July 31, 2007

los angeles food/beverage/hospitality jobs classifieds - craigslist




Here's me trying to NOT be viciously catty and spew a bazillion curse words at the screen. A friend sent this CraigsList ad to me, saying sarcastically, "OOH! THE PERFECT JOB! (ROFLMAO)".

_____ is looking for someone for a manager-type position to include creating new food ideas.

40-hour per week salaried position
looking for a creative "foody" personality
overseeing staff of 10-15 people
organization a must!

We're limited in space so we only have small appliances. If you think you can be creative with them, then this is the job for you!

A Degree in related field a plus!
Cafe experience a plus!

$30,000 annual gross salary
2 weeks paid vacation/sick time
So, okay. Let's approach this piece by piece, starting at the end and work our way back up, shall we?

This is a full-time job, no mention of benefits except for 10 days paid-time-off, and the employee would get paid only $14.42 an hour gross pay. That's before taxes come out. And heaven forbid the employee should need to go to a dentist or something.

Oh, and you want a degree! Do you know how much even just an associates degree costs? Phooey.

Now, i get that you're trying to convey that it's a limited space, but i think that what you MEAN is that you don't have an exhaust hood, so that means you only have a panini press, a microwave, maybe a soup warmer, and other little tabletop cooking apparatus. This isn't that big of a deal, but you need only a sandwich-maker for that. Soup/Sandwich/Salad menu. That does not require the talents of a trained, degreed professional.

So, for this lousy under-$15-per-hour job, the employee is also supposed to manage as many as 15 employees? If these are the same pool of people i have to recruit from, and I'm paying at least $15/hr, you're in Big Trouble.

Even if I could afford to live in Los Angeles on only $30k/yr for a FULL TIME JOB, (that's gross, not net, mind you!) I still don't see how this job could be appealing in the very least. Having to schedule and manage up to 15 potential flakes and still be responsible for developing and creating a new menu is not worth $15 an hour.

Come work for me instead. The worst that could happen is that you might have to clean the stove or take out trash after an event.

July 18, 2007

Recruiting for catering staff on CraigsList

I've been recruiting additional workers for the larger of the catered events that I do. When i say 'larger', that could be misleading...I'm talking 8 to 30 people. Under 8, I can manage myself... but more than that, i need help. The trouble with these small events is that they're too big to do alone, but i don't do enough of them to keep any size staff employed for more than 2-3 days a month.

Usually that works out fine. If i have 50 people on the list of potential workers, and only 4 people tell me that they're available, i'm totally set. The kitchen work is intense, but we kitchen people are freaks and get off on the rush. The servers pretty much have to push food around and be pleasant while doing it. That shouldn't be a challenge.

I'm pretty sure i've posted this before, but SHEEEEEEESH, people, if you're gonna send a photo, i don't need your entire underwear model portfolio, i don't want to look at your pouty, unshaven, pretending-i'm-a-cowboy pictures, and last time i checked i don't serve the Nyataimori "naked-girl-as-sushi-buffet", so yeah, wearing some clothes in your photo wouldn't be a bad thing. Also please don't send a photo of you that might look like the mugshot of a serial killer. This effect can often be avoided by, oh, i dunno, smiling in the photo? And if you're going to bother sending a photo, make it one where your face appears larger than a quarter. And is vaguely in focus.

Resumes are another bucket o' fun, and scheduling people for "Face-to-Face" interviews are a gut-busting riot... but i just had to get the photo rant out of the way.

