I was speaking to
Every large chain has a test kitchen- a place used to develop new products, flavors, entrees and techniques. It is a culinary creativity booster for the chains. Yet, independents often falter in the creativity department, seldom using their kitchens or talent to test various recipes or even developing their own.
What comes out of a restaurant’s test kitchen before a restaurant opens is vital to the location’s success. If a dish is missing a few ingredients, or a combination of spices doesn’t work, creating a flavor doesn’t please, the end could be near, especially for the chef, the menu item, and possibly, even the venture. Once the dishes are tested and the menu perfected, many owners think that the test kitchen can be closed.
Wrong. That is when it should begin to flourish. Once open a restaurant’s creativity must continue to excite and please customers- new and old. Getting into a menu rut with infrequent changes or additions to the entrée, appetizer, or dessert selections can do harm not only to a restaurant’s future, but also to its reputation.
One of Morse’s stellar qualities was his desire to have his chef’s continually experiment, create and develop new flavors and techniques. It’s what made his Minneapolis French Bistro, café un deux trois popular.
So when your chef is creating- using those expensive ingredients to perfect an unproven recipe- give him space. Let his creativity go wild. He may be developing the one dish that wins the palate of the reviewer awarding that sought after star.
With spring in the air now is the time to open up that kitchen for testing. Come up with some great additions. Get rid of the items that do not attract attention. Think of some fresh, tasteful, dishes. Use your kitchen to test menu items as though you were just opening. Develop a few new recipes on your own. It will add life to your staff will please your customers and will make you feel as though you were just reopening.
Have a Happy and Prosperous Easter.