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Old 07-22-2005, 07:53 AM   #1
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Chef de Cuisine Practical Exam

All Fellow chefs,


I need suggestions, and help with issues that might arise during the practical exam. I'm also looking for a mentor who understands the best possible solution in selecting a winning menu.

I'm nervous and tend to screw up under pressure . What are your experiences? Please help me avoid any mishappening.


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Old 07-22-2005, 08:08 AM   #2
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Welcome to the site greentea! I don't have any suggestions for you as I'm not familiar with the test, but hopefully someone here is. I'm going to move your post to the general cooking questions (This thread is more for questions about the forum itself). Good luck!!!

-A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand
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Old 07-22-2005, 10:39 AM   #3
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I'm not much help either, but I'm bumping this thread up so more folks will see it.
Don't worry - someone is bound to come by soon to help you!
Come visit my foodie blog: www.SockmonkeysKitchen.com
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Old 07-22-2005, 11:34 AM   #4
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I'll send Ironchef this link so he sees it - he usually gets on pretty much every day so be patieint if he doesn't. There's some others out here too so just keep checking back.

To me a winning menu is changing with the seasons (lmao - I originally said seasonings), using fresh, local ingredients, and a little something for everyone but everything with your own personal flair and touch.

"Count yourself...you ain't so many" - quote from Buck's Daddy
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Old 07-22-2005, 02:16 PM   #5
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Ok basically, there's obviously several factors you need to consider:
  • Location - Is this a factor in planning your menu? For instance, would you open up a fine dining French Restaurant in an area where most people prefer buffets or bbq style food? Unless you're a well known chef, probably not.
  • Clientele - Who are you primarily catering to? Families? Young Couples? Big spenders? Bargain hunters? Foodies? Location plays a big part in determining this as well
  • Price Range - You need to know what the majority of people frequenting your restaurant can afford.
  • Theme - Are you going to focus on one style of food or are you going to put everything under the sun on your menu a la Cheesecake Factory?
  • Verbiage - When you write out your dishes, do they sound appealing? Ask others to read them as well and ask them if they find the items appealing. Often times, good dishes get overlooked or ignored on menus because guests don't think that they'll taste good because of the way it is presented. Look at different menus (there's a ton online) from different restaurants. Which ones feel well written to you and which don't?
  • Balance - Do you have a good mixture of starters and entrees? This should be directly comparable to the size of the restaurant and the amount of covers you're expected to do. You don't want to have 20 different appetizers on your menu when you only do about 100-150 covers a night. You'll have too much waste and too high of a food cost.
  • Cross-Utilization - This is a big pet peeve for Chef-Instructors. For instance, if you're bringing in fresh Diver Scallops to use in an appetizer, is there another item on the menu which can utilize these if the appetizer dish is not selling?
  • Station Balance - If you have 15 entrees on the menu, is the saute station going to be responsible for 13 of them? This isn't THAT important, but something to consider. You don't want your saute guy getting killed every night while the grill/broiler cook is just standing around.
  • Availability of Items - Are you going to bring in fresh tuna every day or two even if the price is astronomical? Remember that menu items need to be priced accordingly with your plate costs.
Of course there are other factors to consider as well, but cover these basics first so that you can get a general idea of what direction you want to go in.
"Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."
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Old 07-22-2005, 04:49 PM   #6
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Ironchief, I'm not a professional chief, but I am a retired business woman, and I think that was excellent advice. With a little revision, it would would be useful advice for any business person.
We get by with a little help from our friends
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Old 07-22-2005, 05:21 PM   #7
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Thank you!! the advise you gave was great, I will consider all factors. Looking in Cross-Utilization in my menu was something I didn't consider but do know.
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Old 07-22-2005, 05:23 PM   #8
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Thanks for the help, I get some great responses..
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Old 07-22-2005, 06:26 PM   #9
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Very good advice from Ironchef. I hope your practical exam goes well Greenetea68!
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Old 07-22-2005, 07:01 PM   #10
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presuming you have the skills under control, Iron chef has covered the possibilities unless you are at CIA, then your math and English and at least 1 foreign language better be up to snuff.

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