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8 Culinary arts and foodservice operations.


Customers at a well-run restaurant take for granted the menu they receive, the service they get, and the meal set before them. The whole production, from soup to nuts, seems almost effortless--an effect that takes great effort on the part of many people to achieve.

In this chapter you will read about those people and what they do. You will learn much about what it takes to run a foodservice operation successfully--from kitchen organization to purchasing, preparation, cleanup, food safety, and environmental issues. Because of the traditional techniques of food preparations and service, a brief history of cooking and culinary arts is included.


When you have completed this chapter, you should be able to:

(1) Explain how the word restaurant came to be known as a place to eat meals.

(2) Define mise en place.

(3) Explain the four factors that influence menu planning and development.

(4) Identify the components that make up the production cycle.

(5) Discuss the social and cultural issues involved in foodservice operations.


Studying history gives a sense of what the past was like and how things have evolved. The history of cooking began about 1 1/2 million years ago, when people learned to control fire. No doubt early people didn't take much time in discovering that fire not only provided warmth, protection, and light; it could also change and enhance the texture and taste of food. With the cultivation of grain, the domestication of animals, and the appearance of pottery among various cultures sometime between 10,000 and 6000 B.C., cooking became easier and more varied. Early Mesopotamian cultures began to harvest grain, figs, and dates, and to domesticate sheep and goats. People in the Americas grew squash, chili peppers, beans, and potatoes.

As various civilizations developed, their ruling classes came to appreciate good food, and reserved for themselves those people with special talents for preparing delectable dishes. Food became central to the cultures of ancient civilizations. For example, in ancient China, the ting cauldron, a cooking vessel, was a prime symbol of the state. Records from the time of the Zhou dynasty (1027-221 B.C.) provide a list of those responsible for running the emperor's palace. From among the approximately 4,000 positions listed, almost 60 percent handled food and wine, including 162 master "dietitians," 256 chefs, and 62 assistant chefs. (1) In ancient Egypt, food played an integral part in burial rituals. Important officials were entombed with a rich assortment of prepared dishes to sustain them until they reached the other world.

European cooking seems to have originated in Athens and subsequently developed in Rome, when professional cooks were called upon to plan social banquets for the well-to-do. Some of the first sauces were served at these feasts, along with the finest wines of the ancient world. Unfortunately, little is known of early culinary developments among many civilizations in Africa, Asia, and the Americas.

The diets of ordinary people were usually plain and unvaried. The commoners of Mesopotamia and Egypt lived on such staples as bread and beer. Most Greeks and Romans ate coarse bread, olives, and goat cheese, while vendors roamed city streets selling roasted meats, fried fish, and sweets. A special preparation of maize provided the people of ancient Mexico with the tortilla, the foundation of their diet. The diet of India's ancient culture consisted of a wide variety of vegetable and dairy products and a complex mixture of seasonings known today as curry.

Perhaps the first highly sophisticated regional cuisine was that of imperial China. The basic foodstuffs were rice or grain, vegetables, fish, and pork, prepared according to strict principles that reflected deeply held beliefs about food, food preparation, and proper eating habits. In spite of regional variation, the cuisine developed as a highly distinctive mixture of ingredients and seasonings, elegantly prepared and served. Meals had a very important place in Chinese culture: They reflected status and ethnicity; they cemented social transactions and business deals; and they marked special occasions and family events. Food preparation and consumption became a social language.

By the time of the Sung Dynasty (960-1279 A.D.), cities were filled with restaurants, taverns, and teahouses, and many specialized in a particular style of food. The typical restaurant looked like any large city house, with its entryway, forecourt, and large main hall behind. The kitchen was generally built near the main entrance so that customers passing by could admire the cook's skill. Diners selected items from a menu and shouted out their choices to waiters, who then relayed the orders to the kitchen. Customers could choose from all kinds of soups, vegetable and meat dishes, and buns and cakes. (2) Often, diners ate in small private rooms, sectioned off from the main hall by screens or by actual walls. In addition to restaurants that offered formal dining, many short-order restaurants, or noodle shops, provided a convenient lunch or hurried snack. Hawking a wide variety of items for all mealtimes, street vendors worked all day and into the night.

The Japanese also placed great emphasis and imagination on the presentation of food. The highly formalized Chanoyu, or tea ceremony, is a ritual that dates back to the thirteenth century. Every aspect of the ceremony was calculated to achieve a particular harmonious effect, including the physical setting, the table arrangement, the serving containers, the texture of the food, even the conversation topics. Various dishes were prepared simply and served in a series of small plates and bowls, intended to bring out the unique qualities of regional cuisine.

Medieval Europe, contemporary to Sung-era China, was a plain society living on bread, broth from the stockpot, and savory puddings made from dried legumes. Public cookshops with ready-cooked meat and fish were a common feature of the cities. What little is known of medieval cooking comes from a few surviving account books and cookbooks from the kitchens of monasteries and feudal landholders. The great lords and the religious orders preferred spit-roasted meats heavily seasoned or sauced to disguise the taste. Dinner courses consisted of a number of different dishes all placed on the table at the same time--combinations of soup, fish, meat, and sweets. Diners selected from what was offered and then waited for the next course. Food was shared from a common bowl or platter, and a thick, stale slice of bread served as a plate.

More refined regional styles developed in Italy. Italian cooking used fresher produce and featured pasta served with flavorful sauces. Trade with the Middle East brought new ideas as well as new goods. The Middle East strongly influenced Italian cooking and probably introduced Europe to the fork as an eating utensil. In time, aspects of Italian cuisine traveled north and influenced the eating habits of the rest of Europe, particularly France.

The French began to take their food seriously during the reign of Henry IV (1589-1610), and French cooking had undergone a remarkable change by the time of Louis XIV (1643-1715). This period saw the replacement of haphazardly cooked, highly spiced foods with simple dishes, light sauces made from natural cooking juices, and carefully prepared soups in place of stockpot broth. During this period, craft and merchant guilds grew in strength, bringing economic and legal control to most professions, including foodservice. For instance, the caterers' guild reserved the right to serve any hot, prepared foods offered at banquets and feasts or in taverns.

In Paris and other French cities ordinary people gathered in cabarets, inns, and taverns, but the guild of caterers strictly regulated food served there. Wine was usually the distinguishing factor between one establishment and another. The word restaurant (which means "restorative") was applied to certain bouillons consumed to restore strength after illness or physical exertion.

An incident in 1765 changed this situation, and marked the beginning of the modern restaurant in Europe. (3) A bouillon maker in Paris, whose sign over the door stated "Boulanger sells restoratives [restorantes] fit for the gods," served his concoction on the premises. When Boulanger introduced a restorative made of sheep's feet in wine sauce, he had, according to the caterers' guild, overstepped his bounds. Boulanger had no legal right to sell "whole pieces" in sauce. To the dismay of the guild, the Parlement of Paris decided in favor of Monsieur Boulanger. The guild's hold was now loosened. Boulanger's establishment has long since disappeared, but the word "restaurant," taken from his sign--and the changed meaning, a place where meals are served--lives on.

The earliest commercial venture resembling a modern restaurant was the Grand Taverne de Londres, which opened in Paris in 1782. The owner, Beauvilliers, introduced the novelty of a menu and service at small individual tables during fixed hours. One observer stated that this eating establishment was "the first to combine the four essentials of an elegant room, smart waiters, a choice cellar, and superior cooking." (4)


Classic French cooking is the most influential and highly esteemed cuisine of the Western world. Its formalized culinary style--which prizes subtlety, order, balance, and elegant presentation--is supported by a broad, specialized vocabulary and a rich body of cooking literature. As food items and cooking techniques are developed and mastered, they are described in meticulous detail and passed on, building a tradition of shared experience. Recipes are communicated in a form of technical shorthand, and identical results can be anticipated with each use.

The French tradition is the standard for many fine dining establishments today. American and European fine dining is firmly rooted in the work of the early French cooks. Their influence, modified over the years, can still be seen in the many stages of dining operations, from the way dishes are prepared, to the way many kitchens and dining rooms are organized, to the way kitchen staff are trained.


Numerous figures have made important contributions to the French culinary tradition. Guillaume Tirel (also known as Taillevent), cook to Charles V, sometime before 1380 compiled Le Viandier, one of the first cookbooks to establish some fixed rules and principles in cooking. Catherine de Medicis (1519-1589) and Anne of Austria (1601-1666) married men who became kings of France. Each woman brought her personal chefs, who introduced foreign (particularly Italian) influences to French cooking. The highly educated and energetic Catherine had a taste for delicacies and refined dishes, and is credited with introducing the use of forks and napkins to French dining practices.


