Ten tips not taught at Cornell Culinary

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Congratulations, you have done it. You have graduated from one of the top culinary programs in the world and opened a small faux-bistro just off 72nd. and York. And, things are going well. A party every night. Similar to Swell days of Michael McCarty.
But, your highfalutin days may be nearing an end. The South Jersey chicken man has just shown up with a handful of non negotiable checks, nine cases of raw wings for the Schmekelman reception and refuses to deliver unless you hand over a fistful of Jackson’s and a few c notes to cover the vig.
What’s a graduate to do? Drop to your knees and beg for wing forgiveness? Fogetaboutit. The chicken man has seen this scene before. And, don’t think for a moment that your bookkeeper wouldn’t let this happen. This is no mistake.
Your roommate- Tyler- the accounting major – fell in love with Buffy, your sous chef. The two became enamored over their mutual fondness for Dom Perignon. The duo embezzled the cash- a loan of course- and left you holding the empty deposit bag after the weekend receipts were going to cover last week’s payroll.
You’re stuck with nothing but a pocket full of lonely lint, an empty register, a bank account dipping below zero and a group of investors who have decided the steaks were tough, the service slow and the balance sheets tilting in Tyler’s favor.

Here’s ten tips you won’t learn at Cornell Culinary.
1). Ice is cheaper than Coca-Cola – Fill the glass with ice before you add the soda.

2). More often than not, your day begins by putting out fires someone on your payroll let smolder the day before.

3).For every step forward you take, someone on your staff will unknowingly impede progress.

4). One bad apple does ruin a perfectly enjoyable Friday evening.

5).The possibility one of your chefs will eventually leave in mid-shift is guaranteed.

6), There will be days where you have numerous expenses and no money to pay them.

7).Your staff will enjoy your product, and depend on it, as much, if not more than your customers.

8).You will receive more advice than you will ever use, implement, or defragment. This column included.

9).Your vendors have all enrolled in CSU – Common Sense University – and live and work by those guidelines. In San Francisco, Bob Shapiro of Light Soda is Dean of Admissions.

9a). You never graduated from CSU. Stay enrolled…the degree is in continuing education.

10). If you don’t have a budget, a plan, a training program, a policy and procedures manual, a chef that knows food cost, purchasing, and product rotation, along with a dining room manager that continually smiles, can handle the frustration of constant training, enjoys people, shaking hands, checking for a clean bathroom, and possesses the tactful diplomacy of a United Nations Ambassador you will soon learn that the cost of Coca Cola doesn’t really matter. And by the way, the chicken man is waiting.

John Foley is Publisher of foodiedaily.com

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