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alanamoana

pastry chef recognition

69 posts in this topic

there's something to be said about just going into business for yourself. there's nobody to compromise with, no one to steal your spatulas, etc.

options:

1) teach classes at people's homes...you know there are still yuppies out there who love to have a glass of wine and think they're learning something

2) translate the connections you make teaching classes into catering opportunities...make desserts for people's cocktail parties, wedding cakes, ice cream to-go, cakes, cookies, anything

3) translate all the involvement you have with these people as market research into opening your own version of Chickilicious (nyc restaurant serving only desserts...tastings of desserts, prix fixe dessert menus, etc)

4) make the desserts that you want to make!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

5) become a dessert mogul and make millions and millions of dollars :laugh:

now that's a win-win situation all around. as my mom tells me every day, you aren't really doing anything unless you're working for yourself!

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Yikes, I lose power for a couple of days, and I return to find this! This is the kind of thread that makes me happy to be part of this little community we have.

Where to start... I think we've split the discussion into two parts: recognition within the industry and recognition to the outside world. I don't know if these are two separate battles or one large conflict. Addressing both at once, I may at times simply summarize what others have already pointed out, but these are things that I think about and work toward and, generally, lie awake at night obsessing over...

1. Doing good work and keeping in touch. Obvious, right? Refine, refine, refine. Make your crunchy textures crunchier, your ice creams smoother, your tuiles and chocolate garnish thinner and finer. You don't necessarily have to be 'innovative'. We are all working in different markets and at different price points and for different clientele; it's a given that what sells in NYC might not go over in Alberquerque. What I can produce for a hundred covers and sell at $12 a pop, won't be practical in a hip, high volume tapas-oriented restaurant in DC. Making your stuff better than any other place in town is the only way to start. Good tasting, attractive, and consistent pastry is essential. Keeping yourself up to date with developments, be they across the street, across the country, or across the globe keeps us envious and hungry and inspired. And look beyond the surface- dismissing Adria because "foams don't sell in Peoria" is missing the point. You can integrate the ideas and concepts behind what these chefs are doing on every level of production. I don't know how else to say it, but that you must strive to make each plate, cake, or bonbon better than your last. And it does have to be a 24/7 job for as long as you can handle it. Sure, the names you see on a monthly basis- Payard, Torres, Gand, Silverton, etc.- while they don't toil away at all hours in the kitchen now, I'd bet they did at one time. And then one could argue that the remaining balance of their time is filled with phone calls, recipe development, photo shoots, and the like, but more on that later.

2. Spread your vision. So you are doing your best work, you're not spending too much money, and you are running things cleanly and efficiently. It all starts with your fellow employees. If you have assistants, make it so that they are excited to come to work every day. Whether they are making your bases or simply plating your ideas, make sure they believe in you. Care for them and teach them well, and get them to suscribe to your vision, because they will be your true legacy. As for the chef, you are still working under his or her overall vision, yet hopefully you are being given some autonomy and trust. Ask for guidelines, so you know how far to push them. Know what is expected of you, so you can exceed those expectations. When given an inch, take a mile; give them tastes on a daily basis, talk about things you've seen and want to try. Make every simple assignment a complex one. Make yourself irreplacable. Don't forget the little things- turning in your inventory early, typing up those menu changes instead of scrawling them down on a torn sheet of notebook paper. Be the golden boy/girl. I understand it can be a rare kind of relationship, but if the chemistry and support ain't there in the kitchen, you're not going to find it outside the kitchen. It's a great feeling when your chef brags about you to other chefs.

