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What are you doing when you aren't cooking (for your hotel restaurant)?

publication date: Jan 24, 2014
author/source: Meg McDonough, Luxury Hospitality Consultants, LLC
Three-Part Harmony (yes, Money): Networking : Marketing : Fulfillment

What are you doing when you aren't cooking (for your hotel restaurant)?


What are you doing when you aren't cooking for your hotel restaurant?

Most chefs de cuisine start their day with morning staff meetings, review invoices and new orders being placed, review daily prep sheets (if this has not been assigned to someone else), review the week's budget and any cost overruns, prepare reports for weekly department meetings, and so on.

Somewhere, and at some time, you spend the rest of your time trying to catch up on emails and respond accordingly.

Networking through professional trade blogs definitely works; however, the impetus to sustain written communication is time-consuming and can sometimes seem counterproductive - it takes you out of the kitchen and away from the line and interferes with scheduling, ordering, prepping, personnel issues, etc.

Do you feel blogs have any relevance to your line of business? Marketing is typically being performed by the hotel's public relations department, but in many ways how you interact with your peers, competitors, vendors and your hotel guests can also make a difference. For instance, public appearances at charitable functions are a great way to market not only your hotel but also yourself. Judging and or participating in local and regional cooking competitions is also a great marketing tool.

How does the White House guest chef (for an upcoming State Dinner) manage to Tweet and prep for this unique audience at the same time?

Chicago chef Rick Bayless, known for his Mexican-inspired cuisine, was invited to be the guest chef for tonight's White House state dinner in honor of Mexican president Felipe Calderon. However, and as reported by the Chicago Sun Times, not everyone appreciates he's been tweeting every detail about the preparations. I believe it's probably more about self-promotion on his part than anything else, but could this be an example of too much Tweeting and not enough prepping, etc. What do you think?

I can think of several instances in the kitchen when staff morale was so disjointed when a new executive chef came onboard and there were already three other CIAs working their shifts at the hotel, hoping to be promoted to executive chef. Subsequently, they were summarily relegated to garde manger duties (to be simplistic here) or other lesser duties. It's possible that management at the hotel felt they liked the new executive chef's resume and he probably looked good "on paper" - however, his experience in dealing with his peers was somewhat lacking. Literally, too many cooks in the kitchen and you have to wonder what was management thinking about? Too many egos got displaced while the new chef fulminated and micromanaged an area that had previously run very smoothly. Hence, the quick departure of some very talented CIAs who would not take any more of what management felt was "a good thing".

Fulfillment in bringing your F&B budget in line with forecasts and exceeding management and guests' expectations is the ultimate goal which cannot be accomplished without the first two parts of this hospitality triumvirate.

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