Chef “Jack”

“I want to open my own restaurant one day…”, the beginner cook tells his peers.

Well, if it were only that easy. If you want to become an independent restauranteur, having passion is a must if going into the venture.

It’s because the restaurant business itself is one of the hardest businesses to operate because of the vast amount of variables that you have to account for. Plus, you’re dealing with products that have a short shelf life. Not only business savvy knowledge is needed to succeed, you also have to always fight against time. Food will always go bad. If you’re not able to sell it, you lose money as it goes in the trash. More on those details later.

Becoming a solo chef restauranteur, you’re not only a chef that cooks, you need to play a ton of roles in the kitchen and know a little bit of every aspect in the kitchen making you the “Jack of all trades”.

Here are the different duties of the chef/solo restauranteur:

  • Cook – obviously.
  • General Manager – manage, train, motivate, the entire restaurant staff (kitchen and front staff).
  • Plumber – in a kitchen clogs happen. When pipes back up during a Friday night dinner rush, you better know what to do otherwise you and your crew are cooking in ankle deep sewage – which is a food safety hazard by the way. You can call the plumber, but you need to know about your own kitchen plumbing to explain to the plumber what’s going on.
  • Accountant – as a business owner, you need to know your numbers to make sure the restaurant is profitable. You can always hire an accountant, but you still need to understand the numbers to make important financial decisions.
  • Mechanic – your kitchen equipment aren’t indestructible so you need to know how to troubleshoot them when they go down.
  • Negotiator – dealing with purveyors, you will need to be able to negotiate on prices to keep your food costs as low as possible.
  • Salesperson – you need to sell your food. This may come naturally if you’re heart is in the food.
  • Engineer – you must be able to engineer various systems and processes for your restaurant to make it run efficient.
  • And more – this is all just the tip of the iceberg.

If your aspirations is to become restauranteur and/or chef, be prepared to become a “Jack of all trades” beyond the duties relative to cooking. The only way you may avoid this is to have an excess amount of capital to hire and delegate these jobs, but even that is a tall order.

“Not only must you master your own technique, you must also understand your opponent’s technique to be able to defend against it…” – Kung Fu Proverb

The Reality Of A Beginning Restaurant Cook

At the age of 15 I stumbled upon cooking at my first job at a small Hawaii restaurant. Being my first job, I was terrible at it. I started off as a prep cook preparing foods for the days and, for some items, weeks ahead (they froze some of their food).

Knowing nothing about the restaurant industry, not even knowing how to hold a knife, the senior and more experienced cooks heckled me in their frustration. The cooks were asian and spoke their native language to each other so I know that they were talking their shit about me.

“Oh no, not another shitty worker. He doesn’t even know how to wash dishes.”, I could imagine them saying in their native tongue.

I was slow, clueless around the kitchen, and stood around when I didn’t know what to do while the cooks tended to the lunch and dinner rushes. I watched as they frantically cooked the foods to order once they were called out by the front staff. Moving with speed and grace, it was literally like watching a kung fu master practice his tai chi. Initially, I hadn’t caught on to the clues of how that’s how I supposed to be working – with speed and production. Continue reading “The Reality Of A Beginning Restaurant Cook”

Only The Passionate Survive In The Food Industry

Only The Passionate Survive In The Food Industry

If you are going to go in battle in the food industry, if your intent is to survive, you must have passion. Period! This actually goes for any industry or career that you go into. Passion for what you do is the key to success and happiness.

I’ve witnessed time and time again people’s souls taken away in the kitchen. It’s not a quick and painless death, but rather like cancer that slowly kills people away. The less passionate that people are about cooking, and the longer they stay in the industry, death of the soul is bound to happen. They become zombies controlled by the chef, manager, boss, or owner.

They say only the strong survive. In the restaurant industry Continue reading “Only The Passionate Survive In The Food Industry”

Hello Culinary World!

Welcome to Kung Fu Kitchen Adventures!

Cooking in a restaurant is like kung fu. There’s a lot of different styles, techniques, variations, skills, etc., that is inspired by people across the globe. We have battles everyday in the restaurant, especially on a Friday night.

I’ve been in the restaurant industry for a while now. Here on this little blog, I will share with you the battles that go down in the restaurant industry. I’ll try to share with the world what goes on behind the scenes. Off the bat, I can tell you there are the good battles, the bad, and the epic!

This website is named “Kung Fu” because I used to run a restaurant at a commercial place that was named Kung Fu. I thought the concept of the name could make sharing about the restaurant industry fun. And this is also the original domain name of the restaurant, so I acquired it and here I am!

It’ll be fun. I’ll share with you great recipes that I’ve I’ve collected through my journeys.

So come here for some epic battles and Kung Fu Kitchen Adventures!