February 8, 2013 |

2009 January: Ask Chef Jeff

By Jeffrey Freehof

2009 January: Ask Chef JeffQ: My new pizza sauce recipe is real smooth when we make it, but a day or two later it seems to be congealed. What’s wrong?




A: It sounds like you are using granulated garlic in your recipe, which is fine. But it can act as a gelatinous component. There’s nothing wrong with it. Just whisk it up. You may want to consider making smaller batches more often to prevent this.

I discovered my supplier has been overcharging me on almost everything. I was giving him just about all my business. I have switched suppliers and now he wants to offer me better pricing. I’m furious. How do I handle this?

It’s one of the most important reasons that you should always have two suppliers. It keeps them honest, knowing that they are competing for your business with the best pricing they can offer. When they feel that you’re exclusive with them, most will treat you very well for giving them your business. Then, there are the greedy ones who will take advantage of you for not paying attention (like your guy). I’d continue to get pricing from him even if you never buy from him again. I’d attempt to make him sell to you at cost to make up for the overcharging and to gain your trust back. A rebate would be my first choice, but I doubt he has even admitted to overcharging you.

I’ve got a surveillance camera, but I think I have a manager stealing from me. It looks like she’s ringing people in, but I can’t really tell. Is there a better way of catching her if she is stealing?

You want to synchronize your surveillance system to the clock on your register or computer. Watch for no sales or open drawer on the video. When you see food being handed to a customer with a simple no sale or open drawer, you have caught your thief. When looking at the video only it looks like the customer is really being rung in. Compare the two side-by-side to reveal what’s really happening.

My manager who’s been with me for four years recently started dating one of the staff members. He kept it from me, but I just found out. I’m afraid this could eventually turn into a problem. Should I ride it out?

A manager dating employees in my book is a no-no. He knew instinctively that it was wrong as well, otherwise he wouldn’t have kept it from you. This will eventually lead to problems. They may try to assure you that it will never affect the business, but I guarantee it will eventually. Let him know that you are happy that he found true love and explain that it’s against your new policy. Help the employee find another job. ?

Jeffrey Freehof, owner of The Garlic Clove in Evans, Georgia, is Pizza Today’s resident expert. Send your questions to: Ask Chef Jeff, c/o Pizza Today, 908 South Eighth Street, Suite 200, Louisville, Kentucky, 40203