Pierre Francois de La Varenne is noted for his cookbook Le Cuisiner Francais, published in 1651. It contained many of the superb sauces that characterize French cooking and taught future generations of chefs to appreciate the basic character of ingredients. Francois Marin wrote Les Dons de Comus (published in 1739), a cookbook for the common people. He claimed that "with proper pots and pans, fresh food purchased each morning, and a good bouillon, even third-class persons can dine with grace." (5) In 1938, the great chef Prosper Montagne published Larousse Gastronomique, the basic encyclopedia of French cooking, still being updated in revised editions.

Marie-Antoine Careme (1784-1833) is the founder of classical French cuisine and considered by many to be the greatest chef who ever lived. He garnered fame for his decorative displays and elaborately sculpted confections. In his writings he stressed the importance of fresh ingredients, kitchen organization, and the relation of individual dishes to the whole meal to create a singular effect.

At first a disciple of Careme's methods and principles, Georges Auguste Escouffier (1846-1935) simplified the excesses of the previous century and brought a system of organization to everything he did. Dinner menus listed courses in a clear and logical progression. In addition, Escouffier devised an efficient system of organization in the kitchen, the brigade system, that is still used in large upscale restaurants today. (Table 8-1 shows a diagram of the system.)


Auguste Escoffier founded the kitchen brigade system (brigade de cuisine) on well-defined organizational principles. The kitchen staff was divided into specialized departments, and each had defined tasks and responsibilities; previously, a chef was responsible for the total preparation of an entire meal. Escoffier's system resulted in greater efficiency and better, more consistent results. This organization became the standard for the large classical kitchen of European and American fine dining and is found in scaled-down versions in many kitchens today.

CHEF. The top level of authority in the kitchen brigade system, the chef is culinary expert, supervisor, business manager, and personnel director for the team of talented and specialized individuals working at the establishment. In cooperation with management, the chef develops the menu, orders supplies, organizes work schedules, and maintains the quality standards of food preparation and service. A chef's work integrates creativity, quality, and consistency, and reflects knowledge of current culinary developments and trends. The preparation of a variety of menu items all at once during peak dining periods calls for the precise scheduling, monitoring, and coordination of activities. Duties as kitchen manager require enough business experience to participate in basic financial and business operations, and to oversee the most economical and efficient purchase and use of all food, supplies, and equipment.

SOUS CHEF. In many larger organizations the next in command under the chef is the sous chef. The sous chef carries out such functions as scheduling, assisting other stations as needed, and, if called upon, covering for the chef.

CHEFS DE PARTIE. Under the sous chef come the chefs de partie, also called the station chefs or line chefs. A very large establishment with a full, traditional brigade system may have as many as twenty or more chefs de partie. Often, though, one person combines two or more responsibilities in one station. Included in the chefs de partie are: the saute cook, or saucier, who prepares all the sauteed items and their individual sauces; the poissonier, or fish station chef, who prepares all fish items and their appropriate sauces; the grillardin, or grill cook, who prepares all grilled or broiled menu selections; the entremetier, or vegetable chef, who prepares all hot appetizers in addition to soups, vegetables, pasta and noodles, and sometimes egg dishes; the patissier, or pastry chef, who prepares pastries and desserts as well as all other baked items offered on the menu; and the garde manger, or pantry chef, who is in charge of the cold stations, preparing a large variety of salads, pates, cold appetizers, desserts, and salad dressings. The garde manger also carries out such preparation as marinating, smoking, and brining. In addition, this station prepares all breakfast items.


Dining room workers provide the link between the customers and the kitchen staff. Much as in the kitchen, a traditional chain of authority exists in the dining room.

MAITRE D'HOTEL. At the top, coordinating service policies and quality expectations with the owners or managers, is the dining room manager or maitre d'hotel. This person oversees the entire operation of the dining room, training the service staff, organizing seating, selecting the restaurant's wine menu, and cooperating with the chef to finalize daily menus.

CHEF DE SALLE. Next in line is the chef de salle, or head waiter, who is responsible for the service provided in the dining room. This person organizes and supervises the service staff.

CHEF D'ETAGE. Of all the front-of-the-house staff, the person who has the most direct contact with the diners is the chef d'etage, or captain. This person takes the guests' orders after explaining the menu, describes the special daily features, and answers questions guests may have. In addition the captain may carry out appropriate tableside preparations such as finishing salads or adding special sauces to certain dishes as they are served.

CHEF DE RANG. The chef de rang, or front waiter, sees to the service needs of the guests as they dine, making sure that the proper service is set for each course, that water and other beverages are kept fresh, and that used items are promptly removed. Depending on the size and formality of the restaurant, these positions may be combined to deal most efficiently with the needs and expectations of the guests.

DEMI-CHEF DE RANG. The demi-chef de rang, or back waiter or bus-person, clears all appropriate service from the table between courses and often freshens water glasses. In addition, the back waiter may assist other service personnel as necessary.



The kitchen brigade system emerged from a particular cultural tradition and, in practice, represents only a small minority of foodservice operations worldwide today. Rising labor costs and the need for faster service have broken down Escoffler's rigidly defined duties, and responsibilities frequently overlap at the peak of dinner-hour preparations. The modern large kitchen may feature an executive chef, kitchen manager, sous chef, and various line chefs. In many small operations, though, the whole staff could be as few as one or two people.

Today's dining room staff is usually more streamlined, reflecting changes from the service style of Escoffier's time when many final preparations were carried out at table side. Frequently a dining room manager and host or hostess supervise the wait staff, who transport pre-portioned food to customers; and buspersons clear the used service.

The traditional kitchen brigade system generally is found in fine dining restaurants primarily in Europe and, secondarily, in the United States. It also has influenced the organization of the kitchen in many other foodservice concepts.

The traditional roles of chef, sous chef, and garde manger, and the workstations associated with these positions, are found in most full-service restaurants. However, it is important also to recognize that the kitchen brigade system was developed by Escoffier prior to the twentieth century. It predated the development of many managerial techniques, such as work design, human factors engineering, and process reengineering that have led to significant improvements in productivity and efficiency in other industries. In today's fiercely competitive environment, foodservice operators have developed new forms of organization for the kitchen and dining areas.


Many cooks and chefs begin their careers with practical experience on the job, in one of the less-skilled kitchen positions. However, it takes a great deal of work, often formal education, to rise to a more skilled level. For example, years of training and experience are required to achieve the position of executive chef. Cooks frequently are trained through vocational programs at the high school or post-high school level, or through programs in an increasing number of two- and four-year colleges. One hospitality industry source lists 126 colleges and universities with programs for the culinary arts, and 260 restaurant and foodservice management programs. (6) In addition, apprenticeship programs organized by professional culinary institutes, industry associations, and some large hotels and restaurants are available both in the United States and abroad. For instance, the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco has a 16-month professional chef program; the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, grants an associate degree after completion of a 21-month program and externship.

Although the curricula in these programs vary, students usually learn food preparation procedures through actual practice in working environments. Externships in nearby restaurants are often required. Attention is also given to financial, procedural, and social aspects of the foodservice industry, such as menu planning, cost control, purchasing, personnel management, sanitation, and waste management.


Mise en place (literally, "to put in place") is the foundation for many cooking techniques, from basic stocks to the most complex dishes. It means being prepared, having all the necessary ingredients and cooking utensils at hand and ready to use at the moment work on a dish begins. Students must master the basics of mise en place before they can progress to more complex tasks. For example, students need to know what different knives are for and how to use them. Students also must learn to create the classic seasoning combinations, such as mirepoix (usually, chopped onions, carrots, and celery) and marinades, and to cook flavorful stocks, the essential component of soups and stews. A primary culinary principle is followed throughout: Learn the basic techniques first; when properly understood, basic techniques are versatile enough to produce a variety of products.

The greatest test of a chef's skill is considered to be sauces. Mastery of the grand sauces, such as bechamel or hollandaise, and their variations, is a skill that develops throughout a chef's career. It requires a highly refined understanding of food, and marks a chef's unique signature in the culinary profession. Certification from the American Culinary Federation formally recognizes the skill levels of cook, working chef, executive chef, and master chef, as well as pastry professionals and culinary educators. (See Table 8-2.)


