Twice a year I change the menu at my restaurant. Ideally, I’d like to change it with each season, but the work that goes into just two menu flips is overwhelming. I’m starting to really understand why folks take the easy road and just run the standard fare without evolving.
Don’t get me wrong, yes, I do understand. For me, it’s just not good enough. When you are a passionate, creative chef, it’s hard to cook the same menu all year. Day in and day out. The ingredients no longer inspire you…. the produce doesn’t call out to you, “ play with me!” “mold me into something great” “I’m at my peak right now dummy!”
Most importantly, I’m always trying to be better, more evolved, more in tune with what our guests want. Out with old and boring and onto what is NOW. People are eating differently these days, and it’s my duty as a chef to listen to what this means. You want more vegan? I will figure out a way to bring you inspired versions, not just a plate of veggies or a roasted vegetable stack. You want keto, we gotcha on that end too…fathead pizza on the way buddy. Stickin’ to super clean?….paleo is still my jam. Gluten free..? we’ve had your back for years right? Plain old joe?….we’ve got a new burger for you bro. All of this matters…..and it all takes time, a lot of it.
Let me give you a run down of what this menu project looks like:
I’m usually pretty well prepared for the work that comes along with the seasonal menu flip. This year I had much more on my plate so I’m late…which I hate. At my place, however, that means re-writing six menus. We have house, a clean livin’, an a la carte brunch, kids, catering and dessert. In order to be effective, efficient and profitable each menu’s ingredients need to mirror the others. The seasonal ingredients need to be searched for. Decisions need to be made on which vendors have the best prices. Each recipe and dish needs to be costed out just to see if they make the cut.
From there, lots of thought needs to be put into where these dishes will “come from” in the kitchen. Is one station heavier than others? Do cooks have to cross over one another or walk down the line to get an ingredient? How long will the dish take to execute?….is there anything we can do to shorten the time? Does the set-up provide for thorough safety for our allergen friends? Do we have the equipment we need to do it well? The right plates, bowl, serving utensils?
If it were just about being creative, it would be a cinch. There’s more than meets the eye folks. So, when you pop in around new menu time, please be excited about the new, fresh items. We put in some serious time to bring you new dishes we’re proud of