Capstone project information was the focus of this class with no actual cooking, just lecture and discussion. We learned about menu development, food costs and cost controls, equipment issues, public health concerns, food purchasing, labor costs, and a lot of discussion on menu develpment. It’s important to understand the technical details because the idea of having of food related business for many of us is just a fantasy and based on some general information we’ve read about or been told about by someone in the business, but not based on the reality of today’s food prices and client behaviors. If you haven’t already noticed, people are having trouble paying their bills so eating cheaply is a trend right now–just like the article in October’s Oprah magazine about saving money by coloring your own hair, people are cooking at home more. Highly unlikely lines will be forming to sign up for a personal chef service charging even more than restaurant food. I’m relieved I don’t have to make a living as a personal or private chef right now but that was really one of my original plans. I also want to teach people how to cook, classes, privately, or for the food bank. Our class today is a wake up call for making a profit from the dream business. Time for me to get to work writing up my menu, equipment and supply list, and costing and pricing draft. For the capstone project I am using a sushi class as an example of a class I will teach. I will price out the menu for this one class, but I’ll develop menus for several other classes. For research I have been attending Central Market cooking classes this year (and I attended a few starting in 2007 since I’ve had this idea for a long time). I attended Sushi 101 last year, and then on October 1, 2009 I attended Sushi 2. It was good to observe the instructor and note the equipment and supplies used. I spoke to the instructor after the class about my interest in teaching classes on Japanese cooking, my attendance at the culinary school and she actually asked me to teach a class at Central Market! This would be an awesome experience as well as an opportunity to market my Chef Julia business, so I am working on some ideas to give her.
 

My signature dish, sukiyaki