The menu is the operational plan a restaurant uses for meeting the needs and expectations of its guests. Although menu development is ideally part of initial concept planning and occurs before the restaurant is designed, changing the menu is an ongoing part of successful restaurant operations.

Menu selection in most quick-service establishments and in many mid-scale restaurants is often determined by the chain or the franchise regulations. Generally the white tablecloth restaurant has the greatest freedom in selecting food and beverages. Owners of independent operations, of course, can choose whatever they want to serve. However, success comes only when the menu selections satisfy restaurant patrons.

In cooperation with the chef, a restaurant owner usually develops a solid basic menu when opening the business. Adding items or changing the basic menu requires additional planning and consideration. The concept of the operation, the customers' wants and needs, the margin of profitability, and the staff and equipment that are available all influence menu planning and development.


To a great degree, an operation's concept determines what will be on the menu and what will not be on it. A French restaurant that serves pizza would be most unusual, as would a Chinese restaurant that offered enchiladas. When a restaurant does add selections to its menu that are not in keeping with its concept, its concept becomes diluted.


Within the constraints of an operation's concept, the customers' wants and expectations should govern menu planning and development. Consideration should be given to the food habits specific to the region or neighborhood where the restaurant is located. Also, the opinion of "regulars"--individuals who frequent the establishment--should be taken into account. While surveying customers about their wants and expectations often is not feasible, customers will express their views by what they select. Keeping a careful record of what customers order and analyzing those records to identify patterns can point out emerging trends. With these trends in mind, a chef can supplement the basic menu and offer new and exciting alternatives to customers. For example, recent years have witnessed a distinct trend toward healthful eating that lowers people's consumption of salty, fatty, or cholesterol-filled food--and a number of menus have been changed accordingly. Also, experimenting with a small number of new menu items may quickly tell the operation how to proceed.


The capabilities of the staff and the equipment affect what can be included on the menu. What employees know how to do needs to be considered in relation to the time, labor, and skills required at various stages of food preparation. Specific skills and experience are necessary for making complex or elaborate dishes. Many menu items cannot be prepared and stored ahead of time, while others require last-minute preparation just before service. This imposes certain responsibilities and limitations on employees at peak service times. Items that require lengthy, elaborate preparation or a high level of skill may have to be omitted from the menu.

The equipment available for storage and preparation also influences the type of menu that may be developed. The amount of equipment and the capacity of the equipment both affect the time and labor costs for menu items. Without the right kinds of equipment, some dishes cannot be prepared.


The general price range of the operation is inherent in its concept. A menu item that has to be sold at twice the cost of other entrees is a poor choice. Similarly, low-priced items may have low contribution margins, and their popularity may hurt the sales of higher-margin items. The contribution margin is the difference between what it costs to produce an item and the selling price of the item. The contribution margin represents money that is used to pay fixed expenses and taxes, leaving profits. The greater that the overall contribution margin is, the higher the profit potential is. A measure of success in menu development is how well it increases the overall contribution margin. A properly prepared menu will make the most efficient use of available resources and ensure maximum profitability.


The menu limitation concept has clear advantages. A restaurant does not need variety for variety's sake; in fact, too much variety is often a recipe for failure. Menu limitation provides a clear focus for the establishment, defining it in relation to its locale, its clientele, and its suppliers. A restaurant will be "positioned" in customers' minds for a specific taste, atmosphere, or style. (See Figure 8-1.) Menu limitation reduces inventory and space requirements, as well as capital expenditure for equipment. Furthermore, it significantly reduces spoilage. All of this leads to greater profits.


For many years foodservice operators controlled ingredient costs and set menu prices by using the "food cost percentage" of each menu item. The food cost percentage is the percentage of the selling price of an item that must be spent to purchase the raw ingredients. For example, a pizza might sell for $12. If the ingredients (dough, sauce, toppings) cost $3, then the food cost percentage for pizza is 25 percent. By setting the prices of all the menu items so that they average a target food cost percentage, an operation ensures having a sufficient contribution margin--the money remaining after the cost of the product has been subtracted--to cover payroll, rent, and other expenses.


Menu engineering, in contrast, takes a more sophisticated approach to setting prices and controlling costs. It operates on the principle that food cost percentage of each menu item is not as important as the total contribution margin of the menu as a whole. For example, using the traditional food cost percentage approach a restaurant manager might set the price of pizza at $12 to maintain a cost percentage of 25 percent. If, at $12, customers buy one hundred pizzas, the total contribution margin from pizza would be $900. Suppose, however, that if the price were lowered to $9, guests would buy two hundred pizzas. Although the food cost percentage rises to 33 percent, the operation nonetheless receives $1,200. Clearly the restaurant owner would prefer $1,200 in contribution margin over $900--even though the actual cost percentage for the pizza has risen 8 percent from 25 to 33 percent. Menu engineering applies this same logic to the entire menu mix, enabling the restauranteur to maximize contribution margin regardless of the actual food cost percentage. Through menu engineering, menu items that should be repositioned, dropped, repriced, or simply left alone are identified. Although menu engineering software packages are available, it also can easily be performed using a simple spreadsheet.

Computers are playing an increasingly important role in both large and small foodservice operations. Currently, they are used mainly for inventory, production, and cost control systems. They are being used increasingly for menu planning, nutritional analysis, personnel data systems, and employee or production scheduling. The computer's ability to store and organize large amounts of information and rapidly handle complex calculations has relieved management of countless repetitive, routine tasks.


The most important focus of the kitchen is, of course, the preparation of food items. The entire production cycle is built around the cumulative requirements of the menu.


Restaurants organize the recipes used for basic menu items and specialties in a recipe file. This file is a vital part of the food preparation process. Recipes for every menu item are recorded on a standard form, designated by a title and a category for easy organization, and a recipe number, which can be used for cross-referencing. Also included are serving standards (i.e., the size of the pan or the number of portions), expected yield, a complete list of ingredients, and the exact amount of ingredients required. Finally, the method of preparation is described in great detail. Even instructions for serving are sometimes added. (See Table 8-3.)

The standard recipe file is an important factor in menu planning, forecasting, and purchasing. It is a form of quality control, a way to guarantee a consistent, high quality item. Since anyone preparing any dish from the menu must consult the standard recipe file and follow the instructions to the letter, results should always be identical. Standardized recipes also act as a quality control by listing the expected number of portions, the exact amount of required ingredients, and the serving standards. This cuts down on overproduction and waste.


What menu items are going to be requested next week or next month, and how many will be sold? When should an order be placed with a supplier that will ensure a plentiful supply of fresh produce? What seasonal specialties are popular over the Christmas holidays? What long-term sales trends can be identified that will affect a reorganization of the restaurant staff? All foodservice operations must be prepared to answer these questions. Forecasting is the process of estimating future events, often combining intuition with formal statistical models. The reasonably accurate calculation and prediction of future needs is a major factor in the cost-effectiveness of a restaurant. It provides some idea of the expected results, as long as management makes no changes in operation.

Forecasting deals with the future, but relies on the past record of the restaurant's operation. A major assumption in forecasting is that some pattern exists that can be identified and used to prepare for future events. Therefore, well-kept records of sales and production are the base for forecasting. Three types of patterns in these data can emerge: trends or long-term projections, seasonal patterns, and cyclical patterns. While intuition does play an important part in forecasting, explicit models based on either qualitative or quantitative methods have been developed to assist in interpreting the data. These models vary in complexity, and the selection process will depend on the specific forecast need, the relevancy of the data to that need, the length of time into the future that the forecast will be made, and the cost of setting up the model.


Food items on the menu determine what raw ingredients need to be purchased, what qualities and quantities are necessary, and when they should be made available. The purchaser must buy the necessary goods in the right amount, at the right time, and at the right price. The abilities of the purchaser are a critical element of cost control. Purchasing personnel need a variety of skills and experience, including an awareness of the market and of market procedures, along with the ability to forecast needs and respond to fluctuating market conditions. In order to make good choices, the purchasers need a thorough knowledge of the items to be purchased and the way the items will be used. Purchasers must also know terminology, specifications, laws and regulations, and processing requirements for produce, and they must be able to assess produce quality. In addition, they must coordinate storeroom inventory to fit the schedules of the purchasing and receiving areas and the supplier. In short, these duties demand someone with overall experience in a foodservice operation.

In carrying out their jobs, purchasers rely on standard purchase specifications, or "specs"--standards of food quality established by the restaurant, custom-made for the facility, and documented in detail on food sample data sheets. Specs should be based on experience, tests, and objective measurements. Clear technical language describes each commodity and identifies its size, quality, and condition. Information should include the common, trade, or brand name of the product; the recognized trade, federal, or local grade; ranges in weight, thickness, or size; and the degree of maturity. In effect, specs are statements of management policy on the minimum requirements for purchasing. They communicate to the seller exactly what is needed and eliminate any misunderstanding in the process of food preparation.

Standard purchase specifications are also used to determine the quantity of produce to buy. Specs include information on the amounts to be purchased for specific food items, in commonly used units; the name and size of the basic container; and the count and size of units within this container. Excess purchased produce ties up money unnecessarily in inventory, and valuable storage space is taken up needlessly. Furthermore, the quality of perishable products quickly deteriorates. If too little produce is purchased, the restaurant faces repeated stockouts, emergency rush orders, loss of discounts for large purchase orders, and upset customers as well.

In selecting suppliers for the raw or processed ingredients, purchasers must take into account food quality, based on factors of adequate quantity, reasonable price, prompt delivery, and service. The quantity of each ingredient ordered is based on accurate forecasting from the menu, a factor of how many servings of each food item will be necessary for each meal over an exact period of time. However, purchasing decisions are based on more than just immediate menu needs. Other factors include the general inventory on hand, storage capacity, seasonal fluctuations in availability or cost of produce, and the type of market and its proximity. Often, supplier constraints such as minimum dollar or weight requirements or standard commercial units of packaging also must be considered.

Buying for small operations may be done through informal agreements that are fast, convenient, and require little paperwork. Large operations are more likely to use a formal method of "competitive buying," where written sets of specifications and requests for bids are sent to several possible vendors. Formal buying creates an "audit trail" of records and documents that traces the flow of goods through the operation. These records take the form of requisitions, inventories, purchase orders, and delivery systems. Many operations generate purchase orders from computerized systems linked to databases that contain ingredient specifications, recipe files, and inventory records.


The receiving department makes certain that the products delivered by the vendors are those that were ordered by the purchaser. Therefore, the purchasing and receiving departments must communicate clearly with each other and coordinate schedules. Receiving personnel need a keen awareness of the market and of product quality standards. They must know what produce has been ordered, when it is expected, and how it should be stored. And they must clearly understand receiving procedures and internal receiving records.

When a delivery arrives, receiving personnel check the incoming products against the in-house purchase order, delivery invoice, and standard produce specifications. Equipment such as scales, calculators, rulers, marking and tagging equipment, thermometers, tools, and transport devices like dollies and handtrucks are necessary. Produce should be marked and tagged with delivery date and price information as it is checked in; this information is essential to inventory control and stock rotation plans. Items must then be moved to storage immediately, and any additional documentation, such as daily receiving reports, are completed. If receiving is left to anyone who happens to be handy at the moment, produce of unsuitable quality or improper quantity might be accepted, inventory can be lost or poorly stored, and records may be incomplete or misplaced--all of which can hurt a foodservice operation financially.


All items, whether frozen, refrigerated, perishable, canned, or nonperishable, need to be properly stored in appropriate areas and issued in definite sequence. Storage areas must be clean, well ventilated, well insulated, and easily accessible from the receiving area and from the food preparation areas. Uniform stock rotation ensures that items previously purchased are used first. Careful storing and issuing procedures also protect against theft, spoilage, and waste. For this reason, a limited number of staff should have access to storage facilities.

Personnel should weigh out, measure, or count each item before distribution. A record of these transactions helps to maintain inventory control, showing the quantities available for use or that need to be ordered, the dollar value of the products used or on hand, the food cost incurred for menu items, and the food cost percentage. In large foodservice operations, requisition forms are also used to monitor and control the flow of inventory, giving an additional tool for checking expenses and analyzing sales.


Food items can often be cleaned, processed, mixed, seasoned, and otherwise worked with before the actual meal period begins. Pre-preparation ensures that a menu item can be readied for final service to a customer with as little labor as possible. Tasks might include cleaning, peeling, and chopping fresh vegetables; thawing frozen meat and trimming it; adding liquid to dehydrated items; simmering broth; or making salad dressing.



Final preparation is the point in the production cycle where heat is applied to food immediately prior to service. Food that needs cooking is brought from the pre-preparation area, made ready for final preparation, and placed in easy reach of the cooks. Typical final preparation processes include frying, sauteing, steaming, and charbroiling. During final preparation food is "plated" and garnished for service to the guest. Final preparation typically occurs in a dedicated work area. In most restaurants, this area is known as the "line," and is the area defined by an aisle with the chef's table on one side and the ranges, fryers, charbroilers, steamers, and similar equipment on the other side. A number of foodservice operations locate the final preparation area in a special area of the dining room so that the work of the chefs can be seen and the tantalizing smells of broiling meats increase the sensory enjoyment of the meal.


Chapter 7 describes the many forms of service that are used in foodservice operations, such as buffet, table, and counter service. Here it is important to note several trends in table service. Traditionally, servers were expected to take guests' orders, deliver them to the kitchen and, when the food had been prepared by the chefs, bring the food from the kitchen to the guests' tables. This system continues in many table service restaurants. However, technological developments have made it possible to change this system and thus overcome two of its greatest weaknesses. First, when servers are in the kitchen placing orders, checking the progress of the food, or picking up the plates, they cannot be in the dining room attending to the immediate needs of the guests. Second, it is possible for servers to collude with the cooks to feed guests for free.

New technology replaces the traditional servers book of guest checks with a few point-of-sale terminals located strategically in the dining room and a monitor and printer at the various stations in the kitchen. Servers enter the guests' orders into the point-of-sale terminals that then appear on the monitors above the cooking line or emerge from printers on the chef's table. When the food is ready, a "runner" delivers the food from the kitchen to the guests' table. When the guests have finished their meals, the server obtains a check from the point-of-sale terminal, presents it to the guests, receives payment, and rings it into the terminal. Some systems even use hand-held transmitters to send the guests' orders directly from the table. At no point in the process does the server need to leave the dining room, hence improving the quality and immediacy of guest service. Because the servers never communicate directly with the cooks, they cannot collude to provide free meals to friends.

Chain dinnerhouses and multiunit restaurants have been the first to adopt new technologies in table service, perhaps in part because these systems are often bundled with management software that permits the corporate office to obtain up-to-the-minute operating data.

Although quick-service restaurants rarely offer table service, that segment of the market also has been pursuing new technologies in customer service. For example, several have experimented with automated order-taking systems that could eventually supplant or replace service from counterpersons.


Although cleanup and warehousing do not involve food per se, they are important parts of the production cycle. Cleanup includes bussing dishes and silverware to the dishroom, while warewashing consists of scrapping, cleaning, and sanitizing. Cleanup and warewashing involve the pots, pans, and utensils used in food preparation, as well as cleaning and sanitizing of the kitchen and equipment.

Cleanup and warewashing are parts of the production cycle that will become increasingly important in the twenty-first century. Concerns about the environmental impact of foodservice will focus on these processes. Increasing landfill costs will drive more and more operations to use pulpers and shredders to reduce the volume of waste leaving the kitchen. A continuing tight labor market, particularly for less desirable positions like potwashing or dishwashing, will encourage equipment manufacturers to increase the automation in dishwashing and potwashing processes. Increasing concerns for food safety will encourage foodservice operators to incorporate power wash and sanitizing systems in new and remodeled kitchens.


As public businesses, all foodservice operations must keep up on issues of concern to customers. Four issues that affect foodservice are access for the physically challenged, food safety, the environment, and food-labeling laws.


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to the restaurant industry, just as it does to lodging. All new restaurants and foodservice facilities must comply with ADA guidelines when designing and building new structures. Older structures must be modified to meet the regulations, wherever "readily achievable," unless it creates an "undue burden." In terms of actual restaurant layout and design, numerous modifications can make restaurant access more comfortable for individuals in wheelchairs. Some important modifications include:

* at least 5 percent of parking lot spaces should be accessible, with an 8-foot parking space and a 5-foot aisle;

* a ramp with a slope of no more than 1:12, should lead to the front door;

* entry doors should provide 32 inches of clearance;

* fire exits should be accessible;

* paths through dining areas, and at least one leading to the restrooms, should be at least 36 inches wide;

* at least 5 percent of a restaurant's tables should be wheelchair-accessible, with leg space that is 27 inches high, 30 inches wide, and 19 inches deep;

* self-service areas should be within reach of someone seated in a wheelchair--not higher than 36 inches from the floor; and

* wheelchair-accessible restrooms should be available. (7)

The ADA requires that restaurants be accessible to individuals with any disability, including those with visual, hearing, mental, or psychological impairments. For example, a restaurant can provide appropriate service to a visually impaired guest by providing menus in Braille or offering to read menus and item prices. However, some, such as the restaurants at the Lake Buena Vista Embassy Suites Resort in Florida, offer a cassette tape of the menu. Several quick-service chains have developed Braille menus for the visually impaired as well as picture menus for those who are nonreaders or non-English speakers.