July 16, 2007

Speed up dinner preparation - a few of my tips

Lifehacker posted an article from Real Simple, and readers also posted their comments & suggestions on how to speed up dinner preparation. Here are a few of my tips.
  • Plan what you're cooking in advance Let's say if you're going to make stir-fry, and the rice takes 20 minutes to cook, you can start the rice first, and while it's simmering, chop the veggies and make the sauce. If you leave the rice to the last minute, you'll have the stir fry ready, but have nothing to serve it over. Then you wind up waiting around for the rice to cook while the veggies get cold and then you have to heat the veggies again, wasting more time.
  • chop chop chop If you're cutting stuff up, cut up twice as much. This may sound like a contradiction, but since you've already got the cutting board, peeler and knife out, chopping an extra couple of veggies saves you from doing that mise en place a second time, and now you only have to wash the cutting board once. This works best for veggies like carrots, celery, onion, peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli, snap peas, cabbage, cauliflower, squash & green beans.
    A few things will suffer from advance prep. In general, don't prep things that shouldn't be refrigerated or bruise easily. 1 tomatoes, which, if they're properly ripened, turn to mush once cut. Also, if you refrigerate your tomatoes and i find out about it, i'm coming after you. 2 Potatoes oxidize, but keeping them submerged in water to prevent browning changes the quality of both texture and flavor. Also, refrigeration turns the starches into sugars. Also not desirable. 3 Basil is so fragile that it starts to go bad as soon as it's cut. It's something that should be done as last minute as possible. 4 Garlic gets its pungent garlickyness when the different substances in the garlic combine. the more you crush it, the more intense the flavor... but it also dissipates quickly. It's another 'last minute' thing. Add it to recipes twice: once at the beginning of cooking, and again, just before the end of cooking. Another garlic tip: If you chop/crush garlic and give it a 10 minute rest before using it, you get the most health benefits from it.
  • Use recipes as shopping lists. Let's say that you've decided on the 3 things you're going to cook this week (double batches of course, so that you can eat the extra servings for lunch or freeze the leftovers) Find the recipes, whether online, or from your cookbooks, or your mom's old recipe cards. Then, go on an in-home shopping spree. Do you have the cornstarch you need for the stir-fry? How about the soy sauce? Did you use the last of the breadcrumbs? Do you have enough olive oil? Do you even have dry mustard? You can avoid buying stuff you already have, and be sure you will buy what you don't have. Seems simple, but it's SO easy forget if you have something, and it's much easier to avoid the time-sucking roadblock of missing ingredients.
  • Know which corners are worth cutting. Buying canned beans saves you LOTS of time over soaking & boiling dry beans, and without losing much quality. Frozen, pre-chopped broccoli is (usually) just fine in certain recipes. Frozen, pre-chopped carrots are AWFUL pretty much no matter what. 3-minute microwaved idaho potatoes or sweet potatoes are nearly as good as 45-minute baked ones. Microwaved corn on the cob is almost as delicious as boiled, but frozen corn on the cob is horrific...even though bagged frozen corn kernels are quite nice, and much better than canned.
  • Time is money, even in your own kitchen. Yeah, you can save a few cents by buying a brick of cheese instead of the pre-shredded stuff in the bag. BUT - You're not saving money if you throw out half a brick of dried-out or moldy cheese. Keep that pre-shredded bag in the freezer and it will last forever. Smack it on the counter a few times before opening it, sprinkle out what you need, then chuck it back in the freezer. Another example: If chopped bagged lettuce is more likely to be eaten than full heads of romaine and iceberg (which need to be carefully washed) then pay the premium for the bagged stuff.
  • Clean up time counts, too. It takes a lot longer to take apart and clean the food processor than it does to wash a knife. If you can't put something in the dishwasher, and must instead wash it by hand, are you factoring that into your cooking time as well? In my case, for example, i'd rather use 3 small cutting boards than one big one, because i can fit all the little ones in the dishwasher. Will you destroy what you're making if you stir the pasta with the same spoon as you're using to stir the sauce? Can you maybe throw a few broccoli florets into the water that the carrots have been cooking in? Do you REALLY need to use a steamer basket, EVER? Try to use as few cooking & serving things as possible, short of eating from the same pot you cooked in. (I'm guilty of that one...)
So, my dear readers, got any other tips?

July 09, 2007

my eBay addiction

  • Chef JoAnna: i've got a problem with ebay. i'm obsessed with getting parts for my Oster Kitchen Center. it's out of control...
  • Friend: LOL. You're an addict.
  • Chef JoAnna: it's just like gambling.
  • Friend: Hahaha. Don't you have a newer machine?
  • Chef JoAnna: Yeah, but this old thing works like a champ. The parts are old, though, so if it breaks, you can't just order a replacement from walmart or target. I need to find extras on ebay.
    Friend: OK, settle down! Am I gonna have to hose you off?

Last thing I ate or drank: iced coffee. Refer to twitter posts. LOL!

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