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Video:Tips for Creating a Restaurant Menu

with Executive Chef Brian Young

Creating a menu is a process that involves many factors, from seasonality to cost to customer demand. Learn what executive chef Brian Young from Tavern on the Green has to say about creating menus for different functions.See Transcript

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Transcript:Tips for Creating a Restaurant Menu

Hi, I'm Brian Young, Executive Chef at Tavern on The Green in New York City. Here for About.com, and today, I'm going to explain how to create a menu.

Prioritize The Elements of Your Menu

I would say that every menu has its own process, because every menu has its own set of circumstances that need to be fulfilled. Whether it's flow on the menu, whether it's seasonality. Whether it's a cost function. Whether it's simple customer desire.

For example, if you're catering or you're doing a party, that's like say thousands of people, you have to create a menu that can be of excellent quality of a predictable time frame of a do-ability.

A la Carte Menus

Now on an ala carte basis, um, which is probably your most typical menu, um you do that about 4 to 6 times a year, that you change the menu and that is very seasonal driven. So what you try to do in a seasonal driven menu is you try to take advantage of opportunities that open themselves in the market. Be it the availability of certain ingredients, the natural pairings that may come about based upon a particular region.

Menus By Season

In spring we're going to use fava beans, morels, shad, um all, soft shell crabs, all harbingers of spring. But, we're going to definitely offer them because, you know, that is what a Spring Menu should incorporate, at least in the New York region. If it's summer, you want to take advantage of tomatoes, just ingredients that sort of speak to that particular time, in essence.

Menus for Events

If we do a specified menu, like a menu for wine pairing of a specific region, then you're going to have to open the books and do some specific research. Say we're doing a wine menu of Spain - I think that there's a myriad of sources that you would use. Um, some of it just basic knowledge you may have, some of it familiarity with ingredients, and some of it, you know you have to go and find it. In order to fulfill the terms of what would be considered a great job on that menu. The strive for authenticity, on some level, has to speak to that in order for the connections to be made.

Menu Design and Writing

And also, how you write the menu, uh, the verbiage and I think that the wording of a dish and the flow of it and the choice of words is very important in expressing the essence of what a dish is trying to achieve.

It's a very complete process, when you're a chef, you come up with an idea and you end up executing it and marketing it and serving it, and following it through to its end user. You have to know clearly who you are as a chef and you should use that as your foundation. Then you have to dedicate yourself to always trying to teach yourself something new or you can constantly develop.

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