The ADA applies to employee hiring as well as public access. The guidelines for hiring the disabled that were discussed in Chapter 6 are equally applicable to foodservice. As Steve Zivolich, founder of a consulting firm dedicated to including people with disabilities, states, "Complying with the employment portions of ADA generally is not that difficult. And it will lead some operators to find fantastic employees who happen to be disabled." (8)


Food safety is a core part of any foodservice business. It is a health issue with life or death implications, as more than 9,000 people die each year of food poisoning in the United States alone. Most victims are the sickly, the very young, and the very old. In addition, food safety is an economic issue of consequence. A single incident of food poisoning can damage a restaurant's image for years and cost the owners thousands of dollars in the settlement of lawsuits.

Some foods more than others are excellent hosts to disease agents that cause food poisoning. Seafood, eggs, cooked pasta or rice, soups, meats, and poultry are common culprits. Chicken, for example, frequently harbors salmonella bacteria (as do turkey, beef, and eggs, fish, and milk) and campylobacter bacteria (also found in cheese, shellfish, and raw milk). Pork can cause trichinosis by way of the trichina worm. Beef provides especially fertile ground for the growth of E. coli bacteria, responsible for numerous recent outbreaks of food poisoning. A new and rather nasty strain of E. coli, discovered about a dozen years ago, has been found in meat, poultry, mayonnaise, potatoes, and apple cider as well.

Food safety can never be assured totally, but the risk of food poisoning can be greatly reduced by: practicing cleanliness in the workplace as well as personal cleanliness; preventing contamination; thawing and cooking food safely; and handling cooked food safely.

PRACTICING CLEANLINESS IN THE WORKPLACE AND PERSONAL CLEANLINESS. Cleanliness in the workplace means a sanitary workplace--one that discourages food-borne disease. Personal cleanliness refers to workers who follow stringent hygiene practices to discourage food contamination. Workplace cleanliness and personal cleanliness go hand in hand to form the first line of defense in combating food poisoning.

Key elements to remember in maintaining a sanitary workplace include: cleaning and sanitizing all utensils, equipment, and work surfaces each time they are been used; taking equipment apart to clean it thoroughly; using leak-proof containers, with tight-fitting lids, for trash; and frequently removing trash from the food area and keeping trash cans in an area separate from the food area.

Even before a foodservice facility opens for business, measures are taken to foster a sanitary workplace. Plans for building or remodeling must be reviewed by the health department to ensure that all aspects of the facility promote safe food preparation. For example, health codes typically require:

* surfaces (walls, floors, ceilings) made of durable materials that are easily cleaned and sanitized;

* proper ventilation of grease-laden vapors over cooking equipment; * hot water or chemical sanitizing in potsinks and dishmachines;

* air gaps in drains connected to ice machines, serving wells, and display units to prevent sewage from backing up into food;

* hand sinks at various locations;

* adequate lighting;

* access for cleaning under counters.

Key elements to remember in maintaining personal cleanliness include a variety of practices. Employees should wash their hands thoroughly and frequently--especially after touching body parts such as the mouth or nose, after touching food, or when switching from one job function to another. Also, employees need to wear aprons and change them when they get dirty. Additionally, wearing hair nets or hats, keeping fingernails short and scrubbed, and not handling food when sick are three other important personal cleanliness habits for employees.

The Culinary Institute of America claims that poor personal hygiene causes more than 90 percent of the sanitation problems in the foodservice industry; poor handwashing alone accounts for more than 25 percent of all food-borne illnesses. (9)

PREVENTING CONTAMINATION. A sanitary kitchen and hygienic workers both are parts of the process of preventing contamination. The food itself needs to be stored, prepared, and handled properly.

The refrigerator should be organized so that foods that do not have to be cooked occupy the higher shelves, and meat and other raw foods are placed on lower shelves. That arrangement helps to prevent contamination, which might occur, for example, if meat juice were to drip on, say, cucumber wedges. Providing separate workstations for raw and cooked foods is another preventive measure. Using tongs and wearing gloves when handling food both reduce the risk of contamination--as long as the tongs are sanitized and the gloves are changed after each task. Finally, installing special hand-washing sinks in the foodservice area is a must since hands should never be cleaned in a sink where food is prepared.

THAWING AND COOKING FOOD SAFELY. The critical element in preparing food safely is the temperature of the food. Harmful bacteria and other organisms flourish in temperatures between 40[degrees] and 140[degrees] Fahrenheit (this temperature range is frequently referred to as the danger zone). This means that the shorter the time that food stands at those temperatures, the safer it will be. For example, the need to keep food at a safe temperature dictates how to thaw it. The best way to thaw food is to take it from the freezer and put it directly in the refrigerator. This is the safest method because no part of the food will exceed 40[degrees] as it is thawing. Since this is a slow process, food that has to be thawed quickly can be put in a waterproof plastic bag and either kept under running water or immersed in cold water in a sink. When the latter is the case, the water needs to be changed about every 20 minutes.

Cooking food to a temperature above 140[degrees] Fahrenheit kills most harmful disease agents. It is imperative that the entire food item reaches at least 140[degrees]. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends higher temperatures for meat and fish. (See Table 8-4.) The only way to know whether the food reaches the desired temperature is to test it with a special thermometer called a chef's thermometer. The chef's thermometer, which looks like a huge tack, can pierce to the center of the food to sample the temperature at the innermost part. This thermometer needs to be cleaned and sanitized after every use.

Serving food as soon as possible after it is cooked helps to reduce the chances of food poisoning by reducing the time the food will be in the danger zone. Another benefit is satisfied customers--people like their food to be hot and freshly cooked.

HANDLING COOKED FOOD SAFELY. Bacteria thrive on cooked food that either has not been refrigerated soon enough or not cooled or reheated properly. Cooked food needs to be refrigerated as soon as possible. If left at room temperature for more than two hours, it should be thrown away.

One of the primary causes of foodborne illness is improper cooling of foods. Commercial and on-site foodservice operations frequently prepare foods in bulk for later use, such as soups, sauces, roasts, and other products. When food products are cooked in bulk and then placed in a walk-in refrigerator to cool, the outside of the product cools much more rapidly than the inside. A large roast, such as a steamship round of beef, can take as long as seventeen hours at 40[degrees] Fahrenheit in a walk-in cooler for the temperature at the center to fall out of the danger zone. That is more than enough time for bacteria to multiply. If the steamship round were removed from the walk-in cooler and sliced to make cold sandwiches, both the sandwiches and the slicer would be dangerously contaminated. (10)

Foodborne illness due to improper cooling can be prevented in several ways. Roasts and similar solid products should be sliced into smaller pieces so that the cooling process occurs more rapidly. Soups, stocks, and sauces can be chilled by specialized "bottles" that are placed cold directly into the pot with the product. However, the safest technique is to purchase a blast chiller--a refrigerator specifically designed to reduce product temperature quickly and safely--and to use it strictly according to the manufacturer's instructions.

HACCP. The acronym for Hazard Analysis--Critical Control Points is HACCP, and is a systematic technique for reducing the possibility of foodborne illness. Originally developed to protect astronauts from foodborne illness while in space, HACCP involves four basic steps. First, the flow of food through a processing or production system is studied to determine those points where contamination and/or the growth of dangerous microorganisms potentially could occur. Such points in the process are called "critical control points." Because contamination is frequently caused by improper handling (e.g., cross-contamination due to unsanitary work surfaces or lack of handwashing), it is somewhat easier to observe and correct. However, even if food is properly handled, dangerous microorganisms introduced into the product during processing or transportation can multiply if the temperature of the food is allowed to rise (or fall) into the danger zone. Thus the primary focus in identifying critical control points is on evaluating whether and, if so, how long food remains in the danger zone (40[degrees]-140[degrees] Fahrenheit). Second, the production processes are redesigned to prevent contamination and to limit the time food spends in the danger zone. Work processes may be changed and refrigeration equipment may be added or upgraded to maintain product temperatures below the danger zone. The third step involves continuous monitoring of food handling and temperature at each of the critical control points in the production process. For example, blast chillers used in health care foodservice to ensure safe cooling of foods use probes to check internal product temperature. The probes are linked to computers, so there is a continuous record of the time required to bring food out of the danger zone. The fourth step in HACCP involves remedial action to resolve problems discovered through monitoring. For example, if monitoring shows that large pots of stock are not cooling rapidly enough, smaller batches or containers that disperse heat more rapidly may be necessary.

