The Difference Between A Professional Cook And A Chef

To the uninitiated, a professional cook and a chef may look similar. They both wear chef’s coats, work in a kitchen, and prepare food. But the day-to-day responsibilities of these two roles are vastly different. One is a skilled tradesperson, while the other is a leader—and often a visionary.

Discover the important distinctions between these two kitchen roles and the skills necessary for success in each. Keep reading to explore the main differences between a professional cook and chef!

A Professional cooks are skilled technicians who prepare and make food. Most of their work is hands-on, transforming ingredients from their whole states into finished dishes. There are many different types of cooks, each with varying responsibilities. A prep cook, for example, does supporting work like chopping vegetables, pre-portioning cuts of protein, and concocting sauces or dressings. Line cooks, on the other hand, are responsible for the cooking, plating, and completing dishes for service.

Professional cooks are also sometimes defined by their work stations. A fry cook runs the fryer for a steady supply of hot, fresh french fries and other crispy snacks. A grill cook is in charge of grilled items like burgers, chicken, steaks, and some vegetables.

A professional chef is a trained, experienced culinarian who has worked in a professional kitchen setting and usually occupies a more managerial role, either running a single-person department or leading a team of cooks. Chefs have a higher degree of responsibility than cooks and must be leaders as well as culinary experts. This means that they also must possess a high skill level of problem solving while under high pressure — being able to assess situations and create solutions quickly is imperative.

A chef often spends a great deal of their time supervising and managing the rest of the crew, rather than cooking. They must be able to jump into any position when needed and mentor other team members. But they may also get to create their own recipes and menus, influencing the restaurant’s reputation and helping shape its concepts. Therefore, while they have greater responsibility than cooks, they also receive more credit when a kitchen performs well.

The ultimate difference between a cook and a chef is their level of responsibility. A cook completes the tasks assigned to them in order to deliver a chef’s recipe. To do so, they should have the basic skills needed to execute the menu. This can include simple tasks like chopping or mixing, but it can also require more advanced technical skills necessary for complex, multipart recipes.

A chef, on the other hand, is a manager, ultimately responsible for the food that comes out of the kitchen. This title includes the executive chef, who is the top leader of the kitchen and has control over the menu and overall direction of the restaurant’s culinary program.

It can also include additional chef roles. Some kitchens have a chef de cuisine who manages the day-to-day operations. Most have a sous chef who serves as the executive chef or chef de cuisine’s “right hand.” There could also be a pastry chef who creates the desserts and may run a small team of pastry cooks.

Professional chefs usually start out as cooks and earn the title of chef later in their careers. They are often the people in the kitchen with the most culinary education and experience. Chefs may have attended a formal culinary school, or they may have worked in the industry for many years to grasp the necessary skill set. There is no degree or certification that automatically moves a cook into the realm of the chef. Instead, it’s a multi-faceted combination of education, experience, and leadership abilities.

Additional skills can vary based on the cook’s position. A line cook must know how to identify “done-ness” in a cut of meat, for example. And a prep cook should be skilled at rapid chopping and pay close attention to labeling and dating their work.

When cooks attend culinary school at Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, they can graduate with many of these skills in their toolbox. During their hands-on industry externship, which is required in order to graduate, students can work in a professional kitchen where they can practice their skills in a high-speed commercial environment. With this type of preparation, cooks can become ready for their first professional job, where they can then continue to build on their skills and discover new techniques.“A student who graduates from Escoffier can be able to participate in much better culinary conversations and understand a lot more about not just cooking, but how a business is run.”*
Escoffier Chef Instructor Jesper Jonsson

A professional chef must have extensive proficiency to earn this title. They should have expertise in every skill that they expect their cooks to employ, so that they can provide precise instruction and guidance. They may also be specialists in a single type of cuisine (like French or Japanese) or a certain cooking style (like barbecue or plant-based cooking).

The responsibilities of a chef go far beyond the food. They should also be skilled in menu planning, since they could be responsible for the final restaurant menu–from appetizers to desserts. They may also be required to create dishes that are both delicious and profitable, keeping labor and food costs in check. They need to be strong leaders, inspiring their employees and keeping them motivated to put out excellent food, day after day.

Some chefs are also independent business owners. For example, private chefs and personal chefs often run their own small businesses. Some chefs are also owners of restaurants and catering companies, so they must manage the business as well as the food.How does a professional chef discover all of this? It can start with enrolling in culinary school. At Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, associate degree students can begin their culinary education with cooking fundamentals and then move on to explore menus, leadership, communications, foodservice math and accounting, and entrepreneurship. While students do not graduate as chefs, they can start their culinary careers with a great breadth of knowledge to draw on as they progress through their careers.

