Every year, new trends and flavours burst onto the scene and we expect restaurants to keep their menu updated in line with whatever’s the next hottest thing. As the food that we eat changes, so does the role of the chef and the whole kitchen staff. It’s no longer purely about cooking. Here’s how and why the chef role has evolved to where we’re currently at.
We’ll be discussing the following topics and how they’ve each been added to the role of the chef:
- More Than Just Meal Creators
- Open Kitchens
- Sourcing Products
More Than Just Meal Creators
Long gone are the days where a chef’s sole purpose was just to serve up amazing food. Student chefs now learn the art of guest interaction, how to manage the kitchen and enter the industry with a competitive edge.
Chefs have become the name and face of restaurants. This allows guests to share their feedback of their meal and also create a bond with the chef over their love of food.
Professionalisation has contributed to the evolution of the chef role. The industry is no longer something that you do because you can’t do anything else and enjoy cooking. Every year, there are an increasing number of people graduating with culinary degrees which brings a particular wealth of knowledge to the role and the industry itself.
This means that the everyday chef has to stay on top of their game and always be prepared to learn something new. Whether it’s a food trend or a cooking style, it’s important that the chef is forever educating themselves on the new “in thing.”
It’s also up to the chef to lead educational campaigns on food waste and management, changing the food supply chain and researching new ingredients to craft new masterpieces with to bring the people through the doors.
Sweeping trends are the main influencers of how restaurants are designed and laid out. One increasing trend of the past few years has been the open kitchen. Customers can now interact with the chef whilst they are actually preparing their meal.
This is particularly common in Teppanyaki restaurants where parties are usually seated in a circle around the chef who is cooking in the middle. In order to provide a greater customer experience, this trend has completely changed the way in which a chef has to work and organise their team effectively.
You wouldn’t want to eat in a environment where the chef is swearing and bossing his team around, would you?
Chefs are now trusted with more responsibility over the menu than ever before. In order to keep things on trend and have the adaptability for when new trends come in, it’s important that the chef works closely at sourcing the perfect produce.
This allows the chef to be as creative as they like with the freedom to buy new ingredients (within budget of course). With this in mind, it means that the chef will also have to be conscious about food wastage and cost sustainability. It’s a lot to consider.
Picture the classic chef. Soup stained coats and torn pants. What sort of image would that uniform create if he’s walking round a nice, on-trend eatery?
As mentioned earlier, one of the modern day chef’s duties is to work the room and engage with the customers. This means that appearance is vital to making a good impression for the chef and the restaurant themselves. Impeccably maintained uniforms that are clean and crisp are what you’ll find most chefs wearing when front of house.
Just like with the above, technology has had a huge influence on the role of the chef - social media in particular. Platforms like Instagram have become an increasingly popular way for chefs to engage with the public. The majority of people eat with their eyes first, so it’s important that the chef takes advantage of this powerful marketing tool.
But social media is also a great way to meet new diners, other chefs and build rapport with fellow food-lovers.
Just like with TV chefs, there are chefs on Instagram that are not actually cheffing in restaurants. It’s a great way to keep up with trends and see what the rest of the industry are doing.
Your Team Needs to Evolve Too... Safely
As restaurants move forward, there is an increasing amount of factors that could potentially harm your staff - both inside and out of the kitchen. Your team will be on their feet all day, dodging hazards and responding to customer requests with smiles on their faces. This can take a toll. Invest in slip-resistant shoes to keep them safe and comfortable.
Stay in the Know With the Latest Flavour Trends for 2018
Make sure your team is up to date with the latest food trends. Download a FREE copy of our Flavour Trends Guide for restaurants to inspire you for any upcoming menu changes.