Mind your Own Business

Cooking is the final piece of the jigsaw in a chefs daily life. Before that comes preparation, sourcing, buying and researching. Hidden in between these jigsaw pieces is business. Costs rule kitchens and chefs need to learn business from the very start of their career.

Students at South & City College in Birmingham, which has a Chefs’ Forum Academy, took part in an important business challenge this week supported by chef Munayam Khan of Birmingham’s Raja Monkey restaurant.

The challenge was a visit to Birmingham’s Wholesale Fruit & Vegetable Market with a budget to spend, to create four identical main courses and desserts. The budget was £25 and the students worked in pairs to identify and purchase everything they needed to create the dishes.

“It’s so important to learn business,” Khan said on the day. “Knowing the cost of something and understanding how much it costs to produce will influence a price on a menu. That’s what I wanted to get across on the day. It was great to see the students working with each other and watching them work out what they could afford and what they couldn’t.”

Catherine Farinha, Director of The Chefs’ Forum, said: “We have been championing business studies for chefs for a long time. Too many chefs do not understand that business rules their lives. This exercise was so good for introducing important business themes to students. They had to do the buying as well as the choosing. This type of exercise should be part of the curriculum and we are going

 to roll it out to all our academies.”

Sheri Cadwallader, Senior Technician for Hospitality and Catering at South & City College, said: “The students really enjoyed the day. They were amazed by the Wholesale Market and loved seeing all the produce. The students could ask for advice and help and they learned so much and then got to work with what they had bought. It was a great day they won’t forget.”

Students James Poole and Olivia Brown won the prize of a meal out at Raja Monkey Hall Green.