The U.S. government recently mandated the use of HACCP in seafood processing plants. In addition, in some states regulation requires health care facilities to employ some of the HACCP principles and processes in their foodservice operations. Inasmuch as restaurants and other foodservice operations increasingly use convenience (preprocessed) foods, HACCP will undoubtedly have a significant impact in years to come.


Consumers have become more and more concerned with a variety of environmental issues over the past few decades. Businesses have responded slowly, in a movement that has been dubbed the "greening of American business." American businesses now use this wave of environmental concern in their marketing strategies. For a new generation of environmentally conscious customers, companies that tout environmentally sound products and services stand to increase their market share.

RECYCLE. Environmental decisions are not always clear-cut. The choice between using disposable paper or polystyrene packaging is not as easy as some think. Polystyrene, used to form coffee cups and "clam-shell" sandwich boxes, does not degrade in landfills, but then neither does paper. The typical landfill does not allow sufficient air and light to reach the paper to enable it to degrade. Polystyrene is recyclable. So are paper food wrappers. Still, many restaurants have chosen to switch from polystyrene to paper whenever possible. Restaurants continually search for ways to efficiently recycle their waste products.

Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), and McDonald's have all tested composting programs that allow used paper, food scraps, and other organic wastes to break down naturally. This compost can then be used for soil enhancement. KFC, for instance, found that up to 80 percent of its waste could be composted. (11)

The most widely recycled item by foodservice operations is corrugated cardboard. Many restaurants recycle hundreds of pounds of corrugated cardboard each month. Red Lobster, Jack in the Box, McDonald's, and Burger King all recycle used fryer oil. This oil is refined and reused in products such as pet food and cosmetics. Recycling of aluminum, plastic, glass, and tin is more common in back-of-the-house operations than with restaurant customers themselves.

REDUCE. Restaurants work hard to reduce the amount of waste they generate. Dominos redesigned its pizza box from a square to an octagon to reduce cardboard use by 10 percent. McDonald's switched to smaller paper napkins. Refillable mugs have been successfully introduced by many restaurants and institutional foodservice operations to replace disposables. And many restaurants have gone back to using cloth tablecloths, napkins, and dish towels to reduce waste. Of course, water used for washing increases dramatically when these items are used. Food suppliers also work to reduce waste by using more efficient product packaging. One manufacturer switched from cans to plastic film pouches for its product, eliminating the use of thousands of cans each day. (12)

REUSE. Restaurants and their suppliers work cooperatively to find ways to reuse packing materials. International Dairy Queen and its waffle cone supplier reuse the packaging that protects the delicate waffle cone in transit. Some restaurants offer their customers a small discount if they return a package or box to reuse on their take-out order.


In 1990 Congress passed the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act which requires food processors to provide consumers with complete nutritional information on their products. The act also established definitions and guidelines for the use of health claims such as "light," "low fat," "low sodium," "high fiber," and "fresh." The section of the law that requires complete nutritional analyses does not apply to the restaurant industry or its menus, except when a restaurant retails a particular product, such as its salad dressing or barbecue sauce.


* Every great civilization had its cooks, and as one civilization succeeded another, culinary knowledge and achievements were absorbed and passed on.

* Restaurants, once known as "restorative" bouillions, now apply to places where meals are served.

* The brigade system for kitchen- and dining-room delegated duties increased productiveness and still influences the large modern kitchen and the dining room.

* Mise en place is the state of being prepared for cooking and is the foundation of many cooking techniques.

* Menu planning and development involves the concept, knowing customers' wants and expectations, employing good staff and equipment, and correctly gauging the margin of profitability.

* The production cycle is the step-by-step process of taking food from its purchase and storage, through pre-preparation, final preparation, service, cleanup, and waste management. The segments of this process are interconnected and interdependent.

* Social and cultural issues that concern foodservice operations include equal access to persons who are physically challenged, food safety, the environment, and food-labeling laws.

Check Your Knowledge

1. What changes did the decision that supported Boulanger's right to serve stew in his establishment bring about?

2. What does mise en place mean?

3. How do employees influence what will be offered on the menu?

4. What is the advantage of using a standard recipe?

5. Identify and explain three ways that restaurants can help the environment.

Apply Your Skills

Table 8-5 on page 278 is a simplified version of what a computer might print out in performing a menu engineering task. Use it to answer the questions that follow.

1. What item is the most popular?

2. What is the contribution margin for New York strip steak?

3. What is the percentage of total menu sales for lobster tails?

4. What is the menu CM for chicken dinner?

5. Which item would you most likely replace? Why?

Internet Exercises

1. Visit the websites of three major, multi-unit foodservice firms. At each site, look for information that describes how the firm is supporting the community or society through special programs or support for charities. Answer the following questions for each firm:

a. Is the firm's community involvement or charitable support related to the interests of its primary market segments?

b. How do you think the firm's customers feel about the support it provides to the community?

2. Using Internet search engines, locate the websites for three celebrity chefs and/or their restaurants. Compare and contrast the three in terms of how effectively the culinary artistry of each chef is presented.

3. Imagine that you manage a large on-site foodservice operation and have been asked to design and develop a food safety training program for your employees. Using Internet search engines, locate information on training materials and programs regarding the use of HACCP in foodservice operations. What materials and/or programs might you select for use in your training program?

4. Visit the website for the American Culinary Federation. Review the requirements for professional certification, and select a level that fits your goals. Develop a written plan of what you would need to do to achieve certification at that level.

What Do You Think?

1. Is there a distinctive American culinary tradition? If so, describe some of its characteristics.

2. Customers at your restaurant have repeatedly asked you to offer a new item on your menu that has become trendy at other eating establishments. However, you are satisfied with your menu selection as it stands, and the new item does not seem to fit the character of your restaurant. How would you respond?

3. A food item featured at your restaurant is now available in frozen, preprocessed form. The quality seems good and you are interested because it would eliminate the need for several raw, perishable ingredients, If you decide to start using the new product, what would be the effect on the purchasing and receiving departments?

4. At a time when airlines and other businesses have been deregulated, should regulations regarding equal access to restaurants be relaxed? Why or why not?

5. Smoking in restaurants has become a hot social issue in your town. A group of citizens has petitioned the town council to ban it. As the owner of a popular, white-tablecloth restaurant--where about a third of your customers smoke--you have been asked by the town manager to voice your opinion on the ban. What would you say?

Case Study

You own an established, upscale restaurant in the downtown of a midsize American city. Because business has been good in the past, you've had little reason to change your operation or tamper with your menu, which features a selection of classic American dishes. Recently, however, the character of the downtown has changed, becoming less commercial and more service-oriented. Some stores are closing or relocating, while a new state office building and a major banking institution have opened. The clientele now seems different. Also, new restaurants opening nearby are giving you strong competition.

1. What is your first course of action to meet these changes?

2. How might you attract new customers to your establishment?


Food Sculpting


Dine out at any Hunan-style restaurant and it is easy to get caught up in the delicate mix of flavors, all the while taking the presentation for granted. But presentation is very important in traditional Chinese cooking. Those little radish blooms and other vegetable blossoms are more than just pretty garnishes; they're part of Asian culture and tradition. Such presentation is not usually used for family, but instead is reserved for important and special occasions such as holidays and New Year's celebrations.

Such a craft is not limited to China and Japan. In fact, the elaborate carvings for vegetables and fruits take "root" in the ancient Thai art known as kaesalak. Kaesalak is a tradition that goes back to the time when Thai girls were sent to the royal palace to learn the painstaking art. (1) Onions, radishes, turnips, pineapples, cucumbers, and even watermelon are delicately carved into elaborate creations.

Instructions can take thirty hours or more under the teaching of great chefs, such as those at the Thai Temple in North Hollywood. Kaesalak represents the state of the art in patience: wielding sharp knives that cut--yet don't bruise--the fruits and vegetables as they take shape as flowers and animals.