Ah yes, outside the kitchen.. the front of house. The servers are your conduit. They must taste each dessert and they must know every component and ingredient. If they love it, they'll sell it, because it is in their own best interest to increase the check average. Sure, we all know the career waitrons who'll never give a shit. Find the two or three who care, who glance at a copy of Food Arts now and then, the ones who know an Hermes tie from and Herme macaron, the ones who know the difference between fleur de sel and Maldon salt. If they like what you are doing and they buy into your vision, they are going to know why Blumenthal or Bras or Balaguer influenced that dessert and they are going to convey that to the guest. Buy them a beer or a glass of wine once a week and find out what the guests are saying about this dessert, or why that dessert isn't moving. Get over the the BOH/FOH differences; they must be your allies. And you have the benefit of learning some of the insight from the guest's perspective.

And don't forget the maitre d' and sommelier (ok, if you have them). Know what is on your wine list, make sure your somm or wine buyer knows your desserts. Heck, increase your own knowledge of wine, so that when you unveil a new dessert, you can say, "hey, I think we should order the Lustau San Emilio Pedro Ximenez sherry, because the caramel-malt-nut flavors in the dessert would work really well with it," or, "with the rhubarb component in this dessert, the acidity of a Bonnezeaux or a VT from Alsace would work better than a cloying Sauternes." Encourage your somm to put together a matching program- it doesn't have to be cheesy, just having the option and the inventory available. Feel confident and comfortable bitching and moaning if they serve a moscato with your chocolate dessert!

Perhaps only in those "elite" environments, the maitre d' can be your most valuable FOH asset. At their best they are your (and the chef's, of course) representative out on the floor. In a best case scenario, the chef, pastry chef and front man are a trio, a visible team. And as one once described his job to me, a good maitre d' simply stands in front of the food, believing in it much like a gallery owner or museum curator. Make sure you find support there too.

While you are not likely going to match the executive's chef's salary, at least try to put yourself in a position where you can command the same respect, as someone who efficiently runs their own department, and exercises creative control.

3. Beyond the kitchen. Is your name on the menu? Do you have business cards? How many regular guests do you know by name or by sight? If you have the opportunity to walk the dining room, by all means, clean yourself up and get out there! If you are doing the best work you can do, people will want to tell you how much they loved it and ask questions. I work in an open kitchen; it was bizarre at first. And while there are still times I just want to hide and do my thing, I see it as a unique opportunity. I'll put certain components and garnishes on the counter in full view just to impress and start conversations. Guests will want to know how that was made, and what exactly is that? This winter, if you put Buddha's Hand on the menu, keep a whole one, and see how long you can snake through the dining room, showing off this crazy piece of fruit!

Say yes to every ludicrous substitution and cater to every paranoid food allergy. Do you have a couple who dines in house on a weekly basis? A guy who drops a cool grand on that '82 Petrus? The cute couple who just got engaged? Have one or two VIP desserts- a surprise, something off the menu, two or three bites, something that makes people feel good. A pannacotta, a fruit soup... easy. Pay attention. Remember the crazy guy who only likes a Grand Marnier soufflé with extra creme anglaise, but also recognize the woman who has had everything on the menu and be prepared to whip up something new, just for her. Earn yourself some fans. At the same time, make sure they know who is responsible for it. You overhear that someone is going to Spain? Tell them they have to go to Cacao Sampaka and Espai Sucre. Give them the scoop. Tell them about that kooky eGullet website. Let them know you are down with what's up. Build a following among your regulars. They'll come to think of you whenever they think of pastry.

4. The outside world. The kitchen staff is now curious about what you'll do next, the servers are happy because the guests are buying and loving everything, and chef is happy because the percentage of covers ordering dessert is well above 50%. Word of mouth is spreading, and you even have a good amount of late tables and bar traffic coming in for dessert only. Pastry cooks at other restaurants in town want to come and stage for a day. On your one night off you go out to another restaurant and see a copy of something you did last month. You are the big PC in your town or burg.

