resturant service comparison Zack Kalb

26 11 2008

When comparing our schools resturants service to the one at mercat, there was a number of differences. From their tapas menu, the decor, and also the service. The Mercat was a very interesting way to see what we were taught in service. To start, when we first walked through the door, we were confused on where to go. With it being in a hotel you would believe that we would have had help to find our way around. When we finally got seated, i noticed the decor was off for a spanish resturant. You would also believe that they would have spanish servers. Upon receiving the wine, the manger had poured it in the wrong glass. This had made me think twice.The tapas menu was very good. There was not one dish that i had a problem with. i enjkoyed all of it.Althoguh people were very slow to spot silverware on the table, if the ven did at all. besides the service not being up to par with what we were taught, it was a very great experince to go through as a class. it opened up our mind and eyes to see how service bad service could really mess up the whole experiance.


Mercat Service- Matt J.

24 11 2008

After visiting the Mercat it’s obvious that good consistent service is easier said than done. Upon entering the dining room, you get the feeling that it is a fine dining establishment with high quality service. However, once the meal begins, you see many flaws with their service. We ordered one red wine and one white which were both served in the wrong glasses. The first bottle was opened with poor presentation and the manager kept the cork instead of placing it on the table. At Chataigne, we never place the bottle on the table until finished with pouring and the cork is presented to the person ordering. The food itself was delicious but each course and each dish should have been served with additional utensils to facilitate the sharing of the tapas themed items.  The dirty dishes were removed quickly and efficiently and the server was attentive throughout the meal. Overall, the service was weak but the food itself helped cover up any holes in the rest of the experience.


3 11 2008

    Going to culinary school was a unforgettable experience for me, but more than ever will be the memories that my corholt  shares. At the end program, right before externship we all got a chance to work together in the school restaurant call ” CHATIGNE”, where we got a chance to display most of the skills we learned in the previous class and work as a team.

    The ”CHATAIGNE” has a fine dining setting that is more on the casual side, we also have a bar that serves non-alcohol drinks. we a have a window in the back of the restaurant so that the customer that come to dine can see first hand the chef instructor and the students prepare meals. We have 60 seats and nice music playing in the background.  The restaurant is more a student focus class, so you won’t see too many very fancy thing there and and depending on the class at the time the service can vary so it won’t be very consistent. The staff here is trained to meet good customer service, and to help each other out when they can do so.

   Right before before the class was about to end, we went on a field trip to a restaurant call EVA’S. EVA’S is a new fine dining in the downtown area that serves American contemporary food. The service were just like the servce that we do at the the CHATAIGNE. the only thing that I seen different was that they have a Private dinning for guest  and that when you walk in the place you can tell that it cost some money to make the place look pretty as it did. The kitchen was also very quiet there, and they had alcohol at there bar.I also notice that instead of putting two forks down when we set our table, they use one and just exchange the dirty one when done, but you would have to have pretty good experience to keep up with that. Also there kitchen is smaller that the one at the CHATAIGE, I guess the student will have more space to fix any mistakes.

  Both restaurants are good with their service from what i have seen, EVA’S have professionals that been working there job for some time now, and the CHATAIGE have students that have goals to make it the shoes of some of the employees there. I had a good experience at both places and can’t wait to start my career in the culinary field.

Fine Dining Vs. Not-so-fine Dining – Kremer

3 11 2008

Before I started going to school here, I looked at my job as a lowly, unrespected position that had nothing to offer to me. At the time, I was a cook at Aurelio’s Pizzeria in Crown Point, Indiana. As I progressed farther and farther in the program, I learned what being in a “real” kitchen was from various chefs and my classmates. All the while, I was learning skills that I could actually apply at work. Towards the third quarter of the program, I started to see that the skills I learned making a few hundred pizzas a night at my job were actually helping me prepare for the road ahead. I started asking myself, is being a cook at a small town pizza shop really that different than being a cook at a fine dining restaurant? Both settings place the cook in a hot, cramped kitchen where being fast and efficient is crucial. Muscle memory and acting on the fly, long shifts and late nights. Now I realize while there are quite a few differences between the two, ultimately they are the same. My experiences that I thought were meaningless in the culinary world have actually prepared me to work in the “real” culinary world.                                                                                                    – Kremer


30 10 2008

                                                                                                                 Chardae T.


