Super Terrific Tip for Speed-Peeling Potatoes!

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I’ve peeled a lot of potatoes in my day, as have a lot of people. Sometimes when I’m doing it I think to myself “You know, I really like peeling potatoes. Peeling potatoes is kinda nice.” Lately though I’ve been feeling more like “Really? Do I have to? There has to be a better way!”
And there is! And it’s actually really fun too!
This is totally one of those obvious “Why did I never think of this before?” kind of things.

Here it goes!2

Gather however many potatoes you want to use and give them a quick rinse. It helps if you choose some that are mostly kinda the same size.

3

Fill a pot with water and pop them in.

Put the pot on the stove on medium heat, covered, and let them come up to a boil. Boil away for however long it takes them to cook. Half an hour-ish? I always just put them on and do whatever else I need to do in the meantime and poke them with a fork every once in awhile to see how it’s going. If you have really big potatoes, you can just cut them in half to cut down the cooking time if you like.

When  you think they’re about done, get a big bowl of ice water going.

4

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Plunge the potatoes into the ice water (they can all go in together at the same time) and leave them there for about 20 seconds or so. By now, just the outsides will be cool to the touch, but the insides will still be steaming.

6

Pull the potatoes out and put them on a clean tea towel. You can use your hands. They won’t burn your precious pinkies.

7

Use your hands to pull/rub the skins right off. It literally takes about 2 seconds per potato. And it’s awesome.

There you have it! Perfectly cooked, peeled potatoes, all ready to be mashed or sliced, or whatever you like!

I will never make peeled potatoes any other way again, that’s for sure!

The Golden Age Of Cocktails: When Americans Learned To Love Mixed Drinks

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An illustration from The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain, published in 1897. Between the 1860s and 1920, when Prohibition went into effect, American bartending came into its own.

Summertime is the perfect time to indulge in a refreshing cocktail on a balmy night. But before you reach for that minty mojito or sweet sangria, consider stepping out of your modern-day comfort zone and going back to the drinks of 100 years ago.

“Some of the best cocktails that we think about today — the martini, the daiquiri, the Manhattan — those all came out between the 1860s and Prohibition,” says Derek Brown, an award-winning mixologist who has studied the history of alcohol in America.

Historians have dubbed that time span the Golden Age of Cocktails, an era when bartenders got pretty inventive. Brown tells NPR’s Audie Cornish that these bar staples were originally simpler — but perhaps better tasting— than the versions modern-day cocktail lovers are familiar with.

Take, for instance, the daiquiri.

“Most people expect to get a daiquiri when they’re going through a drive-through window in New Orleans … and it’s going to be full of grain alcohol and red coloring and things like that,” Brown says. In other words, it’s got a bad rap. But the original daiquiri, he says, “is really something so simple — it is rum, it’s lime and it’s sugar.”

"For 6 persons": The original daiquiri recipe, as scribbled by Jennings Cox.
“For 6 persons”: The original daiquiri recipe, as scribbled by Jennings Cox.

American engineer Jennings Cox is credited with inventing the daiquiri while working in Cuba in the late 1890s. The story goes that he played around with Bacardi rum to get the perfect flavor, then named the drink after the small town where he worked. The original sheet of paper where he scribbled down the recipe now resides at the University of Miami library.

“There were plenty of people drinking rum then, and using lime and cane sugar. But it was his particular formula that became specifically the daiquiri,” Brown says

The Bacardi rum factory in Cuba. American engineer Jennings Cox is credited with inventing the daiquiri while working in Cuba in the late 1890s. The story goes that he played around with Bacardi rum to get the perfect flavor, then named the drink after the small town where he worked.
The Bacardi rum factory in Cuba. American engineer Jennings Cox is credited with inventing the daiquiri while working in Cuba in the late 1890s. The story goes that he played around with Bacardi rum to get the perfect flavor, then named the drink after the small town where he worked.

The daiquiri stayed in Cuba until U.S. Navy Adm. Lucius Johnson discovered it. Enthralled with the cocktail, the admiral introduced it to Washington, D.C.’s Army and Navy Club in 1909. It spread like wildfire from there, eventually becoming a favorite of Ernest Hemingway and John F. Kennedy.

Another cocktail of the era, the martini, would probably be unrecognizable to barflies who order it today.