If your restaurant or establishment has been open for awhile, chances are you are well in between the review cycle. But some local food writer catches wind of the buzz you are creating, and gives you a call... "We're doing a story on such and such..." Respond immediately. Chefs are notorious for being behind schedule and unorganized. They want one recipe, give them three. 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. Doing a walk around tasting for two hundred across town will gear you up for the eventuality of shipping boxes of food to the next state to cook onsite for six hundred. It will come. And then you can be a bit more selective of the events you do. It is really important to talk to the people, and to work hard on how you present yourself. A lot of chefs phone it in with these kind of things. Challenge yourself- it will be noticed.

5. Going national. It's sad but true. If you read about a chef in one of the glossies, or even Food Arts or Nation's Restaurant News, chances are they have PR representation. I vividly remember the day my naivete and innocence were shattered when I realized that many of my chef heroes made the big time with the help of publicists. I was under the delusion that chefs acheived fame simply of their own merit. Well, merit obviously plays a major role (though we all have our own lists of famous chefs who shouldn't be!), but good PR can be beneficial in at least getting your foot in the door, and getting on the radar screens of the big boys. Even if you find yourself with those resources available, it will still require a lot of work on your part. The deadlines are shorter, the restrictions tighter, and the competition for that space is more fierce. And then you have to keep pressure on the firm that represents you, reinforcing your vision and goals. You may want to be in Art Culinaire, but left to their own devices you might be lucky to surface in Restaurant Business. Just like the local press, the national press need us too. And despite what the evidence within the industry shows us, there is a slow creep of interest from the media. Whether it will boost the profession outside the big names... I don't know.

So yeah, as Fat Guy noted, it all begins with not "sucking". I think it helps to have some kind of vision, something personal. And professionalism, both in the kitchen and out is key. There is also a lot of necessary motivation and work outside the kitchen, which I think FG meant by the word "de-ghettoize". It's not difficult, it's just a matter of commitment.


Michael Laiskonis

Pastry Chef

New York

www.michael-laiskonis.com

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Wow, Michael - thanks so much for inspirational and educational post! You really should write a book or at least a longer article on the subject. I've been reading this thread as someone just starting out in the pastry field with very mixed feelings. A small part of me is still questioning if I'm nuts and doing the right thing, but now that I'm on my way I'm more strongly convinced this is for me.

The thing that needs to be said here is that being a pastry chef isn't really all that different from a hundred other professionals who feel they don't get the recognition they deserve. I know - replace the words "pastry chef" with "graphic designer" in most of the above posts and they would still ring true, for the both the good and bad points. Part of what you have to ask yourself is what kind of recognition you want and why do you want it? Do you want the ego boost of seeing your name in print and a pat on the back from the exec chef, or do you want to promote your work to further your career, make yourself more valuable to current and future employers, bring in more customers, and help bring notice to the profession in general? Of course we would all like to feel appreciated, but to rely on outside praise for our sense of self-worth is the road to heartache and bitterness.

Michael's points about self-promotion are spot on. It truly is a fantasy if we think we can just put out wonderful desserts and the world will beat a path to our door. There is no profession anywhere that works that way. And as much as we may sneer at many of the Celebrity Chefs, they have done a huge service to chefs everywhere by bringing attention, legitimacy and respectability to the profession. We have a small handful of pastry chefs willing to do the work to put themselves out there at that level, and whatever their motives or real level of skill I say "congratulations and go for it"! Ultimately they will end up helping us all.

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Quit your job tommarrow Tan and see how easy it is to find another comfy gig. Once upon a time you could leave a job when you had enough and find another with-in a couple weeks -it ain't so anymore boys. In Chi town even the lousy bakeries all drying up and closing down. The economy seems much worse then I see published, everythings down to bare bones around here. Pc's are the last to get hired and the first to go.

I have to clear a few things up here.

Firstly, I've meant no malice in what I've written and hope it's not been taken that way by anybody, especially you, Sinclair.

I don't work what I would call a "comfy" gig. I don't call 10 bucks an hour particularly 'comfy' bucks.

I P-chef at 2 places, one that is horribly run but that has a lot of heart, and another that is pretty well run.