In the beginning I was nowhere near passionate about working in the front of the house. If i would’ve been given the option I would,ve stayed in the kitchen hands down. Although I’ve never worked in a restaurant prior to my experience in the cafe I always heard about the apparent seperation between the front and back of the house. while working in both locations I have gained a new found respect for servers, bartenders, bussiers, and everyone that has to deal directly with the public and there scrutiny. I was so glad to be apart of the cohort that I have after being in the front and back of the house. With us there is no lines of seperation, when we see a problem no matter whose responsibility it might be we work together to fix it. If there was ever a hand to be lent, it was given without having to pull teeth. I am aware that all my future experiences might not be so pleasant, but i also know what I need to do in order to make things work between the two departments. because, in the end if no one likes the service no matter how good the food is they won’t come back and everyone will suffer the consequences. All in all, I really enjoyed my time in the cafe. My views still haven’t changed too much though, I still favor being behind the scenes, but I don’t mind helping the people in the front either. So to all of the front of the house staffs across the land, MY HAT GOES OFF TO YOU!

Food Service Experience Darcel M.

14 08 2008


My sole purpose for getting a job was to experience a real industry kitchen for myself and apply the skills and knowledge that I had learned during classes at CHIC. My first job was in Chicago at the Walnut Room in Macy’s as a line cook. I was not very experienced and knew very little about the food service industry. Thankfully I looked for a job right around the holiday season because that was the time they needed quite a few people to work. Had it been after or before the busy season I don’t believe I would have gotten the job do to my lack of experience.


I looked forward to working the entire time I was there. It was while I was working there that I learned about the job of a line cook as well as the other numerous jobs and tasks that were performed on a daily bases. I became familiar with the system that the kitchen seemed to flow on. How the prep cooks were the back bone to the line cooks. The relationship between the servers and the chef, as well as between the dishwashers and all the cooks. For every job it was important to maintain your share of the work so that things ran as smooth as possible.  


I worked long hours, a lot of the time it was due to being understaffed. Those were the days I like the best simply because I was able to take on more responsibility and work at other stations besides cold prep and salads. Understaffed days allowed me to move freely throughout the kitchen serving at the broiler and sauté stations. I learned a lot through observing when my station was not as busy. I watched how the chef would call for food to be done, how long it would take, send out orders and place the ticket in a container. At the time I did not know that this job was called expediting. It looked like fun, but I knew I wasn’t ready for that task just yet. I still had so much to learn before the end of the busy season.


Although the restaurant was closed on Christmas day I still worked the day before, so I was unable to be with my family for the holiday. For the first time in my entire life I was alone and without family on a major holiday and in another city. What world was I in? As soon as I asked the question I developed an answer. This is the world of a chef. A cook in my case. Even with all the fun and exciting things I was learning. The skills I developed, thriving off the unexpected happenings in the kitchen, I wondered if this was really the right path for me. Then I came to this conclusion…the good out weighed the bad. Cooking is what I do and have always done. While at work I would feel a certain pride and joy once my dish went out to a diner. I would think to myself, “They’re eating what I prepared!” Not only do I like the constant work and excitement of the kitchen, but I enjoy satisfying the diner. This world that I’m in right now is alright with me.

Fine Dining… By Allie Anderson

25 07 2008

Going into the guest service part of Cafe class, I thought I had it made. I was a server at Half Time Sports Bar in Romeoville for almost 2 years. But fine dining gourmet food and being a cocktail waitress are two very different things. For starters, I never had to set a table. Everyone sat at the bar or at the high tops with bar stools about as tall as me. The tables were set with a fork and knife rolled into a napkin – thats it. No water glasses (who drinks water at a bar…) no dimly lit candles, and no white table cloth. And the walls were covered with dart boards, neon lights, advertisments from beer companies, and signed pictures of slightly “famous” people that have been in the establishment.

The food matched the decor. Pizza, burgers, and anything fried was mostly what was ordered. The servers took the orders, ran the food, and bussed their own tables. The only thing that they didn’t have to do was drink orders (that was my job). Clearly this was different from cafe because we had food runners, bar backs, etc. The food itself was also much different. I usually worked last call, so a lot of already drunk people came in from bowling alleys, pool halls, or just other bars that closed early and wanted a round of beers and some buffalo wings. The advantages were obvious. I was pretty young at the time and it wasn’t hard to get a good tip out of drunk older men. On the other hand, I took the job to start getting my way into the food industry. However, I learned nothing about culinary arts from a tray of shots and a basket of onion rings.

Overall, Cafe was a pleasant experience – aside from polishing silverware. It taught me a lot about fine dining and the way a dining room is actually run. For instance, at Half Time I always talked to men first and usually ignored the women. Mainly because if a man is any kind of a man, he will pick up the check. And once again, a man will definately tip me better. In cafe, we learned to always start with the women and give your attention to everyone at the table. Half Time was a good experience, but I value the ideas Chef Tim taught to me much more.