“Today you could walk into a bar and you could order a martini, and you might just get warm vodka with a bunch of olives in it,” he says. “[This] masks the real character of the martini. The original martini at its invention was gin, vermouth and orange bitters.”

Bartenders — then and now — would sometimes refer to a martini made according to the original recipe as a “silver bullet” or a “crisp cocktail,” Brown says, because of its incredibly clean and fresh flavor.

The origins of the Manhattan — a cocktail species closely related to the martini — are a bit hazy.

In his book Imbibe!, liquor historian David Wondrich writes that the cocktail was probably invented at the Manhattan Club, a social organization for Democrats in New York.

Another story points to more elite origins: It suggests Lady Randolph Churchill not only was mother to Sir Winston, but also begat this cocktail — she is said to have ordered a combination of rye and vermouth for a toast during a visit to the Manhattan Club.

Jerry Thomas authored the first bartenders guide in 1862. His signature drink was the Blue Blazer, a cocktail he'd light on fire and pass back and forth between two glasses to create a blazing arch.
Jerry Thomas authored the first bartenders guide in 1862. His signature drink was the Blue Blazer, a cocktail he’d light on fire and pass back and forth between two glasses to create a blazing arch.

While we don’t know all the details, we do know that the Golden Age of Cocktails was a time when Americans learned to love mixed drinks.

The first bartenders guide was penned in 1862 by Jerry Thomas, who is considered the father of American mixology. “It really just marks this start of this incredibly creative period in making great cocktails,” Brown says.

Thomas is famous for making bartending an entertainment. His signature drink was the Blue Blazer, a cocktail he’d light on fire and pass back and forth between two glasses to create a blazing arch. (That description reminded us of this “highlight” from the Tom Cruise cinematic oeuvre.) Oh, and he’d do it all with two white rats perched on his shoulders.

This sort of theatrical presentation — and the new savory blends — helped build enthusiasm for alcohol. But it was also blamed for encouraging the kind of rampant overdrinking that inspired women’s suffragists to denounce the societal ills of alcohol, and eventually led to Prohibition in 1920, Brown says.

This spring, the National Archives in Washington, D.C., kicked off Spirited Republic: Alcohol in American History, an exhibit that explores how Americans have both enjoyed and denounced getting tippled throughout history.

10 Tips for an Efficient Hotel Kitchen

DSC02034Not all hotels offer meals; some only serve breakfast.  Others have one or more restaurants integrated into the hotel and offer room service as well.  Small hotels can survive with not much more than a household kitchen provided, of course that it meets the health and safety regulations of the state.  Bigger hotels need bigger kitchens and more equipment.  Whatever the size, every hotel kitchen needs the basics – somewhere to prepare the food, somewhere to cook it, somewhere to store it and a place to clean up.

The bigger the kitchen, the more carefully it needs to be planned. Large kitchens serving hundreds of dishes a day need to have different stations for each function, each with its specialized staff, equipment and supply line.  At the same time, the ingredients need to move smoothly to where they need to be and the finished dishes need to move out as soon as possible after they are ready.  All this needs to happen without the salad chef tripping over the dishwasher, or the pastry chef bumping into the grill.

The complexity of the arrangement will be affected by the complexity of the menu.  A restaurant that offers a large menu may need several ovens, a range, a deep-fryer, a sauté station, a grill, coolers and freezers, as well as the smaller pieces of equipment like blenders, pots and pans and cutting tools.

Here are 10 tips for an efficient hotel kitchen:

  1. Plan, plan, plan.  Visit other hotel kitchens and see what works and what doesn’t. Imagine where the different stations will go and how staff will move from one area to another.  Determine the line dishes will follow from chef to table.  Pay careful attention to preparation and clean-up areas.  Know what your menu will be so that you can include sufficient stations.
  2. Buy the best equipment you can afford, but don’t buy more than you need.
  3. Recruit and train excellent staff.  Again, don’t hire more kitchen workers than you need.
  4. Only invest in gadgets that actually enhance your efficiency.  Some favourites among chefs are:
  5. Top choice among chefs is the popular grater inspired by a basic woodworking rasp. It is an easy way to grate hard cheeses, chocolate, ginger nutmeg and garlic.
  6. Knives of all kinds.  Some prefer serrated edges, others prefer ceramic knives.  They must be durable and easy to keep sharp.
  7. A digital scale, which offers easy and accurate measurements, essential for consistent quality of recipes.
  8. A spice grinder for the freshest, most authentic tasting spices.
  9. Colour-coded flexible cutting mats. By using only blue mats for fish or yellow ones for vegetables, and so on, the chefs can avoid possible cross-contamination while easily transferring chopped materials to a bowl or cooking pan.
  10. Chefs prepare, chop and measure their ingredients before starting to cook.  Small glass dishes are perfect for this task.  Many are needed.

Career Objective of a Hotel Manager

Hotel managers must meet a number of different objectives on the job, from building effective teams and improving customer service to figuring out ways to bring in more business. By meeting or exceeding these objectives, you improve your prospects of career advancement. Although you can qualify for this position with a high school diploma in small hotels, large facilities with many services usually require professionals with a bachelor’s degree in hotel management or business administration.2-_rezeption_mit_models

  • Increasing Business: Given the fierce competition in the hotel marketplace, a successful hotel manager must establish strategies to identify new business opportunities and more customers. This might involve conducting market research to study customers’ preferences as well as enhancing the hotel’s service features to increase repeat business.This can help ensure a steady supply of customers to your facility.
  • Promoting Teamwork: Hotel managers must work to build effective teams in order to achieve the company’s goals and vision. When staff members work as a cohesive unit, they tend to do their jobs more quickly and efficiently, whether they are front-desk staff or cleaning personnel. One way to establish an effective team is to invite their ideas on how to improve processes. Involving them in making major decisions and setting departmental objectives not only gives your hotel a greater resource of ideas, it also builds morale because employees feel they have a stake in the company’s success. This in turn leads to greater productivity.
  • Increasing Interactions: When a hotel manager facilitates greater interaction between guests and staff, he also improves customer satisfaction.Walking around the facility also gives you the opportunity to greet customers, ask questions and detect customer service areas that need improvement.
  • Meeting Requirements: Managers must ensure facilities comply with federal and state laws and institutional policies. Hotels are regulated on a number of fronts, ranging from cleanliness and fire safety standards to employment law and contract law. Most hotels also operate under strict guidelines from corporate management.

Madhuban Academy of Hospitality Administration & Research – Mahar is the finest institution for those looking to forge a career in the Hospitality Industry. www.maharedu.com

Tips on Being a Good Manager at a Hotel

Hotel managers work — often tirelessly — to maintain smooth-running establishments and keep their customers coming back.flap_envelop-01

Being successful as a hotel manager, however, isn’t always an easy feat. To make a positive name in this industry — and, by doing so, enable yourself upward mobility — you must dedicate yourself to the task and go beyond the call of duty to satisfy and delight customers.

Always Follow Up: Whether it’s a breakfast cook communicating concern over the changes in the dining room schedule or a guest trying to express a criticism, listening actively and following up are key duties of a hotel manager.

Look at the Big Financial Picture: Divide all of your expenses into logical categories, and look at the categories in total. With the help of some other hotel workers, look critically at where your money is going and think about ways in which you could streamline or reallocate these funds. Aim specifically to move money into the categories about which customers commonly complain to improve the overall customer experience.

Don’t Skimp On Inspections: As you busy yourself with the day-to-day tasks necessary to keep your hotel running, it is easy to allow yourself to become chained to your desk. It is important, however, that you not skip one major duty of a hotel manager — room inspections. Make it a point to inspect at least five rooms per week, selecting these rooms at random. When you inspect each room, look for, and make note of, things that need repairs. Also, monitor the work of the housekeeping staff, as the cleanliness of your rooms can make a major difference in customers’ perceptions of your hotel.

Cherish Your Staff: Having high quality workers on your team is integral to creating the best customer experience. Always remember to treat your staff members like the valuable resources they are.

Madhuban Academy of Hospitality Administration & Research – Mahar is the finest institution for those looking to forge a career in the Hospitality Industry.

Hospitality Tips for Achieving Top Rated Customer Satisfaction

Great customer websites improve customer experience:housekeeping

Customer satisfaction has to be one everyone’s mind as they begin the work day. These days, customers start their hotel searches online and spend time comparing prices and reading reviews. If the customer is a smartphone or tablet user, the time spent studying and reviewing various choices increases, meaning hospitality impressions begin long before the customer walks through the door. So how does a hotel, independent or chain, satisfy customers and win repeat business?