A credential, like a degree or diploma, or a culinary certification from an industry association, can also help to prove to future employers that the recipient obtained a heightened level of proficiency. And this can demonstrate that the chef is passionate about growing in necessary competencies and in their career overall.

“Every time I was approached by a food blogger or press, I was referred to as chef. I didn’t feel right having that title without the credentials. I was a really good home cook, but I lacked the confidence in my skills in a professional setting. The culinary industry is such a respected field and I wanted to be on an equal playing ground with other chefs that I had an opportunity to work with.”*Nahika Hillery, Escoffier Austin Culinary Arts Graduate & Chef/Owner, Kréyol Korner Caribbean Cuisin

The short answer is no! While many cooks do have the goal of becoming the “boss” of the kitchen, others prefer the life of the cook. A cook must perform to a high standard on each shift, but they are not responsible for the overall success of the kitchen or food service establishment. Some find that this means a lower stress level and better work-life balance. Plus, cooks get to do more hands-on professional cooking. If your culinary dreams involve cooking all day, every day, then a career as a cook may be the right place for you.

Whether you want to be a professional cook or move up the ranks to executive chef, a culinary education can be a great place to start. Contact our Admissions Department to explore more about degrees and diplomas from Escoffier and how they can help you achieve your goals.

To discover more about a career as a chef or cook, try these articles next:

Source: The Difference Between a Professional Cook and a Chef – Escoffier

Critics by Better Health

Eating a wide variety of healthy foods helps to keep you in good health and protects you against chronic disease. Eating a well-balanced diet means eating a variety of foods from each of the 5 food groups daily, in the recommended amounts. Find out more in the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating

Eating healthy food doesn’t mean giving up your favourite recipes. Some simple swaps and a little bit of planning can help you make life-long, healthy changes to your diet.

Some shopping tips to get you started:

  • Make a shopping list before you shop and plan what meals you’re going to eat.
  • Keep the pantry stocked with ingredients that are quick to prepare and easy to cook.
  • Stock up on seasonal vegetables, fruit, wholegrains, nuts and seeds.
  • Choose the lower fat versions of a food if possible – for example milk, cheese, yoghurt, salad dressings and gravies.
  • Choose lean meat cuts and skinless chicken breasts.
  • Limit fast foods, chips, crisps, processed meats, pastries and pies, which all contain large amounts of fat.
  • Choose lean meats and reduced-fat dairy products and limit processed foods to minimise hidden fats. Nuts, seeds, fish, soy, olives and avocado are all healthier options because they include the essential long-chain fatty acids and these fats are accompanied by other good nutrients.If you add fats when cooking, use healthier oils such as olive and canola oil. And try these tips to reduce the amount of fat needed in cooking:Cook in liquids (such as stock, wine, lemon juice, fruit juice, vinegar or water) instead of oil.
  • Use pesto, salsas, chutneys and vinegars in place of sour creams, butter and creamy sauces.
  • Use reduced fat yoghurt and milks, evaporated skim milk or corn-starch instead of cream in sauces or soups.
  • Use non-stick cookware to reduce the need for cooking oil.
  • When browning vegetables, put them in a hot pan then spray with oil, rather than adding the oil first to the pan. This reduces the amount of oil that vegetables absorb during cooking.
  • As an alternative to browning vegetables by pan-frying, it is good to cook them first in the microwave, then crisp them under the grill for a minute or 2.

Water-soluble vitamins are delicate and easily destroyed during preparation and cooking. To minimise nutrient losses:

  • Scrub vegetables rather than peel them, as many nutrients are found close to the skin.
  • Microwave or steam vegetables instead of boiling them.
  • When boiling vegetables, use a small amount of water and do not overboil them.
  • Include more stir-fry recipes in your diet. Stir-fried vegetables are cooked quickly to retain their crunch (and associated nutrients).

Salt is hidden in many of our foods, but a high salt diet can contribute to a range of health problems including high blood pressure.

