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Having spent yet another day listening to a food industry client relate one unpleasant chef related incident after another, it is small wonder that chefs get a bad rap. The autobiographies of two of the most visible ‘bad boys’ in the industry confirm a suspicion that some chefs bring to the workplace a hefty amount ...
The Domino Effect of Menu Planning The menu has such hidden power that it can make or break a restaurant/pub/cafe business. It can be the reason why there is chaos in the kitchen, out of control labour costs and poor service. It has the power to generate profit destroying waste, increase utility bills exponentially and ...
Elevating Food from Fodder   Fodder – noun ‘food, especially dried hay or straw, for cattle and other livestock’. On a corner of a Dublin street can be counted seven cafes. All have queues out the door at lunchtime. Having chosen one, queued briefly, decided to grab and go and once again faced the disappointment ...
There was a horrendous practice termed ‘death by a thousand cuts’in a far eastern country until the early years of the 20th century. While reading this morning of yet another restaurant closure in Dublin and the promise of another 25 to open in the near future; this practice came to mind. Is it ‘death by ...
THE PLASTIC ‘ELEPHANT’ IN THE RESTAURANT ‘ROOM’ Plastic is in the news at the moment. It has occurred to us that drowning our planet in plastic, intoxicating the fish that feed us, the air that sustains us, the rivers that nourish us, the seas that protect us is a horribly bad idea. This conversation has ...
A google search for ‘No Shows in Restaurants’ turned up 97,300,000 matches. Goes to show that this issue is pretty much universal. Why do people across the globe book a restaurant and then not show up, don’t phone, don’t text, don’t email, don’t snapchat, intsagram, facebook, whatsapp or bother at all to let the restaurant ...
Here are a some interviews from a recent course.
Irish officialdom may need to examine its conscience in relation to how it is making increasingly stressful, conflicting, challenging and downright unreasonable demands on the ‘Brave’ ( as one well known bank puts it) who put their money down to keep those officials in jobs. Is there a valid reason why your officers, entreated with ...
Failte Ireland tweeted this morning about the great news that 190 New Chefs have just finished a ten week training course and are about to be welcomed into the industry. This is good news indeed and I am sure that restaurants all over the country will be lining up for this new enthusiastic talent. Having ...
The Self Employed Who in their right mind would be self employed in Ireland today? Government bodies, ministers, wanna be ministers, wanna be councillors are all over the self employed like a summer heat rash at the moment, vote cards in hand.  But, reading a fantastic piece today by Elaine Murphy of The Winding Stair ...
Why are we Talking about Calories when Sugar seems to be the Problem? The Irish government is in the process of pushing through legislation which will oblige food service outlets to post calories beside dishes on menus. This debate has been trundling along for some time now with all sides digging in for their own ...
Food on the edge, the two day chef conclave in Galway was easily the most enjoyable, informative and thought provoking industry event I have attended for many years. It was also the most testosterone laden, in spades. The format resembled opening gifts on Christmas Day, you never know what you are going to get until ...
The great American Restaurateur Danny Meyer has a lot to say about hospitality, and as the owner of a great many successful restaurants in many different genres, he knows what he is talking about. Rereading his terrific book ‘Setting the Table’, it is striking that hospitality internally and externally at it’s most fundamental is a ...
Georgina Campbell  of Georgina Campbell  Ireland Guides recently noted “Many a good kitchen is let down by front of house, and poor serviceis an issue in too many establishments of all types, so proprietors urgently need to understand the value of investing in staff training.” So, we need to talk about the customer. Visting London ...
Taking a perfect apple pie from the oven, transforming a bowl of ruby raspberries to a soft summer fool, poaching wild salmon to dusky pink; these are some of the exquisite pleasures of being a cook. To those for whom food is a fascination and constant source of satisfaction, cooking is not only therapeutic but ...
A café or restaurant is like an orchestra. If you have ever seen and heard one in full and perfect performance, it is a joy. However, if the guy with the triangle, or the lady on the flute, or the dude on the bass makes their entrance a split second too early or late, chaos ...
