Mavourneen Peters is the head chef and owner of Mavs Cakes and Bakes, a quaint cafe in Bandra. Her cafe is best known for its cakes, desserts and all day breakfast. She's been a chef for several years and has been running her own cafe since 2015.
Preparing appetising meals, creating new recipes and planning the menu. If you serve the same dishes over and over, your vistors will get bored pretty soon. As a chef, you will have to keep creating new recipes and planning menus for the restaurant. Menu planning could involve deciding what specials you will be serving for the day, or even planning special menus for festivals like Christmas or Diwali.
Determining how the food should be presented and creating attractive food displays. Even the tastiest meals fail to make an impression if they are not presented properly. Laying food in a dish is an art that chefs work on to ensure that the food doesn't just taste good but look beautiful as well. And given how often people click pictures of their meals at restaurants these days, the art of plating has become a crucial skill that can make or break a chef's reputation.
Hiring and training cooks and other kitchen workers. Let's face it, it's impossible for one person to cook for so many people all day, every day, and look into all the other kitchen tasks. You will have to hire cooks and other kitchen workers and train them well to ensure that they meet your expectations. And in order to do so, you will have to know the ins and outs of running the kitchen, right from operating complex machines to prepping difficult dishes.
Supervising and coordinating activities. You will have to oversee all the tasks in the kitchen, from stocking ingredients to making sure a recipe is cooked exactly as expected, to plating a meal well and serving guests in time.
Overseeing schedules and staff requirements. Running a smooth kitchen requires meal prepping, planning and a host of other tasks. Ensuring that these are done on time is a task you will have to take up.
Ordering and maintaining an inventory of food, beverages and kitchen supplies. Depending on your menu and specials, you will have to order the necessary ingredients and beverages, and also maintain an inventory of the same. This will help you understand when you're going to need to restock specific supplies.
Ensuring the freshness of ingredients. People are relying on you to feed them high-quality, fresh food. You will have to keep an eye on the ingredients you use to prepare their meals, making sure that only fresh ingredients are used. You will also have to check the final preparation to see if the recipe has been followed correctly and the food being sent out of the kitchen is both fresh and delicious.
Monitoring the quality and size uniformity of the meal served. Say you're serving mashed potatoes. It is up to you to ensure that everyone who orders the dish gets the same-sized serving of mashed potatoes.
Inspecting supplies, equipment and working zones for cleanliness and hygiene. Your kitchen needs to be sparkling clean. This means making sure that every utensil or equipment used is properly cleaned and duly maintained after use. No one wants to cook in dirty pots and pans!
Analysing recipes to assign menu prices based on supplies, labour and overhead costs. This basically means deciding the price of dishes on the basis of different costs that went into preparing them, not just ingredient costs but also preparation and overhead costs such as electricity, maintenance, rent, etc.
Ensuring the best sanitation practices and adherence to kitchen safety regulations and standards. Your kitchen should follow all the standard rules and regulations for safety, hygiene and sanitation.
Engaging with customers and taking their feedback. Simply feeding your customers won't be enough. You need to know if they enjoyed the meal, found the ambience pleasing, and if they were satisfied with the service. You will also need to take in relevant suggestions to keep your customers happy.