Building the Cantina

Building the Cantina: Recipes and Costing

As obvious as it is, food is the most important element of a restaurant. However, getting the recipes is not easy at all, specifically to materialize them, to get them as you first imagined in order to meet your and your customers expectatives. 

If you are a professional chef with good studies and years of experience on your back, it’s kinda easy to make something more or less interesting. But for a rookie, a kitchen underdog like me,  this process is hard and slow. Anyway, I have my system. I guess it’s not exclusively mine, but I would like to share it with you. 

The recipes

Everything starts with an idea that I figure how to make. After this sparkle of creativity, I do my research on the internet and cooking books, to check what wiser and more experienced people have done before me. I pick some recipes and contrast them. Then I take this bit off this one, add that other bit from that one… until I build my own personal version of a recipe. 

But all of this is theory. The important part comes in the cooking of the dish. There is when I realize what is working and what is not. I share the dish with Kasia, who gives me her opinion about it and, after this exchange of impressions, I write down some improvements to cook the recipe for a second time. 

However, sometimes anything comes to plan and I have to start from scratch. This is very disappointing, I feel it like a failure, but it’s good for me at the end of the day, as is telling me I need to work more on the dish, do some more research, do my homework and chop chop. When you lack experience and knowledge, research on YouTube, blogs and cooking books is crucial. Welcome to my cooking school! 

Usually, my recipes are good to go after cooking them for a second time. I’m not a perfectionist, I don’t work on a dish until extenuation, just until it is good enough. It’s better to have something that works as soon as possible. There will be time for improvement later, because the more you will cook the dish, the better you will get at it. You will master it to correct it on the text. But, as usual, practice, practice, practice. 

The costing

OMG, the costing! It determinantes if your food is profitable and how much. Your inner chef meets your inner business person. It is something absolutely necessary if you plan to start your own food business, but it’s not fun at all, it’s a total headache. It will kill your passion for food and all the amusement you have for cooking, your kid side, let’s say; and raise your analytical and methodical one, your grown up side. There’s no creativity here, just numbers, money, grams, milliliters and lots of maths. 

This is what I like the less in Building the Cantina, but I know that I have to get it right, 100% perfect, in order to determinate the viability of the business and to show to possible investors that I have done my homework, that I know what I have in my hands and they will see their money and some more at the end of the day. 

Photos by Ameen Fahmy and Krzysztof Hepner on Unsplash

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