Suggestions to reduce salt include:

  • Don’t automatically add salt to your food – taste it first.
  • Add a splash of olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice close to the end of cooking time or to cooked vegetables – it can enhance flavours in the same way as salt.
  • Choose fresh or frozen vegetables, since canned and pickled vegetables tend to be packaged with salt.
  • Limit your consumption of salty processed meats such as salami, ham, corned beef, bacon, smoked salmon, frankfurters and chicken loaf.
  • Iodised salt is best. A major dietary source of iodine is plant foods. Yet there is evidence that Australian soil may be low in iodine and so plants grown in it are also low in iodine. If you eat fish at least once a week, the need for iodised salt is reduced.
  • Avoid processed foods such as flavoured instant pasta or noodles, canned or dehydrated soup mixes, salty crackers, chips and salted nuts.
  • Reduce your use of soy sauce, tomato sauce and processed sauces, stock powders and condiments (for example mayonnaise and salad dressings) because they contain high levels of salt.

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A Quick Guide to Developing Recipes

One of the most important aspects of professional cooking is developing recipes. A well-developed recipe achieves balance and consistency.

In this quick guide, we will discuss the steps chefs follow in developing recipes, and how meez has enhanced the recipe development process.

Inspiration and Ideation

Chefs can be inspired by art, seasonality, architecture, makers, ingredients or a story we want to tell. Professional chefs are as inspired by dishes at restaurants and meals our grandmothers used to make like anyone who cooks.

Once we have an idea, we think about the ingredients and flavors that will go into the recipe. We consider any restrictions or preferences that our diners or intended audience may have, including budget. Then we work with those guidelines.

Research and Visualization

Researching can entail visiting a farmers market, tasting the same ingredient from different purveyors, traveling, experiencing cultural influences and studying topics. We often consider sustainability, locality and if the businesses we work with align with our standards and goals. We consider making substitutions for ingredients that aren’t available or that are too expensive.

We visualize what the dish will look like and play with texture, shapes, colors and plates.

With meez, we can export an order list to source ingredients and keep notes and sketches in our Docs. We can even keep a R&D concept separate from production concepts to save each version of a dish until it makes a menu.

Drafting a Dish

We record the ingredients and instructions for a recipe in meez as we go. It’s important to be as specific as possible when writing a recipe so that anyone who reads it will be able to successfully replicate the dish. You can drag and drop a photo or video into each prep step to make this easier and to look back as you compare test versions.

Recipe Testing

We document everything we do when testing a recipe: ingredient amounts, temperatures, times, techniques. We evaluate salt, sweetness, spice, acid, fat, texture, umami and more to achieve balance and play with portion sizes, flavor combinations, elements and components.

Taste Testing

We often test with the back of house team to collaborate on feedback, ideas and iterations. Chefs might try a dish as a special for diner feedback as well. The tasting notes can be recorded in Docs as a menu is developed.

Recipe Writing

It’s crucial in a professional culinary setting to record clear and concise recipes as they’re developed, iterated and executed. With meez, you can convert units of measurement, scale, cost and see nutrition information as you build the recipe. It’s important that anyone who comes into work can replicate the recipe with all the content saved in meez, from the prep to photos and videos for plating. We often organize in recipe books based on station, season or section of the menu.

Once the recipe is developed, the chef can share view access with the team, copies with friends and colleagues, and a public link on social media when desired.

Source: A Quick Guide to Developing Recipes | Blog | meez

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7 Reasons You Need To Try Green Chef If You’re Keto

I’ve always hated grocery shopping, but with me on the keto diet now, it’s even worse.

All I see are aisles packed floor to ceiling with the foods I can’t eat. (Or can I? I don’t know anymore.) The grocery store is a struggle on a good day for me, but when trying to stick to a Keto diet, it’s a complete nightmare!

Reading the nutritional value on the back of everything I pick up is driving me bananas. Even the store assistant asked if I needed help because I looked so confused. Once again I left with eggs, avocado, and double-stuf Oreos for dinner.

Keto looks so good on paper and the results from it are amazing, but why is it such a challenge for me? Am I forever doomed to fail at it? Part of me thought yes, but deep down I knew that if I had the right tools and training wheels, I could make it happen. As I chomped my fourth Oreo I Googled *how to be successful at Keto*.

After some very boring reads, I hit upon Green Chef, a USDA-certified organic meal kit delivery service. They have different plans with specifically designed recipes to help you stick to a specialty diet, like gluten-free, Paleo, Plant-powered, Balanced Living and of course, Keto.

