Chef Lenny Ventura
Executive Chef at Dolce Hotels & Resorts, Dallas/Fort Worth
Chef Ventura is originally from Chicago where he spent almost 20 years at the Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons. Chef Ventura is a big fan of "The Publican” in Chicago where Executive Chef/Partner Paul Kahan cooks up an eclectic menu inspired by simple farmhouse fare in a space evocative of a European beer hall. Chef Ventura’s favorite dishes would be the Sardine with Tessa, Parmesan-Breadcrumbs & Harissa as well as the Porchetta, which is made with Pesto, Rapini & Pine Nuts. Chef Ventura states don’t miss the Mission Figs, Potato Fry Bread, Crescenza Cheese & Aged Balsamic. Chef Ventura also likes Alinea and states that the seasonal tasting menu is to die for. On a local Dallas-Fort Worth note, one place he likes to go is called the Rodeo Goat, great local beers and great burgers; his favorite burger is the Whiskey Burger.
A CHEF'S LIFE Season 2
premiering on PBS October 5th 2014
A CHEF'S LIFE is a half-hour character-driven documentary and cooking series that takes viewers inside the life of Chef Vivian Howard, who, with her husband Ben Knight, left the big city to open a fine dining restaurant in small-town Eastern North Carolina.
In the second season, A CHEF’S LIFE takes Vivian out of the Chef and the Farmer’s kitchen and on the road with a new roster of Southern ingredients. From blueberries to turnips to butterbeans, Vivian explores Southern cuisine with a chef’s modern sensibilities. As they introduce viewers to the farmers and cooks of the American South, Vivian and Ben also celebrate their twins’ third birthday and open a new second restaurant, the Boiler Room.
THE REAL KEY TO RESTAURANT SUCCESS IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MANAGEMENT AND STAFF
by Chef Paul Sourgle; MS, AAC CULINARYCUESBLOG
Everyone seems to be free with advice on how to find and push the magic button creating a successful restaurant. There are certainly standard answers (ho hum) like location, product, atmosphere and service. These are certainly critical pieces of the puzzle, but very few experts get to the heart of the matter, the real keys to success.
You have all heard the statement that your employees are your most valuable assets, yet very few operators (not exclusive to restaurants) take this to heart and build a strategy around these assets. Every operator I work with complains about the inability to find, attract, hire and retain great employees, yet very few actually sit down and determine what it would take to reach these goals. A recent article in the Vermont newspaper, Seven Days, asked the question: “Where are all the line cooks.” This was a piece of investigative journalism defining the effects, but not clearly defining the problem. Allow me to provide my own opinion on the topic.
What do employees and employers truly want? What must be in place for great teams to form, work effectively together, and stay together? Here are my thoughts for a successful restaurant staffing strategy:
The Capital Grille Denver, CO
The Sous Chef is responsible for supporting the Executive Chef in leading a team of culinary professionals that deliver high-quality, great tasting food; proper food safety and sanitation procedures and profitability. The Sous Chef contributes to building top line sales and guest count through the delivery of a competitively superior team member and guest experience. The Sous Chef supports the Executive Chef to ensure menu items are executed with excellence in the restaurant. Additionally, the Sous Chef supports managing quality in all aspects of their job.
LIFE IN A BOTTLE – DON THE BANQUET CHEF
by Chef Paul Sourgle; MS, AAC CULINARYCUESBLOG
It is a story, too often in the making. A person, too young dies from self-abuse. It happens frequently in kitchens, the question is why? Now Don, the banquet chef at a hotel where I worked in the early 70’s, was not as young as some, but too young to die, catching everyone for some reason, by surprise.
Don was a real person, someone I worked with early in my career. He was unusual, but not so much by kitchen standards. We tend to attract a different type individual, sometimes introverted, sometimes not; sometimes self-confident, oftentimes not; sometimes full of creativity, sometimes lacking the desire to show what is there, underneath the crust and sandpaper personality. Don was unusual in different ways: he was a very large man (enjoyed eating) with ten kids at home. That’s right – 10! He managed to work, almost non-stop, sometimes arriving as early as 6 a.m. and in the kitchen until after 9 at night. If there was a banquet on the schedule, Don was there.
What Don lacked in finesse with food, he made up for in his ability to handle any number of guests or parties, without much fuss, ensure that hot food was hot and cold food cold, and consistently produce flavorful, attractive food. What was unusual about Don (aside from the 10 kids) was his ability to consume considerable amounts of alcohol without showing any signs of intoxication. In fact, Don drank constantly while at work (back in those days, the chef would turn a blind eye to this).
SENIOR SOUS CHEF - HIGH LEVEL CORPORATE DINING
Restaurant Associates New York, NY
The successful candidate may serve as the department head for culinary operations in the absence of Executive Chef. Duties include heavy food production of client meals and high level catering functions. Must adhere to HACCP guidelines to ensure efficient, safe and sanitary food production, preparation and presentation. Responsible for handling, preparation and storage of perishable products. Additional duties may include menu development, inventory, ordering, sanitation, and hourly associate management to include hiring, counseling, coaching and development. Additional related duties and special projects as assigned.