Under Fire: Next in order

When I wandered through the first kitchen where I worked, very few things were clear. But I eventually learned how something showed up at the back door and ended up on a plate, as well as the hierarchy of the kitchen and the speed it takes to get ready for service. As all this knowledge came together, I felt like I knew how a kitchen works. There was one thing that still mystified me, though: ordering.

I never understood how people knew how much to order, what to base their order on. What if there was too much food? How much did it all cost? And how did you ever get the feel for doing it right?

Those are still questions I have. As I went through the basic training for ordering yesterday, some things became clear, but others became less so.

I can saute a chicken, but goddamnit, I have a feeling ordering will be hard. The responsibilities of a chef are much involved that most people ever realize. Menus, scheduling, budgets and problem-solving -- all before the first piece of food reaches the plate.

This could be a long week.

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