I highly doubted it would work, but it was the best option I could find, so I gave Keto one last go. Here’s how Green Chef helped me stay Keto Strong:

1. Why Keto’s So Good For You

The focus of Keto is lots of healthy fats with low carbs. So much of the Western diet is centered around carbs, switching your focus to fats as a fuel source instead can have so many benefits on your health. Once I got used to fewer carbs, (which wasn’t too bad with all of Green Chef’s delicious recipes), I noticed I was sleeping soundly, waking up revitalized, and my cookie cravings have vanished (almost).

2. Why Green Chef’s Keto Plan’s Better For You

Keto has never been so simple, every week I have a new menu to choose all my Keto dinners from. All of Green Chef’s recipes are crafted by chefs, well-balanced, and beyond delicious recipes. These meal kits contain a variety of fresh, organic ingredients that are all GMO-free, and all produce is sourced from local farms. I can really taste the difference, and it’s amazing knowing the food I’m eating is sustainably sourced.

3. My Time Is Of The Essence

It’s not just my time wasted in the grocery store, it’s researching recipes, planning the dinners and then all the prepping of ingredients too! Green Chef delivers premium, perfectly portioned ingredients ready to cook straight to your door. Quick-n-easy recipe cards have chef’s tips and mouth-watering pictures that give you a step-by-step cooking guide. Create and plate in around 30 minutes.

4. Savor The Flavors

Green Chef’s amazing team of expert chefs craft vibrant Keto recipes you’ll rarely find in restaurants. My absolute favorite is Provolone-Stuffed Beef Patties with Tangy slaw, sautéed bell pepper & mushrooms. The portion size–especially the protein–is perfect, and you feel perfectly full after every meal. I even usually have leftovers for lunch the next day.

5. Ding-Dong – Dinner At Your Door

Green Chef’s got your back with weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly subscriptions. Plus, you can skip a week whenever you want. I personally don’t, since Keto with Green Chef is going amazing for me so far, and I don’t want to lost momentum while I have it! But if you’re more experienced cooking keto meals, just needing a little help here and there, you can customize your subscription so it better fits your budget and lifestyle.

6. No Crave – No Cave

I use to think going Keto was a form of torture due to the monotony of the meals I used to cook, but not anymore. With 8 delicious new meals to choose from weekly, maintaining Keto is no longer a challenge. Variety is key!

7. Stay Keto Strong With Green Chef

As I continue on my Keto journey, I’m confident I won’t fizzle out this time. Green Chef plays a huge part in delivering everything I need to be successful to my door. Their globally-inspired, flavor-rich recipes mean I never get bored while still reaching my target weight. To me, Keto’s not a diet – it’s how I feed my body to be at its best.

Keto can be simple and delicious with Green Chef!

By:

Source: Keto? Try Green Chef. – The Journiest

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Easy keto recipes to see you through summer:

It’s the low-carb, high-fat diet that’s taken the world (and the internet) by storm. Here we chart our top 40 keto-friendly recipes that’ll have you in ketosis before you know it. See here for more on the keto diet, including its benefits and risks, and always speak to your general practitioner before making any changes in your diet.

The low-carb cauliflower pizza you need tonight

We went and created the ultimate keto cheeseburger (thank us later)

The healthy, low-carb butter chicken salad

The low carb spaghetti you need to try this spring

Ras el hanout, yoghurt and lime grilled chicken

Japanese kingfish lettuce cups

Colin Fassnidge’s prawn and herb omelette is the weeknight saviour we’ve been looking for

This goats cheese and vegetable frittata is the answer to your dinner dilemmas

T-bone steaks with asian-style mushrooms

Steak with porcini butter and charred onion

Colin Fassnidge’s skirt steak with salsa verde

Related References:

Keto Recipes

Healthy Recipes

Meals & Cooking

The Most Delish Gluten-Free Dinners

The Most Delish Paleo Recipes

The Most Delish Low-Carb Recipes

Totally Delish Keto Snacks

Keto Desserts You Need to Try

Easy Keto Breakfast Recipes

The Science Behind Grilling the Perfect Steak

Summer has arrived, and it’s time to fire up the backyard grill. Though many of us are trying to eat less beef for environmental reasons, it’s hard to resist indulging in an occasional steak — and you’ll want to make the most of the experience.

So, what’s the best way to grill that steak? Science has some answers. Meat scientists (many of them, unsurprisingly, in Texas) have spent whole careers studying how to produce the tenderest, most flavorful beef possible. Much of what they’ve learned holds lessons only for cattle producers and processors, but a few of their findings can guide backyard grillmasters in their choice of meat and details of the grilling process.

Let’s start with the choice of meat. Every experienced cook knows that the lightly used muscles of the loin, along the backbone, have less connective tissue and thus give tenderer results than the hard-working muscles of the leg. And they know to look for steaks with lots of marbling, the fat deposits between muscle fibers that are a sign of high-quality meat. “If you have more marbling, the meat will be tenderer, juicier, and it will have richer flavor,” says Sulaiman Matarneh, a meat scientist at Utah State University who wrote about muscle biology and meat quality in the 2021 Annual Review of Animal Biosciences.

From a flavor perspective, in fact, the differences between one steak and the next are mostly a matter of fat content: the amount of marbling and the composition of the fatty acid subunits of the fat molecules. Premium cuts like ribeye have more marbling and are also richer in oleic acid, an especially tasty fatty acid — “the one fatty acid that frequently correlates with positive eating experience,” says Jerrad Legako, a meat scientist at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. Sirloin, in contrast, has less oleic acid and more fatty acid types that can yield less appealing, fishy flavor hints during cooking.

That fatty acid difference also plays out in a big decision that consumers make when they buy a steak: grain-fed or grass-fed beef? Grain-fed cattle — animals that live their final months in a feedlot eating a diet rich in corn and soybeans — have meat that’s higher in oleic acid. Animals that spend their whole life grazing on pasture have a higher proportion of omega-3 fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids that break down into smaller molecules with fishy and gamy flavors. Many consumers prefer to buy grass-fed beef anyway, either to avoid the ethical issues of feedlots or because they like that gamy flavor and leaner meat.

The biggest influence on the final flavor of that steak, though, is how you cook it. Flavorwise, cooking meat accomplishes two things. First, the heat of the grill breaks the meat’s fatty acids into smaller molecules that are more volatile — that is, more likely to become airborne. These volatiles are responsible for the steak’s aroma, which accounts for the majority of its flavor. Molecules called aldehydes, ketones and alcohols among that breakdown mix are what we perceive as distinctively beefy.

The second way that cooking builds flavor is through browning, a process that chemists call the Maillard reaction. This is a fantastically complex process in which amino acids and traces of sugars in the meat react at high temperatures to kick off a cascade of chemical changes that result in many different volatile end products.

Most important of these are molecules called pyrazines and furans, which contribute the roasty, nutty flavors that steak aficionados crave. The longer and hotter the cooking, the deeper into the Maillard reaction you go and the more of these desirable end products you get — until eventually, the meat starts to char, producing undesirable bitter, burnt flavors.

The challenge for the grillmaster is to achieve the ideal level of Maillard products at the moment the meat reaches the desired degree of doneness. Here, there are three variables to play with: temperature, time and the thickness of the steak.

Thin steaks cook through more quickly, so they need a hot grill to generate enough browning in the short time available, says Chris Kerth, a meat scientist at Texas A&M University. Kerth and his colleagues have studied this process in the lab, searing steaks to precise specifications and feeding the results into a gas chromatograph, which measures the amount of each volatile chemical produced.

Kerth found, as expected, that thin, half-inch steaks cooked at relatively low temperatures have mostly the beefy flavors characteristic of fatty acid breakdown, while higher temperatures also produce a lot of the roasty pyrazines that result from the Maillard reaction. So if your steak is thin, crank up that grill — and leave the lid open so that the meat cooks through a little more slowly. That will give you time to build a complex, beefy-roasty flavor.

And to get the best sear on both sides, flip the meat about a third of the way through the expected cook time, not halfway — that’s because as the first side cooks, the contracting muscle fibers drive water to the uncooked side. After you flip, this water cools the second side so it takes longer to brown, Kerth’s team found.

When the scientists tested thicker, 1.5-inch steaks, the opposite problem happened: The exterior would burn unpleasantly before the middle finished cooking. For these steaks, a moderate grill temperature gave the best mix of volatiles. And sure enough, when Kerth’s team tested their steaks on actual people, they found that diners gave lower ratings to thick steaks grilled hot and fast. Diners rated the other temperatures and cooking times as all similar to each other, but thick steaks cooked at moderate temperatures won out by a nose.

That might seem odd, given that steakhouses often boast of their thick slabs of prime beef and the intense heat of their grills — exactly the combination Kerth’s study found least desirable. It works because the steakhouses use a two-step cooking process: First, they sear the meat on the hot grill, and then they finish cooking in a moderate oven. “That way, they get the degree of doneness to match the sear that they want,” says Kerth. Home cooks can do the same by popping their seared meat into a 350°F oven until it reaches their desired doneness.

The best degree of doneness, of course, is largely a matter of personal preference — but science has something to say here, too. Meat left rare, says Kerth, doesn’t receive enough heat to break down its fatty acids to generate beefy flavors. And once you go past medium, you lose some of the “bloody” flavors that come with lightly cooked meat. “A lot of people, myself included, like a little bit of bloody note with the brown pyrazines and Maillard compounds,” says Kerth. “It has a bigger flavor.” For those reasons, he advises, “I wouldn’t go any lower than medium rare or certainly any higher than medium. Then you just start losing a lot of the flavor.”

Kerth has one more piece of advice for home cooks: Watch the meat closely when it’s on the grill! “When you’re at those temperatures, a lot happens in a short period of time,” he says. “You start getting a lot of chemical reactions happening very, very quickly.” That’s the scientific basis for what every experienced griller has learned from (literally) bitter experience: It’s easy to burn the meat if you’re not paying attention.

Happy scientifically informed grilling!

Source: The Science Behind Grilling the Perfect Steak | Innovation | Smithsonian Magazine

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Critics:

Grilling is a form of cooking that involves dry heat applied to the surface of food, commonly from above, below or from the side. Grilling usually involves a significant amount of direct, radiant heat, and tends to be used for cooking meat and vegetables quickly. Food to be grilled is cooked on a grill (an open wire grid such as a gridiron with a heat source above or below), using a cast iron/frying pan, or a grill pan (similar to a frying pan, but with raised ridges to mimic the wires of an open grill).

Heat transfer to the food when using a grill is primarily through thermal radiation. Heat transfer when using a grill pan or griddle is by direct conduction. In the United States, when the heat source for grilling comes from above, grilling is called broiling. In this case, the pan that holds the food is called a broiler pan, and heat transfer is through thermal radiation.

Direct heat grilling can expose food to temperatures often in excess of 260 °C (500 °F). Grilled meat acquires a distinctive roast aroma and flavor from a chemical process called the Maillard reaction. The Maillard reaction only occurs when foods reach temperatures in excess of 155 °C (310 °F).

Studies have shown that cooking beef, pork, poultry, and fish at high temperatures can lead to the formation of heterocyclic amines, benzopyrenes, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are carcinogens. Marination may reduce the formation of these compounds. Grilling is often presented as a healthy alternative to cooking with oils, although the fat and juices lost by grilling can contribute to drier food.

References:

  • AngryBBQ. Not sure what about barbecue makes Mike and Jannah Haas angry, but they have a nice little blog.
  • Barbecue Master. Based in NC barbecue country, Cyndi Allison has been writing about barbecue and teaching it for more than a decade. Check out the links to her other websites and blogs.
  • Barbecues & Grilling at about.com. Derrick Riches is a self taught cook who has learned a lot and he passes it along in this large and deep reference.
  • Barbecuen. Articles and ideas on everything from grills to cooking elk.
  • BroBBQ. A blog of recipes, product testing, fun by Jack Thompson.
  • BBQDryRubs. The site is a nice hobby site from David Somerville covering more than rubs. He focuses on Weber gear and the sausage section is good.
  • BBQ FAQ. An astonishing compilation of wisdom from scores of serious cue’ers. The only problem is that the mailing list of participants has been dissolved so you can no longer sign up. Also, a lot of the links are broken. Still, the knowledge there is timeless.
  • BBQ Sauce Reviews. He likes sauce. Some better than others. See if you fave is on his 5-star list.
  • Braai 4 Heritage. In South Africa they call it braai, and everyone barbecues. They even have a National Braai Day!
  • BBQ Specialties. A nice little blog with recipes.
  • Cooking Outdoors. Gary House is fearless as he cooks everything on his grills, even pies and bread. There are sections on barbecue, cast iron cooking, Dutch oven, fire pit, and foil cooking. Lots of recipes well illustrated with photos.
  • Food Fire Friends. Mark Jenner’s site explores many aspects of outdoor cooking, including recipes, techniques, and product guides, as he works his way toward mastering cooking with live
    fire.
  • GrateTV. This frequent video show stars Jack Waiboer, a talented BBQ cook and competitor based in SC, and co-host Bill West (above). They teach tips, technique, tools, toys, secret ingredients, beer drinking, and answer viewer email questions. They know their stuff, and teach it with a smile. That’s them above, and one of the gadgets they feature.
  • GrillGirl. Robyn Medlin Lindars knows how to cook, and she can do it outdoors. She blogs about her adventures and recipes. Her specialty is making barbecue fun for women. She also cooks on her sailboat! Fun stuff!
  • A Hamburger Today. Gently patted together by Robyn Lee, this site is made of prime restaurant commentary, stuffed with burger lore, topped with good humor, and held together with beautiful drippy photographs. She is aided by a handful of burgerphiles who know their stuff.
  • Home BBQ. Message boards that discuss just about anything barbecue.
  • The Ingredient Store.com. Home of the FAB injections and marinades. FAB is the stuff most of the brisket champs inject (into the meat, not themselves).
  • Live Fire Online. Curt McAdams can cook and takes nice pix in Ohio. He focuses on barbecuing and grilling, but often digresses on local foods, markets, baking, and dining.
  • Mark Stevens. I met Mark in one of the online message boards and have learned a thing or two from him and his tips. You can too. His home made website has great links, and some good recipes and tips.
  • Naked Whiz. This may be the most inaccurate and inappropriate name for a website on the net, but don’t let it deter you. This is the go-to site if you have any questions about charcoal, how it is made, and what is the best.
  • Nibble Me This. Chris Grove is in Knoxville and he works his Big Green Egg and other cookers hard. He has also written a book about kamados.
  • Grillocracy. Our lead writer Clint Cantwell’s personal BBQ and grilling blog.
  • Patio Daddio BBQ. John Dawson brings his analytical IT mind to the patio and tests new techniques, equipment, and recipes with an unusual thoroughness and sharp sense of humor. He also competes. This is one of my faves.
  • Postcards from Scotsylvania. Scot Murphy is a very smart, witty, fella, and a pretty good cook too. His blog covers barbecue, gardening, politics, comics, and “ruminations about the universe, occasional whining, snarkiness, stuff like that.”
  • Real Truck. Accessories and gear for your truck.
  • She Smoke. Julie Reinhardt is the author of the book She-Smoke, a Backyard Barbecue Book, and co-owner of Smokin’ Pete’s BBQ in Seattle. This blog is an extension of the book, the restaurant, and how she rolls with two kids in tow.

5 Myths About Flexible Work

Flexibility might be great in theory, but it just doesn’t work for us. We have literally heard this statement hundreds of times over the years. It doesn’t matter what industry we’re talking about — whether it’s tech, government, finance, healthcare, or small business, we’ve heard it. There’s always someone who works from the premise that “there’s no way flexible work policies can work in our organization.”

In reality, flexible work policies can work in any industry. The last twelve months of the pandemic have proven this. In fact, a recent Harvard Business School Online study showed that most professionals have excelled in their jobs while working from home, and 81% either don’t want to go back to the office or would choose a hybrid schedule post-pandemic. It’s important to recognize, however, that flexibility doesn’t always look the same — one size definitely does not fit all.

The Myth of the Five C’s

You may be wondering, “If you can recruit the best candidates, increase your retention rates, improve your profits, and advance innovation by incorporating a relatively simple and inexpensive initiative, then why haven’t more organizations developed flex policies?” This question will be even harder for organizations to ignore after we’ve experienced such a critical test case during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Insight Center Collection

Building Tomorrow’s Workforce

How the best companies identify and manage talent. We believe fear has created stumbling blocks for many organizations when it comes to flexibility. Companies either become frozen by fear or they become focused by fear. It is focus that can help companies pivot during challenging times. In the years that we’ve been working with companies on flexibility, we’ve heard countless excuses and myths for why they have not implemented a flex policy. In fact, the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance has boiled these myths down to the fear of losing the 5 C’s:
  1. Loss of control
  2. Loss of culture
  3. Loss of collaboration
  4. Loss of contribution
  5. Loss of connection

Addressing the Fears

Myth #1: Loss of Control

Executives are often worried that they’ll open Pandora’s box and set a dangerous precedent if they allow some employees to work flexibly. They worry that if they let a few employees work from home, then the office will always be empty and no one will be working. The answer to this is structure and clarity. We can virtually guarantee that any organization that correctly designs and implements their flexibility policy will not lose anything.

To maintain control and smooth operation of your organization, it’s imperative that you set standards and clearly communicate them. Organizations should provide clear guidelines on the types of flexibility offered (for example, remote work, reduced hours, asynchronous schedules, job sharing and/or compressed work weeks) and create a centralized approval process for flexibility to ensure that the system is equitable. It is also helpful to have a calendar system for tracking when and where each team member is working.

You must also commit to training everyone on these standards — from those working a flexible schedule, to those supervising them, to all other coworkers. Education and training will help your team avoid “flex stigma,” where employees are disadvantaged or viewed as less committed due to their flexibility. Training can also help organizations to ensure that successful systems and structures that support flexibility are maintained.

Myth #2: Loss of Culture

While you may not see every employee every day, and you may not be able to have lunch with people every day, culture does not have to suffer with a flexible work initiative. However, it is essential that teams meet either in person or via video conference on a regular basis. At the Alliance, we recommend that companies and firms first define what culture means to their individual organization and then determine how they might maintain this culture in a hybrid or virtual environment.

Many organizations with whom we’ve worked reported that they found creative ways to maintain culture during months of remote working during the pandemic. Many Alliance members organized social functions like virtual exercise classes, cooking classes, happy hours, and team-building exercises to maintain community. Additionally, it’s important to take advantage of the days when everyone is physically present to develop relationships, participate in events, and spend one-to-one time with colleagues.

Myth # 3: Loss of Collaboration

As long as teams that are working a flexible schedule commit to regular meetings and consistent communication, then collaboration will not be compromised. It’s important for all team members to maintain contact (even if it’s online), keep tabs on all projects, and be responsive to emails and phone calls. We always recommend that remote teams also meet in person occasionally to maintain personal contact and relationships.

For collaboration to be successful, remote employees must not be held to a higher standard that those working in the office. Additionally, technology should be used to enhance collaboration. For example, when companies are bringing teams together for brainstorming sessions, virtual breakout rooms can facilitate small group collaboration and help to ensure that all voices are heard. Some organizational leaders have also incorporated regular virtual office hours for unscheduled feedback and informal collaboration.

Myth #4: Loss of Contribution

We have often heard leaders say: “If employees are not physically at their desks in the office, then how will we know that they’re actually working?” But with endless distractions available on computers these days (from online shopping, to Instagram, to Facebook, etc.) you really don’t know what your employees are doing at their desks, even if they are in the office.

In fact, they could be searching for a new job (that offers flexibility!) right before your eyes. It’s important to clearly communicate what is expected of each individual and trust that they will complete the job within the expected timeframe. All employees should be evaluated on the quality of their work and their ability to meet clearly defined performance objectives, rather than on time spent in the office.

Myth #5: Loss of Connection

Technology now enables people to connect at any time of the day in almost any locationMeetings can be held through a myriad of video conferencing applications. Additionally, calendar-sharing apps can help to coordinate team schedules and assist with knowing the availability of team members. Even networking events can now be done virtually. For example, one of our team members created a system for scheduling informal virtual coffee chats between partners and associates to maintain opportunities for networking and mentoring during the pandemic.

It’s important to know what your employees and stakeholders prefer in terms of in-person, hybrid, or virtual-only connection. In a recent survey conducted by BNI of over 2,300 people from around the world, the networking organization asked the participants if they would like their meetings to be: 1) in-person only, 2) online only, or 3) a blend of online and in-person meetings.

One third of the participants surveyed said that they wanted to go back completely to in-person meetings. However, 16% wanted to stick with online meetings only, and almost 51% of the survey respondents were in favor of a blend of meeting both in-person and online. This is a substantial transition from the organizational practice prior to the pandemic, with a full two-thirds of the organization saying that they would prefer some aspect of online meetings to be the norm in the future.

A recent 2021 KPMG CEO Outlook Pulse Survey found that almost half of the CEOs of major corporations around the world do not expect to see a return to “normal” this year. Perhaps a silver lining of the pandemic will be that corporate leaders have overcome their fears of the 5C’s and will now understand how flexibility can benefit their recruitment and retention efforts — not to mention productivity and profitability.

By:Manar Morales & Ivan Misner

Source: 5 Myths About Flexible Work

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Critics:

A flexible work arrangement (FWA) empowers an employee to choose what time they begin to work, where to work, and when they will stop work. The idea is to help manage work-life balance and benefits of FWA can include reduced employee stress and increased overall job satisfaction. On the contrary, some refrain from using their FWA as they fear the lack of visibility can negatively affect their career.

Overall, this type of arrangement has a positive effect on incompatible work/family responsibilities, which can be seen as work affecting family responsibilities or family affecting work responsibilities. FWA is also helpful to those who have a medical condition or an intensive care-giving responsibility, where without FWA, part-time work would be the only option.

Types of flexible work arrangements

References

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