Here Comes The Holiday Gauntlet, PAZAZ™ Style!

If you are in the food and beverage industry (especially in the fine dining end of things) you know that the Holiday Season brings with it a myriad of challenging meal preparations, service logistics, and reservation/table configuration juggling.

The beauty of this season is that these “logistics” will expand your intellectual horizons, and if properly executed, provide a real sense of accomplishment. The Holiday Season begins with Thanksgiving, followed by Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Years Eve… however for posterity sake I will begin this Holiday Season with Halloween. Heck, we’re already wearing a mask so in effect its been Halloween all year long.

Halloween is sort of the ramp up with no new menu just the difficulty in dealing with people in costume, in Vegas. Vegas is like no other because of the fact that many attempt to lose their identity during the year and couple that with a costume… you have the potential for unbridled debauchery.

Keeping a lid on the guests in costume while controlling the dining experience provides some semblance of normalcy for the surrounding guests. Why you would want to go out on Halloween for dinner speaks volumes to me. It is the thought of excitement, what you might see, and what you might be able to get away with that compels diners to place their collective toes in the water and gauge the temperature of the experience.

The real test for the restaurant is compiling a menu that satisfies the expectations of the diners while giving the kitchen the ability to execute the manufacturing of the food reflecting wonderful flavor, beautiful presentation, in a timely sequence. Turning the tables and providing the guest a memorable dinner is very important during the Holiday Season. Most guests are with family and friends thus adding to the joyful dynamic interlude between plane arrivals and exists or just the departure that takes them across town.

Each menu representing the different Holidays begins with organization. There is the thought process of giving twists to age old dishes (not straying to far) enhancing a flavor that might become a new old dish. It’s very important to translate recipes well in advance to the kitchen staff to make sure the hot side or cold side are not overwhelmed with too many dishes and too many prep lists. While the kitchen is the backbone of the restaurant it is the translation of new menus to the front of the house that guarantees success as they are the delivery conduit between kitchen and guest.

As we begin this new season of menus and experiences I think we must give thanks that this year is coming to a close. Lets bring back the optimistic fervor for next year, hoping and praying for some semblance of normality followed by an inordinate amount of success for all those we love and care about and especially this great country we live in.