Friday, July 15, 2005

Second Set of Lessons from a Week-Long Bible Camp, Part 7

You know a lot about the food business, especially if you've been going it to 35 years as I have. So what happens if you break your leg the week prior to camp? Or you decide it's time to move on and pass the baton to a younger chef?

My answer is to keep detailed records. I'm always ready to teach someone my job because I don't plan on being the camp chef forever. At this point, I'm looking at another four or five years (until my son graduates high school). I need to start thinking about a predecessor.

Document Your Extensive Knowledge Base as a Chef

As chef, you can't be present in the kitchen all the time. Daily meetings with the director, inventories and Costco runs occupy your time. And there are times that you have to walk out of the kitchen to preserve your sanity (like your 10th or 11th continuous hour in the kitchen -- my point about working staff to the bone applies to the chef as well).

Keep your knowledge base in a three-ring binder. The cooks can reference the menu, corresponding recipes and purchase lists when necessary. Each year, I have printed military recipes from into a recipe binder.

Each day's recipes are readily available behind daily divider tabs in the binder. I also created a food production planning worksheet that lists all of the tasks that must be accomplished each day (thawing, prep for the next day recipes to cook, for instance).

And don't forget to keep detailed records. As the saying goes, the pen is mightier than the sword. Daily food production worksheets and food safety logs, accurately completed, can defend your organization against allegations of foodborne illness. It also gives you history for next year's camp.

I'll post some photographs of my binders tomorrow ...

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