(1.) Dolores Long, "Vicki Thapthimthong, She Slices, She Dices ...," Los Angeles Magazine, (April 1988): 18.


Chef Supreme

Auguste Escoffier, who as a young boy yearned to be a sculptor, became one of the world's most famous chefs. He elevated the prestige of French cooking and restored dignity to the title of chef.


In 1860, Escoffier got his first taste of the restaurant business when, at the age of 12, he worked as a cook in his uncle's eatery, Le Restaurant Francais, in Nice, France. Though pushed into the restaurant business by his father and grandfather, Escoffier decided that if his destiny in life was to be a cook, he would make it his mission to restore honor to the title. At that time, in contrast to just a generation or so earlier, restaurant cooks were not held in high regard.

Early--and briefly--in his career, Escoffier emulated the eighteenth-century's most illustrious chef, Marie-Antoine Careme. Soon thereafter, he took on the task of modernizing and simplifying that Careme-style of cuisine. Careme had been a master chef, but his elaborate style created problems for guests: hot food was rarely hot, and his towering creations were nearly impossible for most guests to reach. Escoffier soon changed all that. Reflecting the talent he had for cooking and the gift he had for organization, he felt that cuisine could still be artistically inspired yet executed scientifically. He created simple yet elegant dishes and served them with exquisite timing to maintain proper food temperature. It was after 1883, when Escoffier met Cesar Ritz (of Ritz Hotel fame), that his talent for organizing led him to develop the kitchen brigade, a system of organizing the restaurant kitchen that some restaurants still follow today.

As a duo, Escoffier and Ritz worked beautifully. For example, faced with an English-speaking clientele in Monte Carlo (where Escoffier frequently worked in the summers in the 1890s--his wife and three children lived there), Escoffier and Ritz developed a new menu concept, prix fixe, for parties of four or more. With prix fixe, a waiter simply informed the chef of the host's name and the number of guests in the party. Escoffier then chose a selection of menu items that he felt complimented the party's tastes. A special record book kept track of the menu so that returning guests could be treated to a new selection of entrees, unless otherwise requested. This system was successful not only in Monte Carlo, but in England as well.

As chef at the Savoy Hotel and then the Carlton (both in London), Escoffier created many new dishes: among the most famous, peach melba, named in honor of the Australian opera star Nellie Melba, who stayed at the Savoy: and among the most interesting, Jeanette, a stuffed chicken breast served atop a carved ice ship, to commemorate the ship Jeanette that had an unfortunate and fateful run-in with an iceberg.

Escoffier was awarded the French Legion of Honor in 1920, and was honored as an officer of the Legion in 1928. Escoffier retired in his mid-70s, although he remained very active. He died in Monte Carlo in 1935.

In celebration of Escoffier's life's work, the Musee de l'Art Culinaire (the Museum of Culinary Arts) was founded in 1966 by some of the chefs who studied under Escoffier. The museum occupies the house where Escoffier was born, in the little town of Villenueve-Loubet. It has a wonderful library, mementos that belonged to Escoffier and other famous chefs, and a room filled just with Escoffier's menus--a fitting tribute to a man who did much to further the art of French cuisine.


From the French word sous (pronounced "sue"), which means "under," the position of sous chef is a literal translation--the chef under the executive chef. (1) This means the sous chef is second in charge in the kitchen. And if the executive chef is absent, the sous chef takes full charge.

Although the responsibilities (and sometimes the job title) vary, the sous chef is most generally in charge of food production and the management of individual meal functions or banquets. In the industry the sous chef is said to oversee the "plating up" of these functions. This means that the sous chef directs the meal service or plate setup that the executive chef has planned.

In essence, it is the sous chef's job to:

* forecast the day's menu--determining about how much of each menu item will be needed and approximately when things will be needed;


* post the day's forecast so that all the kitchen staff can read it;

* oversee the production for service at each station to ensure that all of the ingredients, utensils, and pots and pans that are needed to cook a specific menu item are ready to use (mise en place);

* ensure that the kitchen staff meet standards of quality;

* check to make sure that the kitchen staff follows all rules and regulations;

* make sure that the kitchen staff prepares the correct portion sizes;

* ensure that the kitchen staff follow sanitation and nutrition guidelines;

* direct the preparation and production of all the food. Like many others who work in the foodservice industry, a sous chef has to be both mentally and physically fit. The sous chef should:

* have good organization skills;

* be able to communicate well with the kitchen staff, the wait staff, and guests;

* be diplomatic but direct in giving orders;

* read well enough to understand recipes and instructions; write clearly;

* be familiar with culinary terms and the different kinds of cooking utensils;

* be capable of standing and walking around the kitchen for up to four hours at a time.

To become a sous chef, a person needs at least three years experience working at food preparation. It is also extremely helpful to have a degree from a postsecondary culinary arts program.

(1) Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary (Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 1987), 1128.


Chef's Uniform


If asked to describe a chef, most people probably would describe a person wearing a tall white hat and carrying a large kitchen knife. Indeed, the traditional chef's uniform is topped by a tall, white, pleated hat--the toque blanche. The traditional chef's hat, or baker's cap as it is also called, contained 100 pleats. Although the significance of the 100 pleats is not known for certain, some stories report that each pleat represents one of the 100 egg dishes a chef can create.

The black and white checkered pants that most chefs wear make cooking spots and splatters less noticeable. The double-breasted white jacket provides an extra layer of material that helps protect against burns or scalding by hot liquids on the stove. In addition, if the chef has to make a "clean appearance" in a hurry, the jacket can be buttoned from the opposite direction, thus hiding some of the inevitable spotting and soiling frequently encountered by a busy chef.

Once intended to absorb perspiration from the face and neck, the neck scarf now serves as the finishing touch to the uniform. The large, white apron provides additional protection against soiling as well as protection from scalds and splatters.


Menu Design

Serving up food via a menu is a complicated task involving more than making a price list, says menu consultant Gregg Rapp. Rapp, founder of Seattle's Menu Workshop, contends that highlighting a restaurant's most profitable appetizers, entrees, and desserts is the key to successful menu design. (1)

Since the menu is what sells the food to diners, it should be used as an attractive and appealing marketing tool. Graphics and mouth-watering copy can help sell high-profit items. Placement of menu items is also an important consideration. Research shows that diners tend to look to the upper right of a two-panel menu or to the top of a single-panel menu. By designing the menu with this in mind, a restauranteur can spotlight selected menu items--and increase profitability.

In addition, customers will approach their selections in much the same way as the menu is designed--by price or by food. Careful consideration of menu design can turn a price list into an innovative marketing tool.

(1) Frances Huffman, "Food For Thought," Entrepreneur (August 1993): 120.


(1) K.C. Chang, ed., Food in Chinese Culture: Anthropological and Historical Perspectives (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1977), 11-12.

(2) Chang, Food in Chinese Culture, 158-162 and 305.

(3) "Restaurant," Larousse Gastronomique, ed. Jennifer Harvey Lang (New York: Crown Publishers, 1988); Jean-Francois Revel, Culture and Cuisine: A Journey Through the History of Food, trans. Helen R. Lane (Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, 1982), 206-207.

(4) Jay Jacobs, Gastronomy (New York: Newsweek Books, 1975), 116.

(5) Jacobs, Gastronomy, 107.

(6) The Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education, A Guide to College Programs in Hospitality & Tourism, 1991-1992 (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1991).

(7) Adapted from Jeff Weinstein, "The Accessible Restaurant, Part I," Restaurants & Institutions (8 April 1992): 96-117.

(8) Beth Lorenzini, "The Accessible Restaurant, Part II," Restaurants & Institutions (20 May 1992): 154.

(9) Michael Doom, Fighting Back: How to Protect Yourself Against the "Food Bug" and Report Food Poisoning Hazards (Los Angeles: M&C Publishing, 1992).

(10) Ray Sparrowe and Marsha Leister, Food Safety Is No Mystery, Trainers Manual (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Agriculture, August 1987).

(11) Brian Quinton and Jeff Weinstein, "Who's Leading the Green Revolution?", Restaurants & Institutions (27 November 1991): 32-54.

