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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

“Professional Foodservice Discussions, Part I: Controlling Labor and Food Cost Discussion, #1 PLUS Beef Chow Yoke—a Hawaiian Favorite” by Chef Stinkbug



We continue offering albums by one of Britain’s greatest bands, Fleetwood Mac, a band with a long history and a much-longer list of musicians going through its ranks.  Their eleventh album, “Greatest Hits,” came out late in 1971 as did our previous two albums and featured their best music to date.   It was another attempt to capitalize on the original band’s guitar masters.  You can buy this album at Amazon.com by using the convenient link above!

 

 

COUNTDOWN TO THE END OF THE MAYAN CALENDAR

 

 

Here is the countdown to December 21, 2012: from today, we have 700 days to go until the End of Days, the End of Time, Armageddon, and the End of the Mayan Calendar!  Everybody, beware!

 


STINKBUG 2011
 

 

 

Chef Stinkbug

END Commentary 01-12-2011

Copyright © 2011 by MHB Productions

Word Count: 2,577.

 

AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF CULINARY POLITICS

 

ELEMENTALNEWSOFTHEDAY.BLOGSPOT.COM-STINKBUG—THE HEADLINES

Elemental News of the Day Commentary-Opinion-Sports-Foodservice for Wednesday, January 12, 2011 by Chef Stinkbug

 

PROFESSIONAL FOODSERVICE DISCUSSIONS, PART I

Professional Foodservice Discussions, Part I: Controlling Labor and Food Cost Discussion, #1 PLUS Beef Chow Yoke—a Hawaiian Favorite” by Chef Stinkbug

Bakersfield, CA, 01-12-2011 W: The recession continues to steamroll across the nation, the hardest hit businesses are foodservice operations, and all one has to do is to look around them and see the empty husks of shuttered up restaurants to see how bad it is. Labor costs are one of the first areas that management seeks to trim and many times, the cuts are savage. The number one cost after labor is the food itself and something that I have seen repeatedly is the reliance upon portion control foods and the abandonment of doing things in house.  Instead of buying bulk beef and cutting one’s steaks and utilizing the trim, the owner or the chef will buy pre-cut steaks, stew meat, and other items instead of doing it in-house. The owner will say, “It’s too costly to do this” and my reply is that, “No, it’s not. If you have sous chefs and good line cooks, and by “good,” I mean “knowledgeable about the foods they handle,” you can buy whole filet mignons, top sirloins, and New York strip loins and cut them yourself.  You then utilize the trim in everything from soups and stews, Oriental and Mexican dishes, hamburger steaks, chili meat, and cubed steaks and who knows what else? Sure, you have labor costs but if your food costs go down, so will your labor over time.

Back in the 1980s while I was working at a top hotel, we did everything in house and all of the sous chefs were on salary. Being on salary meant that one made the same money whether they worked 30 hours or 55 hours and after 55, they reverted back to an hourly rate at time and a half. By doing it like this, management could utilize them for higher hours and at the same time not work them to death and once in awhile they had a week here and there where they worked fewer hours which made them feel really good. In the end, they ended up working more hours than a line cook (45-50) did but felt like they were doing less when they got off earlier and this kept things humming along. Occasionally they had to work more than 55 hours due to heavy banquet loads which then put money in their pockets and kept ownership and higher management (the executive chef and XO) from taking advantage of them meaning they had to work the line and put in a few hours—but it also kept their line skills from getting rusty! Of course, management was ALL on salary and with the 55-hour reversion to hourly rate this kept the sous chefs from having to put in too many hours; after all, we did not want them to become slaves!

The sous chefs and the XO (executive sous chef) cut all of the meat and fish, did all of the baking, and supervised the line cooks and they put in hours in the office helping the chef with the business side of the operation. The line cooks occasionally got overtime when it was vacation time and management took time off and they covered their fellows when they took time off. Normally, the managerial positions had 3-4 week vacations with the option of extra time off during the year so they could attend American Culinary Federation annual meetings on a rotational basis and this served as extra time off so when they returned and had to work more hours, no one complained. Overall, it served to rest the crew, both physically and psychologically, and kept morale high and the crew in peak-running order. When there were temporary lean times, the line cooks, the pantry workers, the dish-and-pot washers, and the yard man/men had their hours cut by 5 hours per week and the salary workers filled in their positions. We use times such as these for cross-training purposes, which are so important nowadays, and all promotions came from within.

I realize that smaller operations do not have the crew size to do everything in-house but if you can at least cut your meats, poultry, and seafood, and make your own soups, you will be surprised how quickly that can lower your food costs. The more you can create out of “nothing,” the more money you can bring in and believe me, every dime matters nowadays!  Why do you think that Mexican, Italian, and Oriental restaurants always manage to survive whereas all upper end fail and go broke? All of these places are good at transforming food into “new food” and making money on it.  The more one can manufacture out of things normally tossed out, the more money you are putting in your pocket. Heck, in the old days, the chefs used to save the fat from the beef trim and once a week would render the oil from it in the oven and use it in the French fryers.  However, note that I am not recommending that NOW because of arteriosclerosis (although the flavor was fantastic!), I am just telling you what you can do.

In conclusion, begin utilizing your help in as many ways as you can and make it worth their while, while you make it worth yours.  Make them feel like they’re a part of something and they will a lot for you, this is what teamwork is all about nowadays, it’s about encouraging your help to give their all and to do as much as is possible for the foodservice establishment.  Get the sous chefs onboard and into the swing of things and you will have the opportunity to keep the doors open and the restaurant humming! Anyhow, let us do something with some trim and see what we can do to increase your bottom line!

The dish we are going to make today has a nasty-sounding name to everyone who does not live in Hawaii but in the islands, it is a dish of heavenly flavors, tastes, and textures. It is also a good way to utilize meat trim, vegetable leftovers, and occasionally sauces that might already be on hand from another dish. This is how we make money, we make it by combining ingredients into new, tasty dishes that keep your clientele amazed and entranced. Try it out and see what you think:

(#1038) BEEF CHOW YOKE

 
This is a fun and delicious dish that is easy to make and a pleasure to eat.  You can find chow fun or chow yoke noodles in most oriental grocery stores.  If you cannot find them, you can always substitute wide egg noodles in their place but ONLY for people unfamiliar with the dish. 
 
Yield:  4-6 servings / Mis-en-place: 1-1.25 hours:
 

 

Qty.
Measure
Item
Other
Chow Yoke Sauce:
.25
Cup
Cornstarch or clear gel
 
2
Cup
Passion-orange-guava-pineapple juices
 
.25
Cup
Heinz red wine vinegar
 
.25
Cup
Rice wine vinegar
 
.5
Cup
Packed brown sugar
 
.75
Cup
Granulated sugar
 
.25
Cup
Karo light corn syrup
 
1
Each
Bay leaf
 
2
Teaspoons
Minced leeks
 
1
Teaspoon
Beef base
 
.5
Teaspoon
Chinese five spice
 
.5
Teaspoon
Minced ginger
 
.25
Teaspoon
Minced garlic
 
.125
Teaspoon
Kosher salt
 
1
Shake
Black pepper
 
1
Teaspoon
Almond extract
 
Chow Yoke Noodles:
8
ounces
Raw chow yoke noodles
 
Vegetable & Fruit Garnish:
1
Cup
Leaf spinach
 
1
Cup
Chinese-sliced celery
Bias-cut
1
Cup
Sliced broccoli stems and florets
 
2
Cups
Assorted cubed bells
 
.5
Cup
Julienned yellow onions
 
1
15-oz
Can guava, drained (liquid used in the sauce)
 
The Beef:
1
#
Thinly-sliced top sirloin steak
 
2-3
Tablespoons
Lee Kum Kee sesame oil
 
To taste
Lawrey's seasoned salt
 
To taste
Granulated garlic
 
To taste
Black pepper
 
To taste
Ground ginger
 
.25
Cup
Aloha Shoyu
 
.5-1
Cup
Water
 
The Rice:
.75
Cup
Hinode medium grain rice
 
1.5
Cups
Boiling water
Lightly salted
1
Tablespoon
Diced pimientos
 

 

Method:
 

1.     Mis-en-place: have everything ready with which to work!

2.     Prepare the sauce first. Place the cornstarch into the electric mixer's bowl and gradually add the liquid until dissolved. Then, add the rest of the liquid items and then, transfer to the stove in a heavy-bottomed saucepot and gradually bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Once it has become clear, lower heat.

3.     Next, prepare the chow yoke noodles by boiling them in salted water for three minutes; then, drain, chill in ice water, and when cool, drain.

4.     Now, prepare the vegetables by blanching each one individually in boiling, salted water just until al dente-tender; then, drain the cooking liquid, plunge them into ice water to retard any further cooking, drain when chilled, and allow to dry.
 
5.     Turn your standard oven to 375°F or your convection oven—fan “on”—to 325°F. 

6.     Now, stir-fry the beef quickly and keep on the rare side. As it cooks, add liquid so that it steams and remains moist. When cooked to preference, combine it with the sauce and place in a metal pan, covered, in the preheated oven.

7.     Prepare the rice by doing the following: bring water to a boil, add pimientos, add rice, stir, and return to a boil. Keep there for a couple of minutes, then cover, and finally place inside oven and cook for 25 minutes. When time is up, remove from the oven, crack the lid, and allow the steam to exit.

8.     When everything is ready, place the drained vegetables in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave for 3-4 minutes or until GOOD AND HOT but do NOT overdo it and lose the color! Combine with the meat and sauce, and serve.

9.     Place a scoop of rice in the middle of each plate and ladle equal portion atop each. Finally, for garnish, sprinkle Chinese-style sliced green scallions. Garnish with parsley sprigs and serve.

