipes to save money, neither the chef nor the salad guy has experience baking, I have evenhad to resort to "jerry rigging" the creme brulee to a stovetop version -pastry cream, because of lack if dushes(10) and they kept over cooking all of them). I watched desserts go out and I was embaressed at they way they were presented, very sloppy, not clean and elegant they way I had showed them. They run rampent with cocoa powder and powdered sugar shakers............

So as you can see, I have little or no control over the station or its items once I walk out of the restaurant.

I really dont want everybody to get the idea that I think I'm this perfect pastry chef and this chef is horrible. he and I have become friends but it is very hard to talk to him and to get him to change or understand a few things.


"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

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IMHO this Chef is taking the piss.You are doing yourself no favours (apart from the $$) working with this guy.

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To let you guys know:

The Chef has conceeded to let me change the menu and to drop the ridiculous $1.25 a la mode charge.......

We will see what the future brings


"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

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[..] Then give your notice.  If he seeks to retain you, tell him exactly what it will take to keep you.  [..]

In my experience, it's generally a bad idea to give notice and not follow through. It's almost like a threat. There's a certain trust that's lost if the employee stays, and things are never the same.

In any event, it sounds like a moot point in this case and glad to hear things are starting to sort themselves out.

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Congrats, BPG!!!


2317/5000

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