When hiring someone to work in cooking or food preparation, one of the desired traits to look for is having an eye for precision and detail.
Executing accuracy in measurements falls under these traits. All in all, these traits play a significant role in guaranteeing consistency, controlling food costs and reducing wastage.
Especially now, with the ever-rising food costs and business uncertainty brought about by Covid-19 pandemic, a kitchen team who will work together to keep costs and wastage down is vitally needed.
However, often, when there is a need to fill a vacancy urgently, some necessary and desired traits can be intentionally overlooked. Somehow, if someone can follow a recipe, that’s already a shoo-in for a spot.
It is no secret that most experienced chefs can eyeball their ingredients with ease and still produce consistent flavours in their cooking. But it should be noted that this is not a practice that should be encouraged.
How can restaurants and hospitality kitchens ensure that the practice of getting the right measurements are always done?
In professional settings, a big part of kitchen training involves accurate measurements to achieve consistency in recipes.
Repetition can help lead to mastery of a task. Still, the crucial thing here is that the execution of the task should be supervised most especially during the early training stages, to prevent the development of bad habits.
You might ask, “Aren’t these areas already covered in culinary school?”
Yes. But that should not deter you from providing training for all your newly hired staff.
Mastery of measurements can help in the development of the intuitive feel for the proportion of common ingredients like oil and salt. Similar to developing knife skills, it takes practice and experience. This is why a lot of skilled professional chefs are comfortable eyeballing measurements and still get good flavour results.
The areas of focus are ( include but not limited to):
- The right cuts for meats and vegetables
- Measurement abbreviations
- Common conversions of gallons, quarts, pints and cups
- Liquid measure and dry measure
- Basic conversions between volume and weight
2. Hiring people who are comfortable with numbers
An important thing to remember is that whenever measurements are involved, the trainee mustn’t be intimidated with math or numbers.
Why is this important?
Some recipes need to be adjusted for specific production requirements. Ingredients must be measured and scaled accurately, food production quantities are calculated, calories and counting portions, calculating a plate cost, and for some chefs – establishing a food and labour budget.
A good understanding of Culinary math can lead to better results in the kitchen through consistency and accuracy.
However, at the end of the day, what you need is someone who can follow instructions and recipes.
3. Use proper tools
Measurements are either weight (ounces or pounds) or volume (teaspoons, cups or pints).
When measuring volume, you need measuring cups and measuring spoons. Ingredients being measured by volume use measuring cups and measuring spoons.
For ounces, ladles can also be helpful. You can usually find the labels on the handle.
Portion scoops can also be used, noting that the smaller the capacity, the higher the number on the scoop is.
Digital Scale – Not surprisingly, most expert chefs prefer to use an accurate digital scale, both for cooking and baking. Check out this article from Masterclass on why using digital scales can be better than using the traditional measuring cups and spoons.
And don’t forget, a thermometer is also a measurement tool. It is not directly used in the portioning or flavouring of food, but the knowledge of measuring the right amount of heat or cold is crucial to the cooking process.
4. Hire a Chef from reputable chef staffing agencies
When hiring chefs to urgently fill up a vacancy, either short term or long term, you need to be able to fill a staffing issue to support your volume production while considering the need to attain or maintain a standard for consistency.
If this is a familiar scenario for you, you need to be able to get someone who can easily adapt to your kitchen operation and willingly work with you to achieve your service and business goals.
Anytime Chefs has supported various major venues remote resorts all over Perth and Western Australia not only by providing rapid short-term chef relief but chef hires on a permanent basis as well. Anytime Chefs help businesses hire the right temporary staff – to get through their volume and develop smooth and cost-efficient operations.
So if you’re looking to get through a challenging period, needing great professional chefs, either as temporary or permanent hires, for your next big event or venue, Anytime Chefs offers efficient, uncomplicated and personal service.
RELATED READ: Start Standardised Recipe NOW
The basics and practice of measurements in cooking exist because they serve an important factor in achieving the right flavours when following a recipe, guarantee consistency in the quality of the dish, control food cost and watage among many others.
Professional Chefs do measure. If they choose not to, it is because they have already acquired the skill and familiarity of the amounts of ingredients.
But always remember that everything has to start with the right foundation.
That’s it for this week.
As always, Professional Chefs on Call at Anytime!
Ciao for now,