A curious change has come over the restaurant/café/pub industry in recent years which I have been watching with interest. Many have been really good, such as the idea that anyone can open a café, restaurant, pub, take away or pop up; just as long as you have the money and the passion- more anon. Which ...
If there is one word that seems to encapsulate Blathnaid Bergin’s consultative style it is practical. Anyone who has completed the Ballymaloe 12 Week Certificate course will already be familiar with her no-nonsense yet expert approach to setting up a business in the Irish food industry. One of the key elements of the Ballymaloe 12 ...
Georgina Campbell recently commented on what she felt are the poor levels of service in the hospitality sector in Ireland. No sooner was the ink dry on the article than numerous voices came to the defence of the service sector. Not true, they cried. Look at how much the Americans love us and havent we ...
What does it really matter when another restaurant closes? It is just another business corpse to be tossed on the mountain of others whose bones are long since scorched by the sun. What does it matter and does anyone really care? Working in the industry, I see the struggle day by day. I hear the ...
‘It’s a question of doing the ordinary things extraordinarily well.’ (F.Prager- Founder of Movenpick) Irish Publicans are very good at what they do. They love their pubs and are proud of what they create for their very loyal, if slightly more impoverished customers. They are constantly looking at ways in which the business can be ...
Doing for caterers what Feargal Quinn did for shops in his TV series Retail Therapy, professional restaurant adviser Blathnaid Bergin has never been busier, writes Yvonne Kerr. Farmers Journal Country Living – 16th April – View PDF
QUESTION I run a 60-seater restaurant in a reasonably busy market town in the South East. Our offering is not quite fine dining, but at the upper end of the bistro scale and influenced heavily by classic French cooking. Traditionally we were a restaurant where people came for special occasions, birthdays, anniversaries, or family celebrations. ...
Pub Challenge Another Pub is in trouble. Money has been carefully spent on refurbishing it in an effort to entice in new customers (and keep the old) and stave off the recession by keeping the offering fresh. However the menu and the kitchen team have not been subject to the same refurbishment as the owner ...
We were on TV3 – The Morning Show yesterday morning.  
Can restaurateurs return to school to boost their profits? Blathnaid Bergin says there is more to running a successful food outlet than good cooking… Read the full article on Independent.ie >
Check us out in The Irish Examiner – January 8th 2011 Download the PDF here
January 5th 2011. The New Year period saw frantic efforts to inject joy, optimism and all round good cheer into the uncertain times ahead. A lovely program on Radio 1 on Jan 31st at midday focused on positivity and all agreed that it was good to be positive and great to give thanks. Amen to ...
Having just completed the first exhilirating and energising 12 Week Certificate Course in Restaurant & Kitchen Management at the School one thing is clear, it pays to be very well informed. As my work in the industry continues, I am advising operators who are facing seismic challenges. I have such admiration for people who are ...
Trying to define what makes a restaurant great is like trying to catch a moonbeam and hold it in your pocket. Is it the lighting, the food, the service, the decor, the ambiance, the pitcures on the walls?  Is it the orchestral feeling you get when every instrument is in tune and the conductor is ...
August 23rd 2010 and a group of very enthusiastic people with a dream to open a food service business hit the ground running with a colourful and fun introduction to each other and the realisation the the next 12 weeks is going to really hard work and a lot of fun. Personal profiling for strengths ...
Many publicans would much prefer that someone else would worry about their food operation while they look after what they were born to do- ‘create a convivial atmosphere and serve a great pint’. That however is the first and most critical mistake any publican with a food operation can make. How many publicans would walk ...
For a country which has been gifted with some of the greatest natural food resources in europe, Croatians take their culinary tradition fairly lightly. Having recently extolled the virtues of our little shoreside haven, we went on to discover that great food is a somewhat infrequent occurence in this neck of the country. We were ...
Croatia is an interesting country. we are in southern croatia, about 20 minutes south of Dubrovnik in a gorgeous seaside village called Cavtat. Two weeks to chill out. At 8.15 it is already 27degrees but the gentle seabreeze allows some relief. a brisk walk around a jagged peninsula is hardly exercise when the view is ...