HA 2360: Part 3

Haven’t written a post for a few weeks because it was spring break.  But now I’m back!

This week in my Foodservice Management, Theory and Practice class, executive chefs from the Cheesecake Factory spoke to us about the key to their success-their menu!  They specifically talked about menu development and how they achieve consistency despite having a menu with +200 items.

Chef Bob Okura,  executive corporate chef for the Cheesecake Factory, gave our lecture on Monday, and accompanied with other chefs, came to our lab to show us how to make two of the items on their menu.  In one class, there are about five groups of five people.  Each group had to make the same two recipes (Santorini Farro Salad and Chicken Bellagio) and follow them perfectly.

We would then be graded on taste and presentation according to Cheesecake Factory’s precise standards. The winning group would win gold medals, and the best group out of all the lab groups for the week would win the highly sought-after Cheesecake Factory plates:

c

 

The first item we made was the Santorini Farro Salad: Tzaziki sauce topped with farro, and cucumbers, tomatoes, beets, red onion and feta cheese all tossed with vinaigrette dressing.

e

Looks like the picture on the menu, no?

f

 

The second item we made was Chicken Bellagio: basil oil pasta (1/2 pound of pasta…huge portions!) topped with breaded chicken, Parmesan cream sauce, prosciutto, and arugula salad.

d

 

This one also looks like how it does on the menu…looks like the odds are in our favor to win this…

g

 

And sure enough, we did win! The key to our win was that we cooked the chicken thoroughly.  It turns out many other groups did not cook it enough and it was pink in the center.  Here’s my group with our medals:

a

We got to eat both of the dishes we made, but what’s a Cheesecake Factory meal without cheesecake?  They gave each group a slice of their Fresh Banana Cream Cheesecake and the Oreo Dream Extreme Cheesecake:

b

Thanks Cheesecake Factory!

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