Planning a menu is a difficult task. The fact that some items are seasonal only makes it more difficult. It’s for this reason that many new chefs struggle with creating a menu. Every restaurant customer should keep in mind just how difficult it is, as it will make you appreciate the menu selection even more.
Foods taste best when they’re picked at the peak of freshness, which is why seasonal items, fresh from the farm are so much better. Let’s be honest, those blueberries in the winter are not as tasty or fresh as they are when they are in season. The same goes for tomatoes, as they’re both things that are best when in season. There is a difference between good and great and an experienced chef knows this. A tomato in the wintertime can taste good in a salad. While in the summer it would taste great. It’s these small things that play a huge role in the menu creation process.
Locally grown is always the best. Chefs and farmers make for perfect friends. It’s all about supply and demand. A farmer’s livelihood depends on it, as does a chef’s. It’s a relationship that goes as far back as time. A good chef will know the names and numbers of all the local farmers by heart. It’s this dedication to quality that translates into customer satisfaction. A customer will know at first bite if a chef is using second-rate ingredients. The first thing a customer does, when eating food like this, is head to the online review sites. It’s the unhappy customers that tend to be the most vocal when it comes to reviewing.
Never be surprised if you don’t see out of season items on the menu. In fact, it’s a sign of a good chef and a good dining establishment. Quality should always be the number one concern of any chef. A chef is only as good as their ingredients and all of culinary skills in the world can’t make up for poor quality ingredients. Every person that has eaten a bad meal of out of season foods knows this first hand.
Always remember what’s in season. It can be easy to forget when your favorite foods are in season, so you are going to want to pay close attention. That way you can check the menus at your local restaurants. It’s not uncommon for restaurants today to put their menus online. This is great because you can check them out before visiting. It also gives you the ability to scour over several different menus, ensuring that you’ll get exactly what you want. It’s just one of the many ways that the digital age has improved the lives of eaters.
Eating and cooking seasonal makes sense. A good chef will only use the best ingredients available. Which translates into only using things in the proper season. By doing so they ensure the absolute best experience for the guest. That’s what each and every chef should be after. It’s all about serving the best food possible on your plate. A good chef knows and does this each and every time they plate an order.
Below is an infographic on months in which fruits and vegetables are in season: