This week I’m working on the development of the menu. This is really exciting because my mind is finally where it should be; on food, as opposed to building and contractor woes. So, I’m getting back to this thoughtful process. What a relief. I have to say, this is one of the most challenging menus I’ve had to write, mostly because I’ve not worked in this particular neighborhood. I want my menu to be approachable, yet not compromise who and what I am, as a chef. This is truly starting from scratch!
Writing a menu entails many factors. First and foremost, the seasons serve as the driving source of inspiration. What is good right now? Winter calls for warm and rich dishes, and a sense of comfort. Secondly, I contemplate the techniques I use during the seasons. For instance, slow braised meats are great during the winter, hearty and satisfying. Finally, there’s the execution of these dishes. It’s all about execution and consistency. During any given dinner service, a cook is going to make a dish 15-20 times. It is important to ensure that it is the same quality every time. I ask myself, “How do I produce a dish over and over, efficiently, consistently, and in a timely manner so that every guest gets the same quality every time?” I plan processes for my cooks that reduce the occurrences of any mistakes in preparing the dish. I try to balance it all. The kid’s menu is still a work in progress…my idea is to offer kids something nutritious and well balanced. We will stay away from the common fried or processed food you usually see on kid’s menus. I want their dishes to stand up to the quality of food their parent is getting.
Yesterday, my wife and co owner of FSE asked, “Where’s the test kitchen?” Well, it’s still under construction. Not having a professional kitchen to work in is difficult. I can’t just do this in my home kitchen. I don’t have the tools I need to produce this quality of food. I expect to have the week before opening to produce, taste, and finalize the recipes. As of now, it’s all in theory. But with my experience, I should be pretty close to the final product, with some minor tweaking.
We will open initially with dinner only for several weeks, until we get our feet under us. Then we will add on lunch service. The lunch menu will differ in the sense that there will be sandwich heavy offerings and lighter fare. It’s also imperative that it can be executed quickly, for those who have limited time on lunch breaks from work. When is opening day, you ask? I can’t give you a firm date yet, as our build out of the restaurant has hit some significant delays in permitting, construction, and so forth. But stay tuned to the blog and keep following us on Facebook to be in the know. We can’t wait to open our doors and see you here!