10. Cool leftovers to below 45°F as quickly as possible so accomplish this by placing them in a shallow pan placed atop a cooling rack.  As soon as cool, transfer to a sanitized storage container with a tight-fitting lid or wrap with plastic wrap.  Label, date, and refrigerate.  Be sure to use within 1-2 of original preparation but after that, toss them out and begin fresh.

This is a delicious dish one finds in Hawaii and elsewhere in the Asian world and not only is it tasty and attractive, it is also easy to prepare.  You can find chow fun noodles in Oriental markets and even regular grocery stores.  They are a flat noodle made from rice.

Well, if you want to make money this is where you will make it. You will use the leftover foods you have from other dishes and will combine them into combinations like this and this is where your foodservice operation will make a profit. You never make a profit from selling steaks, chops, prime rib, or lobster tails—unless you price them daily but those of us who do not have the luxury of a daily menu, simply cannot do this. No, we make money in the “Battle of the Scraps and Trim” and we make it because YOU choose to cut your own meats and fish. It is better to pay a sous chef than your purveyors at least that is how we see here at the Elemental News of the Day. The purveyors will tell you what you want to hear while enriching himself at your expense and the only way to beat him or her is to buy your meats and seafood from several different meat-and-fish sellers/mongers several times a week.

The other place you win the battle on food costs is controlling your freezer/walk-in and your back door. Make sure, that when things need to get into the freezer they are frozen and that you always keep an itemized list as to what is in there so you know at all, times what you have on hand. Then you can plan your special menus around what you have accumulated and if you have sautéed dishes, soups, and chili on your menus, you can use virtually everything while wasting nothing. It is worth investing money in freezer bags and tags that will adhere under any conditions so your help can automatically get into the habit of taking proper care of your profits!  The other area, which requires control, is the back door and what exits through it such as purloined food carried out by trusted employees—this is extremely important. We will discuss this at another time but for now, we will stop for the day!

--------------------------------------------

As always, we have a great time around here and that is why we want all of you to become a part of the organization by submitting articles to us for inspection and full-credit.  It is a great thing if you would do this, as it is a symbiotic relationship: we give you the space to share your recipes and in return, you send us more and more people who will become dedicated followers of the END.  Currently of multi-diversity across the Internet, it is important that we hear the voices of more and more people from all walks of the foodservice profession —join us. We urge our readership to write to us, leave comments, and if there are any of you, who would care to write an article for us, please get in touch via Magnolia Hilltop Brewers, P.O. Box 20669, Bakersfield, CA 93390-0669.  We obviously do not pay anything but give YOU full byline and that, my friends, is worth its weight in gold.  We want as many people who want to write to be able to do so and we believe that by presenting a forum for our fellow chefs, we are doing something for our beloved industry.  We love diversity and hope to add new and different authors to our pantheon of chefs, food and beverage directors, and culinary professionals.  Come on and join us, it will be fun! Expect that when all of us have run through our cycle, we will be introducing some brand-new talent or so Stinky says.

Please remember to avoid doing business with AARC Technology in Bakersfield, CA.  These people do not care about the small customer anymore but instead put all of their attentions onto their corporate customers. It is sad to not remember why one has the success they do or from where it came.

Here’s to another fabulous day in 2011 and that means we have about 1.75 years to go before we can vote on November 06, 2012.  I have no idea who is going to run against President Obama but I suspect that Newt Gingrich will be the candidate; maybe even Mike Huckabee will run again.  Whatever we do, we must pick wisely and I would love to see a ticket of Marco Rubio and Colonel Alan West, both Floridians with more experience in their little fingers than the present occupant of the White House.  We will try to keep the politics to a minimum, however, as I have no wish to see another blog shut down by the federal government of the United States.  We need to get back to the Constitution and get rid of this oppressive system now upon us.  What a dream!                              

Anyhow, let us close with this impassioned plea—please leave some comments and/or become a follower and why not spend some money and purchase an album by Fleetwood Mac and/or buy a cookbook from Amazon.com—we want to make some money here so help us out by buying something!  Allied with them, we are pleased to market their merchandise! See you next time around! Bye!  

Thank you!

Stinky

Stinkbug
American Bakers’ Association, ACF, CWC

 
This is a photo of me back in the 1980's when I was the sous chef of a large foodservice operation in Bakersfield, CA. I began my cooking career in the 1960's when I apprenticed underneath a great chef, Master Chef Ulysses S. Paz.  I have lived and worked in Hawaii, Washington State, Arizona, and California.  Even though I am in my late 60’s, I am still actively involved at a hotel here in Bakersfield, CA.

Stinkbug writes from OILDALE, CA.

 

---30---

The END Commentary for Wednesday, January 12, 2011 by Chef Stinkbug

 

Please note that everyone who writes for the Elemental News of the Day is their own person entitled to their own opinions, attitudes, and insanity so does not necessarily speak for all of us.  Thanks, Stinkbug.

REFERENCES:

The one-and-only Chef Stinkbug wrote this original essay.

Stinkbug.

RECIPES created by Chef Stinkbug on May 20, 1989 Bakersfield, CA.

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