April 2, 2015 – Memphis Food Truck

Food Truck Pic

You may have seen from local news stories such as this one in the Memphis Commercial Appeal that L’Ecole Culinaire has brought their ‘Le Food Truck’ to Memphis! Over the past few years there has been a surge of gourmet food trucks popping up all over the nation. Although food trucks have been around for centuries in some form or another, Los Angeles foodies started this latest craze with gourmet taco trucks back in 2008. Food trucks have been gaining immense popularity in the culinary world ever since, but did you know that their American roots go back more than a century?

According to the History Channel, chuck wagons and pushcarts (the pre-automobile versions of food trucks) have been serving up food since right after the Civil War. Chuck wagons popped up in the west, serving food to working men across the plains. The cooks would wake up as early as 3 a.m. to stoke the fires, bake biscuits and prep food for the day. Pushcarts were used in the urban areas, although they weren’t equipped to actually cook food like a chuck wagon, they served simple lunches such as fruit, meat pies and sandwiches to the urban working class. It’s amazing how far the concept of a mobile restaurant has come over the last century.

L’Ecole Culinaire’s ‘Le Food Truck’ gives culinary students experience in tune with current food industry trends, and is part of the school’s on-going efforts to prepare students for real-world working situations. L’Ecole students staff this gourmet food truck alongside professional chef instructors to gain competitive experience in the ever-evolving culinary industry.

The Le Food Truck menu changes weekly with prices ranging from $8-$10 for a menu item that includes a side and drink. If you’re in the Memphis area or just want to know more about Le Food Truck follow the truck on Twitter @lefoodtruck to find out where and when the truck will be serving delicious culinary meals.

Create Family Memories in the Kitchen this Easter

 

Easter is a special time of year; especially for children. You can make it fun and memorable by having the kids help in the kitchen. Older children can assist in preparing the Easter meal while the younger ones can focus on a simple, kid-friendly food project. Dying eggs is a tried-and-true Easter favorite, but there are a many other creative ways to turn traditional treats into scrumptious Easter edibles while creating new family memories.

Easter Treat Lollipops

Instead of making the usual, square-shaped rice cereal and marshmallow treats, use Easter-shaped cookie cutters. Cut the treats into holiday shapes such as chicks, bunnies or eggs. Once the treats have cooled, insert a Popsicle stick and let the kids decorate with icing, sprinkles or other candies.

Easter Peeps S’mores

Replace those traditional s’mores marshmallows with Easter Peeps! Just soften the Peeps in the microwave for approximately 10 seconds (each microwave will vary), combine with a piece of bar chocolate, and place the ingredients between two graham crackers. Those chewy, sugary Peeps will taste delicious and look oh so festive!

Bird Nest Cupcakes

Prepare your favorite cupcake recipe. Then, when it’s time to decorate, place a thin layer of chocolate icing over the cupcake. This will allow the remaining decorations to stick to the cupcake. Then, pipe a thick layer of chocolate icing around the outer edge of the cupcake so it resembles a nest. Finally, place a few candied mini-eggs inside the ring of chocolate icing to complete the birds nest.

L’Ecole Culinaire can turn kitchen-time fun with the kids into a regular event for your family. At our St. Louis campus register for our Basic Baking – Beginner classes where kids, under the supervision of our professional chef instructors, can learn to bake cookies, muffins, cupcakes and much more. Our monthly Saturday afternoon classes are designed for budding chefs ages 5-12. Learn more and register at http://www.lecole.edu.

Restaurant Management

Many entrepreneurs and chefs consider managing, or even opening a restaurant–but what types of responsibilities come with that? One major part of the job is balancing the social butterflies in the front of house (FOH) with the serious culinary artistes in the back of house (BOH). FOH staff (servers, hosts and bartenders) deal with customers directly, while the BOH staff (chefs, line cooks, dishwashers) does not–this creates the greatest source of conflict between the two.

Excellent communication and conflict resolution are the keys to managing a happy FOH and BOH staff. Trying to keep a smooth line of communication between the two is important as it reduces conflicts such as a customer receiving the wrong order or not getting their food in a timely manner. However, you can’t always eliminate such situations, that’s why conflict resolution is equally important. Attempting to resolve disputes between your FOH and BOH at the end of the night makes for a much more pleasant atmosphere tomorrow. Here are a couple tips for effective conflict resolution in the workplace:

  1. Assume positive intent. Give each party the benefit of the doubt. Approaching situations like this with an open mind to each side will help each person feel like their voice is being heard.
  1. Clearly define roles and responsibilities. Making sure that the responsibilities and duties of each role in the restaurant are clarified to all employees so as to help them understand and accept what is expected of them. For example, politely make it clear to servers that apologizing for mistakes or mishaps is part of a server’s job, even if it is not their fault, as their role is customer service.

A restaurant manager will constantly work at making these two very different sections of the restaurant co-exist in harmony. It’s a challenging task, but certainly one that never brings a dull moment!