Guest satisfaction improves when you know your customer:

Customer satisfaction is more than just a smile when you greet a customer. It’s more than customer satisfaction surveys and customer satisfaction tips. Knowing the customer base is at the heart of it. A customer booking a stay at a beachside resort has different expectations than a customer staying in a convention hotel. When you learn to master the needs of the customer and to deliver consistently and effectively on those needs you begin to create overwhelming customer loyalty.

Improve customer satisfaction by addressing customer complaints quickly:

Service recovery is the last line of defense to your customer satisfaction. The hotel industry can be a tough one with requests and complaints coming in online, by phone, email or in person with the guest leaning over the welcome desk. One of the key responsibilities of any guest services manager or customer service leader is customer satisfaction measurement.

Train your staff on improving customer service:

When management provides a well-trained staff with an emphasis on working together for the benefit of the customer, a hotel runs more smoothly and this translated to greater customer satisfaction.  The constant goal in the mind of all staff members should be centered on customer satisfaction. Customers in the hotel industry are notorious for high expectations and complaints. A staff well trained in managing complaints, but more importantly avoiding them in the first place, will do better overall.

Track, analyze and report on customer satisfaction:

Customer satisfaction will often times be tied to your level of customer communication. By creating a dialogue with customers, hotel management can see strong points and weak spots in customer service. Feedback can be gathered online in review section of websites combined with review cards in room and front desk logs. These tools, used correctly, can be extremely helpful in staff meetings and training sessions, and at the management level for implementing policy.

The hotel industry is thriving yet competitive. Hotel customers want exactly what they expect whether it’s a simple clean room and good night’s rest or an artfully decorated clean room with numerous amenities. When management has a well-trained staff taking pride in customer recognition and customer satisfaction, the hotel will earn new and repeat customers.

MAHAR offers qualifications that have the potential to help students in getting better placements with a curriculum that makes them enlightened towards greater avenues to excel in professional as well entrepreneurial spheres. The industry centric syllabus enables the students to get hands on training for in depth understanding of the ever growing hospitality industry.(www.maharedu.com)

Customer Service Tips

ReceptionThe People aspect of business is really what it is all about. Think of customers as individuals. Once we think that way, we realize our business is our customer, not our product or services. Putting all the focus on the merchandise in our store, or the services our corporation offers, leaves out the most important component: each individual customer.

Keeping those individual customers in mind, here are some easy, down-home customer service tips to keep ’em coming back!

  • Remember there is no way that the quality of customer service can exceed the quality of the people who provide it.
  • Realize that your people will treat your customer the way they are treated.
  • Remember your regular customer name.
  • For good customer service, go the extra mile. Include a thank-you note in a customer’s package.
  • If a customer makes a request for something special, do everything you can to say yes.
  • Give customers the benefit of the doubt.
  • Want to know what your customers think of your company? Ask them!

Madhuban Academy of Hospitality Administration & Research – Mahar is the finest institution for those looking to forge a career in the Hospitality Industry.

MAHAR offers qualifications that have the potential to help students in getting better placements with a curriculum that makes them enlightened towards greater avenues to excel in professional as well entrepreneurial spheres. The industry centric syllabus enables the students to get hands on training for in depth understanding of the ever growing hospitality industry.(www.maharedu.com)

Techniques For Turning Your Restaurant Staff Into A High Performing Team

DSC_5069In a restaurant, every employee has a vital role to play in creating a great dining experience for patrons. If your team isn’t working together effectively, or individual members aren’t pulling their weight, the whole establishment suffers. Poor team performance is also likely to impact individual employees, resulting in dissatisfaction, lower performance, tensions or animosities, and higher turnover.

Conversely, when working on a high performing team, people feel supported, better enjoy their work, and are likely to be more efficient, engaged and productive. All of this is great for business. So how do you turn your staff – who typically have different skills, abilities and perspectives – into a high performing team?

