9.03: The Importance of Recipes
Recipes are the foundation of the food business. Please, if you do nothing else, use a consistent recipe format. Having your recipes in the same format will make it easier for the cooks to follow and decreases the chance of error.
What a Good Recipe Can Do for You
Increase food quality. You will give specific instructions on how you want the food to be prepared so it can be done that way.
Improve food consistency. Your special chili recipe will always taste the same because it is made the same way every single time.
Help you forecast and manage food cost. It is very important that the recipe yield is accurate and that you set a portion size. Recipe yield should be gathered each time a recipe is made. People may say they do not have time to do that. You cannot afford for that not to happen.
If you do not get the yield on your recipes, you will not know if your nutritional analysis is accurate. Someone could have put in the wrong meat for example, and you will not know (higher fat content ground beef will cook down more, decrease recipe yield, and affect nutritional content). You may run out of food or have too much left and your record keeping will indicate incorrect information. Here is an example of what can happen when yield is incorrect. A recipe for 100 servings of chili over-yields, and actually yields 120 servings instead of 100. You have 20 servings left. You served 100 people. If you did not gather the yield when you made the chili, you will think you served 80 servings of chili (100 recipe forecast yield less 20 servings left) when in fact, you served 100. Why does this matter? It matters because if you use your collected data, next time you will plan that 80% (80/100) of your guests will eat chili and actually 100% (100/100) will. You will run out of food if you are planning based on what happened last time. Read that again.
Inaccuracy in working with recipes is a top reason that recipes are not trusted by staff, and staff do not trust the information. It causes forecasting to be loaded with error and can ruin your food cost. Forecasting by its nature is always wrong (ask your math and accounting friends), however, we do not need to add complications into the process. Good business management is based on forecasting.
Ordering and inventory will be easier to manage. You will be able to order the right amount of food and have enough to make your recipes. Food ordering is based on recipes and forecasting. Even if you order on par level, this is true. Your par level should be set as low as possible such that you will not run out of food. Par levels are in essence also based on food used over time, which, in turn is based on recipes.
Staff training will improve. If recipes are written in a consistent format, steps are in order and recipes are clear, you can use the recipes to teach staff the cooking processes and they can make the recipes without having to learn “we actually do it differently”. Cooks should check ingredients off as they put them in the recipe. This avoids errors like accidentally putting something into a recipe twice when staff are dovetailing. You will have happier and better cooks.
It will be easier to calculate nutritional information. You will be able to trustingly use your recipes in handling special diets. Ingredients are put into recipes that are supposed to be there and staff do not have to guess what to do.
9.04: Standardized Recipes
All recipes are not created equal. Some recipes have missing ingredients, faulty seasonings, insufficient or poor instructions causing more work, and some are simply not tested.
A standardized recipe is a set of written instructions used to consistently prepare a known quantity and quality of food for a specific location. A standardized recipe will produce a product that is close to identical in taste and yield every time it is made, no matter who follows the directions.
A good standardized recipe will include:
Menu item name – the name of the given recipe that should be consistent with the name on the menu
Total Yield – number of servings, or portions that a recipe produces, and often the total weight or volume of the recipe
Portion size – amount or size of the individual portion
Ingredient list/quantity – exact quantities of each ingredient (with the exception of spices that may be added to taste)
Preparation procedures – Specific directions for the order of operations and types of operations (e.g., blend, fold, mix, sauté)
Cooking temperatures and times, including HACCP critical control points and limits to ensure the dish is cooked properly and safely
Special instructions, according to the standard format used in an operation
Mise en place – a list of small equipment and individual ingredient preparation
Service instructions, including hot/cold storage
In addition to the list above, standardized recipes may also include recipe cost, nutritional analysis, variations, garnishing and presentation tips, work simplification tips, suggested accompaniments or companion recipes, and photos.
Standardized recipes can help with work simplification and incorporate HACCP into procedures. Many facilities preparing food in large quantities also batch cook, so the standardized recipes will incorporate those procedures into the instructions. The skill level of employees should also be taken into account when writing recipe procedures or directions. Terminology within the standardized recipes should be at the skill level of employees, for example, instruct an employee to melt butter and whisk with flour instead of saying “make a roux”, if more appropriate for a specific operation. Finally, cooking equipment, temperatures, time, etc. are adjusted for the facility.
A short side note on mise en place – a key component to efficiently producing menu items from recipes is to have “everything in its place.” Many kitchens will have workstations with a standard mise en place set up, which might include a cutting board, salt, and pepper, tasting spoons, composting containers, etc. Standardized recipes can help employees produce menu items most efficiently if they also list mise en place for small equipment needed for the recipe, such as measuring tools, preparation tools (knives, peeler), holding pans, cooking utensils, etc. Employees can gather everything they need before starting recipe preparation thus reducing traveling around the kitchen during preparation, kitchen congestion, loss of focus from frequent starting and stopping, and errors from interruptions to their work. Detailing the mise en place for individual ingredients, such as peeling and cutting, with each ingredient can also improve the clarity and efficiency of recipe preparation. Example: Raw white potato, peeled, ½ in. dice
Some things to remember when writing a standardized recipe:
If you are starting with a home/internet recipe – make it first!
Standardized recipes are a training tool for employees
A good recipe is like a well-crafted formula – it has been tested and works every time
S.A.M.E. – Standardization Always Meets Expectations
9.05: Cautions When Converting Recipes
When converting recipes, conversion calculations do not take into account certain factors:
Mixing and cooking times – this can be affected if the equipment used to cook or mix is different from the equipment used in the original recipe
Shrinkage – the percentage of food lost during its storage and preparation
Some other problems that can occur with recipe conversions are:
Substantially increasing the yield of small home cook recipes can be problematic as all the ingredients are usually given in volume measure, which can be inaccurate, and increasing the amounts dramatically magnifies this problem.
Spices and seasonings must be increased with caution as doubling or tripling the amount to satisfy a conversion factor can have negative consequences. If possible, it is best to under-season and then adjust just before serving.
The fine adjustments that have to be made when converting a recipe can only be learned from experience, as there are no hard and fast rules. Generally, if you have recipes that you use often, convert them, test them, and then keep copies of the recipes adjusted for different yields.
Remember – Standardization Always Meets Expectations. Foodservice operations need to meet the expectations of their customers, every time they visit. Foodservice operations need to meet expectations for employees, their skill level and training. Foodservice businesses need to meet expectations for costs and profit for all menu items. Standardized recipes are critical to the foodservice industry. They are simply good business!
9.07: Review/Critical Thinking
Please complete the following questions. It is important that you use full sentences and present the questions and answers when you submit your work.
Go to the Assessment area in the course to complete the assignment Review and Critical Thinking and submit the work as a file attachment.
The answers to the Review and Critical Thinking Questions are worth 10 points.
9.08: Cooking Assignment #9
Reading a Recipe
In this assignment, you will be choosing a recipe you would like to make, take pictures and follow the directions on the following PDF:
Once complete, please submit the attachment in the Assessments area.
9.09: Module 9 Quiz
Before you take the quiz for this unit take a moment to review what you have learned.
When you feel that you are ready to complete the Module 9 Quiz, Standardized Recipes click HERE.