At the aforementioned one I often have to wait around till a store opens so I can get eggs because someone forgot to order them. Or go grocery shopping for milk at 5 or 6 am.

The other one has all the unlevel tables and crap. Crappy ventilation and cooling.

Servers that SUCKKKKK!!!!! For the most part. But I do end up selling a respectable # of plate's though. Enough to keep my job.

I have lucked out once or twice when I was unhappy with my working conditions and fell into another gig. But those were usually resumes that were already out there and got picked up by a manager or chef again. I've also quit a gig because of shitty conditions and done something else, like cooking breakfast at a fajita joint then ran off to another low paying gig at a savory place in the afternoon. , just to make ends meet. I have a family to support, you know, I'm not just huffing off because someone pisses me off. When conditions become intolerable or a chef is impossible to deal with, ie; I can't look them in the eye because they're so clueless and I don't have a shred of respect for them, that's when I go.

I only suggested getting out of a place because you (Sinclair) have seemed extremely unhappy and stressed and have written about it here. I guess it worried me that you seemed so morose and beat up.

But good on you if you can work under crappy conditions sounds (crappier then mine) and clueless chefs and still be able to do it.

And BTW, all summer I've felt like I've had a bulls-eye on my back as far as the P chefs being the first to get the boot subject goes. That makes me VERY uncomfortable. It's also one of the reasons I keep my other job.


2317/5000

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I only suggested getting out of a place because you (Sinclair) have seemed extremely unhappy and stressed and have written about it here. I guess it worried me that you seemed so morose and beat up.

No, I'm the happiest I've been in years. Yes, I've gone thru alot over the years....but I'm in the best place possible. Being freelance is like being self employeed. I'm just pointing out reasons and experiences hoping that someone reading this who hasn't been in our shoes will learn and maybe open up.

Yes, I do have issues that are near and dear to me and I'll push them out there until I can't type any more. I drag things out of the closet because until somethings are addressed and thought about, nothing will get better. If just one chef reads this thread and walks away with a better understanding of the pastry side we've done something good.

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?

Obviously I've worked at places that have (to some degree) or I wouldn't have been hired.

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.

Having a pc on staff doesn't always have to mean complications. I try very hard to always make my work something that doesn't demand more attention or work from the hot side. But it's still a "battle" (for lack of a better word) to teach and show chefs this. Often I'll have a chef cut me off mid sentence when I'm suggesting something "new" to them. "New" as in different they how they've always done things. I'd like to figure out how to comunicate better and break down the barriers between pastry and the hot side.

For instance (this is something I've seen at EVERY club I've been at), I'm at a place that's bastardizing morning pastries. They have a line cook baking off fruit breads (that are beyond horrid) and they buy in packaged danish and serve it in the package. Nothing ever gets eaten off the platter by the clients and they hold and re-serve this over and over. They do similar with their cookie trays (for golf outtings lunchs). They use a brownie mix (that's fine) but they never have the same guy bake it off. I've seen it vertually raw, burned, stuck in the pan, etc... and they hold their cookies for weeks at room temp.

From my experience when things aren't being eaten it's usually because they're not good. But from the chefs perspective they think these items aren't being eaten because no one is hungry or no one eats danish anymore. So instead of looking at why no ones eating and improving what being offered the chefs go the other way and think "why bother" if no one is going to eat it (yet alone pay for a pc to make these items that aren't going to be eaten).

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.

I have no interest with "recognition" from from anyone outside of where I work. Recognition from with-in is everything. Just being treated at part of the group, the whole team is what pleases me now. (p.s. I have it).


Edited by Sinclair (log)

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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 (log)

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.

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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

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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 (log)

Marsha Lynch aka "zilla369"

Has anyone ever actually seen a bandit making out?

Uh-huh: just as I thought. Stereotyping.

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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?

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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.

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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

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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 (log)

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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!

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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.

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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:

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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