Here are five things you can do:

  • Define clear performance expectations for each role: Every staff member should have a clear job description that outlines their roles and responsibilities in the restaurant. They should also understand the roles and responsibilities of other staff members. By having a clear understanding of their role, as well as everyone else’s, each staff member will understand their interdependence.
  • Train and cross train staff: To build a high performing team, it’s important to provide everyone with training in their particular role. Training should be used to address skill gaps and should also broaden or deepen existing skills or develop new ones. And remember, training takes many forms. It can include formal classroom training as well as job shadowing, mentoring, reading, observation, webcasts, podcasts, etc. Different training media help you accommodate your staff’s learning style and availability. When you’re building a high performance team, it’s also important to cross-train team members. Cross-training allows an individual to “walk in someone else’s shoes” and gives them a broader understanding of the workplace and team. It’s a great tool for building team relationships and strengths.
  • Give staff ongoing feedback and coaching: Every employee needs to hear, on a regular basis, what they are doing well, where they can improve and if there’s anything they should stop doing. By giving all your employees ongoing feedback and coaching, you help improve their individual performance, as well as the team’s.
  • Gather feedback on performance from team mates and patrons: In a restaurant, with its busy work environment and varied shifts, it’s almost impossible for a manager or supervisor to have a deep knowledge of each of their employees’ performance. By gathering 360-degree feedback from those who work most closely with each employee, you can get a better perspective and understanding of their performance. You can also better understand how the employee is functioning on the team, and how they are perceived by the team. In addition, you can use feedback from restaurant patrons – either on the performance of an individual, or the experience created by the team. This invaluable information can help you and the employee maximize their performance as well as the team’s and address any problems.
  • Recognize and reward high performance: If you want to encourage strong team behaviour and performance, recognize and reward it. Get everyone on board with this initiative, encouraging praise, “thank yous” and recognition for individual work well done, in support of the larger team. If you recognize and reward individual good performance publicly (in front of the team) rather than privately, your acknowledgements and rewards can serve to motivate the entire team to perform. And when the whole team is performing well, it’s important to recognize and reward the team as a whole, not just the high performing individuals.

These five techniques are basic employee performance management best practices that foster employee high performance. In a restaurant, where you need everyone working together as a high performing team to deliver a great dining experience, they can help to improve both individual and team performance.

MAHAR, the state-of-art Hospitality Administration and Research Academy is the only one of its kind that boasts of a fully operational luxury four star Hotel Madhuban operating since 1975 at Dehradun in Uttarakhand. This unique, enriched environment provides the perfect platform of excellent hospitality education to the MAHAR students.

Tips For An Efficient Hotel Kitchen

Not all hotels offer meals; some only serve breakfast.  Others have one or more restaurants integrated into the hotel and offer room service as well.  Small hotels can survive with not much more than a household kitchen provided, of course that it meets the health and safety regulations of the state.  Bigger hotels need bigger kitchens and more equipment.  Whatever the size, every hotel kitchen needs the basics – somewhere to prepare the food, somewhere to cook it, somewhere to store it and a place to clean up.DSC03172

The bigger the kitchen, the more carefully it needs to be planned. Large kitchens serving hundreds of dishes a day need to have different stations for each function, each with its specialized staff, equipment and supply line.  At the same time, the ingredients need to move smoothly to where they need to be and the finished dishes need to move out as soon as possible after they are ready.  All this needs to happen without the salad chef tripping over the dishwasher, or the pastry chef bumping into the grill.

The complexity of the arrangement will be affected by the complexity of the menu.  A restaurant that offers a large menu may need several ovens, a range, a deep-fryer, a sauté station, a grill, coolers and freezers, as well as the smaller pieces of equipment like blenders, pots and pans and cutting tools.

  1. Plan, plan, plan.  Visit other hotel kitchens and see what works and what doesn’t.
  2. Pay careful attention to preparation and clean-up areas.  Know what your menu will be so that you can include sufficient stations.
  3. Buy the best equipment you can afford, but don’t buy more than you need.
  4. Recruit and train excellent staff.
  5. enjoy what you do, and keep your staff happy and they will keep the customers happy.

MAHAR has a Fully equipped food production lab with the latest equipments- a training kitchen for basic, quantity and advanced preparations, Bakery & Confectionery lab. Its Labs are equipped with all kinds of preparation methodologies like Gasoline, Electric, Conduction, Convection & Earthen.