(12) Melissa Larson, "Innovative Containers Give Foodservice a Boost," Packaging (March 1993): 29.
TABLE 8-1 Kitchen brigade system

   Sous Chef
        Chefs de Partie:
              * Saucier (Saute Chef)
              * Poissonier (Fish Chef)
              * Grillardin (Grill Chef)
              * Friturier (Fry Chef)
              * Rotisseur (Roast Chef)
              * Entremetier (Vegetable Chef)
              * Potager (Soup Chef)
              * Garde Manger (Pantry Chef)
              * Legumier (Vegetable Chef)
              * Patissier (Pastry Chef)
              * Tournant (Swing Chef-works in the kitchen where
              * Boucher (Butcher)

TABLE 8-2 Certification requirements

Certification Level                        Education       Experience

Certified Cook (CC)                        20 Points       20 Points
Certified Pastry Chef (CPQ                 20 Points       20 Points
Certified Sous Chef (CSC)                  25 Points       12S, 18G *
Certified Working Pastry Chef (CWPC)       25 Points       12S, 18G *
Certified Chef de Cuisine (CCC)            30 Points       20S, 18G *
Certified Executive Chef (CEC)             35 Points       35S, 18G *
Certified Executive Pastry Chef (CEPC)     35 Points       35S, 18G *
Certified Culinary Educator (CCE)          55 Points       12S, 30G *
Certified Master Chef (CMC)/
  Certified Master Pastry Chef (CMPC)

                                           Association        Total
Certification Level                          Activity         Points

Certified Cook (CC)                         4 Points        44 Points
Certified Pastry Chef (CPQ                  4 Points        44 Points
Certified Sous Chef (CSC)                   5 Points        60 Points
Certified Working Pastry Chef (CWPC)        5 Points        60 Points
Certified Chef de Cuisine (CCC)             5 Points        85 Points
Certified Executive Chef (CEC)             10 Points       110 Points
Certified Executive Pastry Chef (CEPC)     10 Points       110 Points
Certified Culinary Educator (CCE)          10 Points       110 Points
Certified Master Chef (CMC)/
  Certified Master Pastry Chef (CMPC)

Certification Level                        Requirements

Certified Cook (CC)                        Key-A, B
Certified Pastry Chef (CPQ                 Key-A, B
Certified Sous Chef (CSC)                  Key-B, E
Certified Working Pastry Chef (CWPC)       Key-B, E
Certified Chef de Cuisine (CCC)            Key-B, E
Certified Executive Chef (CEC)             Key-B, E
Certified Executive Pastry Chef (CEPC)     Key- B, E
Certified Culinary Educator (CCE)          Key-B, C, E
Certified Master Chef (CMC)/               Key-D
  Certified Master Pastry Chef (CMPC)

* These levels have experience requirements specific to the level
(marked S) and other experience requirements at any level (marked G).
The combination of these two levels (S and G) make up the total
points required.


Key A  Cook or Pastry Cook certification must include successful
       completion of one of the following: (1) American Culinary
       Federation Educational Institute (ACFEI) apprenticeship
       program, (2) culinary trade school plus industry experience
       totaling three years, (3) ACFEI written certification test
       plus three years' industry experience.
Key B  Successful completion of nutrition, sanitation, and supervisory
       development courses is required. These three courses must be at
       least thirty clock hours or two college credit hours in length.
Key C  Certified Culinary Educators have special requirements. They
       must be certifiable as a CSC or CWPC. They must have at least
       1,000 contact hours of student instruction in an accredited
       school. They must complete 90 contact hours of professional
       development courses that include a minimum of 8 hours in each
       of the following areas: educational psychology, evaluation and
       testing, teaching methods, curriculum planning and organization.
Key D  Certification as a Master Chef or Master Pastry Chef is
       recognition of the highest degree of professional knowledge and
       skill. Certification at this level requires a theoretical and
       practical examination of both knowledge and skills. Applications
       and information are available to those already certified at the
       executive chef or executive pastry chef level.
Key E  Successful completion of the ACFEI certification written test is
       mandatory for initial application and upgrade from one level to



College degree                                  15
High school or GED                              10
High school vocational foodservice
  program (per year)                             5
One-year culinary trade school                   7
Two-year culinary trade school                  13
ACFEI certification written test                 5
Three-year apprenticeship                       13
Courses in nutrition, sanitation, and
  supervisory development                   5 each
  (must be 30 hours)
Classes in food technology or specialized
  skills (30 hours)                              5
Lecturer at accredited institution               5
  (3 lectures per year)
Culinary educator (per year) full time           5

SOURCE: The National Certification for Chefs and Cooks (St.
Augustine, Florida: American Culinary Federation Educational
Institute, n.d.), side 1.

TABLE 8-3 Sample recipe file

NAME:     Ranch House Chili                 FILE # 37

YIELD:    32 Portions             PORTION SIZE: 1 X 8 oz.Bowl


Bacon, diced          5 oz.    8 strips  1. Cook bacon.           .75
                                         2. Remove bacon.
                                            Save drippings.
Stewing Beef,         4 lbs.   --        3. Brown meats in       8.12
lean, cut in 1/2                            drippings.
inch cubes.
Pork Shoulder,        4 lbs.                                     7.01
boneless, lean, cut
in 1/2inch cubes.
Onion, dry, sliced    --       1/2 cup   4. Combine meats         .21
Garlic, dry, minced   --       1 tsp.       with all              .09
Oregano, dry          --       1 tbsp.      ingredients.          .10
Salt, table           --       4 tsp.       Bring to a boil.      .12
Cumin, ground         --       2 tsp.       Simmer under lid      .19
Coriander, ground     --       2 tsp.       for 1 1/2hours        .22
Chiles; green,        27 oz.   2 cans       or until meat is    12.00
  diced                                     tender.
Beef broth            --       3 cups                            1.02
Cooking burgundy      --       3 cups    5. Recipe complete.     5.17
Chile Salsa, green    28 oz.   2 cans                            7.00
Tomato sauce          2 lbs.   1 qt.                             3.77
Celery, sliced        17 oz.   1 qt.                             1.42

GARNISH     3 oz. shredded     MASTER BATCH RECIPE COST         47.19
or          Jack cheese @      / 32 PORTIONS = PORTION COST      1.47
CONDIMENT   .09 per oz.        + CONDIMENT OR GARNISH COST        .27

UTENSILS    Round Soup         TOTAL PORTION COST                1.74

PLATING     White soup bowl
            holding 8 oz.      DATE OF LAST COSTING
            portion, with
            salad plate as an
            underliner.        October 13, 20--

SOURCE: Richard Ware and James Rudnick,  The Restaurant Book
(New York: Facts on File, 1989), 136.

TABLE 8-4 A sample of minimum internal temperatures recommended
by the U.S. Department of Agriculture *

Food                    Temperature
Ground Beef:
  Medium               160[degrees]F
  Well Done            170[degrees]F
Other Beef,
(Steaks, Roasts
and so on)
  Rare **              145[degrees]F
  Medium               160[degrees]F
  Well Done            170[degrees]F

Fresh Pork:
  Medium               160[degrees]F
  Well Done            170[degrees]F
Chicken                180[degrees]F
Turkey                 180[degrees]F
Finfish ***            140[degrees]F
Shellfish              160[degrees]F

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Agriculture,

* Just a reminder: These aren't the temperatures used to cook the
foods. They are the temperatures the foods should reach--and register
on a thermometer--to be safe to eat.

** In 1993, the FDA added this recommendation; so it's now safe to
have a rare steak, but still not safe to have a rare hamburger.

*** Fish is so thin that a chef's thermometer would simply not be
useful to measure the temperature.

TABLE 8-5 Margin of profitability

                                         Menu   Food          Menu
Menu   Item                   MM   MM%   Price  Cost    CM     CM

1      Chicken Dinner         420   42%  $4.50  $1.50  $3.00  $
2      New York Strip Steak   360   36%   7.00   3.00         1,440
3      Lobster Tails          150         9.00   4.50   4.50    675
4      Sirloin Tips            70    7%   5.50   3.00   2.50    175
TOTAL                        1000  100%                       3,550

MM       Menu mix; the number of items sold

MM%      Percentage of total menu sales contributed by each item

CM       Contribution margin; determined by subtracting food cost from
         menu price for each item

Menu CM  Actual profit generated by each menu item (Menu CM = CM x MM)

Source: Adapted from Michael L. Kasavana, Computer Systems for
Foodservice Operations (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1984),
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Part 3 FOODSERVICE
Author:Chon, Kye-Sung, "Kaye"; Sparrowe, Raymond T.
Publication:Welcome to Hospitality, An Introduction, 2nd ed.
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2000
Previous Article:7 Contemporary food service concepts.
Next Article:9 Beverage management.

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