Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Chef Consultant at BAMM!

Back in April, my kuya (elder brother) gave me a call and asked if I was interested to do a consultancy job for an upcoming resto-bar in Malugay, Makati.  I was hesitant at first, but he talked me right through it.  We met up with some of the owners twice and talked business.  Honestly, I was somewhat terrified in doing this job since it would be my first time to do consultation and knowing that I only had put up a couple of online pastry business every holiday season and Valentine's.  However, I've managed to put up the business in less than three months time!

Of course there were a couple of food taste tests that occurred on the first few weeks, and we (two of the owners and I) scouted for kitchen equipment and tools.  I initially asked for a working kitchen while the renovation was going on at the restaurant so I could further develop the menu.  But the owners insisted that we should rather wait for the renovations to be done, all the equipment bought and placed, and have my product development at the restaurant itself.  I obliged, of course.  Though, for me, I'd rather work on the menu while waiting for a couple of weeks to a month before we began cooking in the kitchen.  I could work on my own kitchen at home, but it would mean more expenses to them because of gas, toll fees and ingredients that I could only buy in groceries at the metro.  I'm living in a nearby province, by the way.  So, yeah, it wasn't an option.

I never thought that purchasing equipment and tools would be mentally exhausting!

BAMM kitchen May 18, 2012

There were adjustments made so it prolonged the renovation.

As time gone by (where almost all necessary things were bought, cleaned and placed), I soon realized we were at the moment that I can now work on "my" kitchen for the next weeks.  Then there was the day when the owners invited some of their friends over to have some dishes on the menu.  It was like a mock exam, all of us pretending a running business in real time.  All dishes was a hit!  Everyone liked it, which made my day.

There were sleepless WEEKS for me as I worked diligently on 'costing' and looked for nearby (local) suppliers essential for the menu.  Spell stress.  What I loathe about this job is costing (lol).

I'm thankful that I have a pastry chef friend, Chef Arnel Vicencio, who customized our artisan breads.  I'm also glad to have found the greatest, and most importantly, local maker/supplier of Greek and flavored yogurts!  Support local produce!
Upper left: On my way to S&R along EDSA and saw a white limo
Upper right:  doing some grocery shopping based on the recipes I have on hand
lower left:  inside BAMM and my working kitchen
lower right:  my initial beef döner sandwich

I haven't sat for a minute that day and started working 9AM (grocery, prep), sent out food from the kitchen at 7PM, and left the place at 12AM after cleaning up.  Wasn't able to have a decent meal too.  I think I haven't eaten a single bite because I had my hands tied on all the preparation.  Why did it took me so long?  Well, everything was made from scratch.  I don't like preservatives.  I don't like quick cooking. I love gourmet, slow-cooked food, and I'm glad the owners and I share the same page.  And the other reason was I did everything.  No staff yet.  Owner #1 had part of his thumb cut from the mandolin when he tried helping me thinly slice the potatoes (and he went back from the hospital with his entire hand bandaged-thumb-up, thus, the restaurant's logo).  Owner #2 was busy entertaining the guests.  That's why I'm deeply grateful for having one of our Singaporean guests lend her hand on the kitchen, Ms. Rachel.

Rachel and I.. me trying to smile even how tired I was then.

I was able to interview a couple of people for staffing, which I shouldn't be part of, and gladly, they hired three people to be part of the team: Mike, Anne and Sheila.

Mike, who stands as the team leader/supervisor of the team and the restaurant, was the first person hired.  He's a heaven-sent since he gave us a lot of insights on where to buy kitchen tools that are way cheaper than MK's.  He has numerous contacts that BAMM can benefit from, so he's a great catch.  Anne came in next as kitchen staff as well as Sheila.

There was a day of discussion about the sanitation guidelines and gave them tips on working in the kitchen (the dos and don'ts) and how to handle customers, work ethics, professionalism, and how to present themselves physically (make-up lesson for the girls that they have yet to practice more).  My approach was like a casual chit-chat with the team, which I think is way effective.

Me working in the kitchen with Anne, while Mike observes and cheered us up.

Since I won't be working full-time in the kitchen, I insisted that the owners should hire a cook.  Mike, Anne and Sheila are not experienced cooks and this is a first food venture for the owners, I strongly believe that hiring a cook is a must.  Thank God they listened.  And I'm very glad that Mike referred Anthony to us.  He's a great cook: listens attentively and executes well.  

Anthony, BAMM's head cook
photo grabbed from  http://crowpod.wordpress.com/2012/08/05/curry-wurst-anyone-bamm/ check out her blog review on Bamm! :)

BAMM had its soft opening launch and it was exhausting to the nth level!  The pressure was on me since I strictly follow the 7-minute rule where orders should be sent out on the tables within that time period.  And when I'm pressured in the kitchen, I'm like Gordon Ramsay.  Yep.  And I did sincerely apologized to the staff and forgot to warn them about it.

And I was just acting here, posing for my Kuya, and this pic gave us the LOLs..

As soon as the team got the hang of working all day, and the delivery and pacing was running smoothly, I unfortunately suffered from dengue.  I had it from The Collective where the restaurant was situated.  Ugh.  Blame the canals!  So if you're going to the place, better have an insect repellent or patch with you.  Better be safe!

photo by Siegfried Montero on his iPhone

with Lara

I was gone for a week.  My contract ended that same week when I had gone out of the hospital and had to be back for five days just to supervise the team.  And now, they're running it successfully, a German chef flown in by one of the business owners, and they added dishes on the menu that I have to try! :)

Here are some of the product photos I prepared and styled.  Photos taken by James Bautista.

The Collective 7274 Malugay Street, Makati City

Here's the first blog review of Bamm before new dishes were included on the menu (traditional döner, tato stack, German Schnitzel mit Brakkartoffeln).

Now I'm craving!  Who's up for it?  Let me know and I'll join you.  Seriously! :)  Like my page on Facebook (and leave a note), add me on your circles, leave a note here, or e-mail me (curlyscribblings[at]gmail[dot]com).

Dishes I developed for the initial menu:
- Chicken döner sandwich/rice pilaf
- Beef döner sandwich/rice pilaf
- Chicken and beef döner sandwich/rice pilaf
- Currywurst w/ chips
- Currywurst w/ rice pilaf
- Homemade potato chips
- Rice pilaf
- Fish and chips
- Fish and rice pilaf
- Mediterranean pork chops
- Moussaka
- Currywurst sauce
- Yogurt-cucumber-garlic sauce
- Ezme (chili salsa)
- Homemade cheese sauce
- Radler
- Yogurt smoothies

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