Arghh, admin April!

Well, hello folks, Here I am emerging from an admin pile of guargantuan proportions. Hasn’t the weather been crap? Even worse across the pond, I hear. Still, just as well, as I have been sorting stuff out, including the continuing saga of our website which still isn’t resolved, but doesn’t seem to have been distroyed by Microsoft yet, as threatened! Even the email still works, phew. The new lodger of our domain name is playing silly buggers by asking for a new authorisation code two weeks after signing up as the one I originally provided them with has expired. Grrrr. Honestly, it makes me mad having to perform the same hoop-jumping twice!

Also sorted is the admin associated with our two new employees – no small task, as you can imagine, but they are all declared and above board – even had their first payslips! Still loving the girls, they are fab.

Also accomplished is a spring overhaul of our menus. This is such a difficult thing to do that I can understand why some restaurants keep the same menu for ages – although I don’t agree with it! The process starts by deciding what to replace and then what to replace it by. Followed by sourcing your raw materials and ordering and getting them in stock. Then the physical change of the menus on the computer and printing them, not forgetting the sign board copies that go outside the restaurant, and then changing them on the website and wherever else they are published, like on our on-line reservation site. Then the new dishes have to be prepped and then drip-fed into the menu as and when the old item finished. We did it this way this time to minimise any loss – it’s a waste to throw away any of the outgoing stock. This requires a great deal of help from the front of house, aka Dave, as he has to go through a spiel each time he hands out a menu about this not being available any more but this being new, etc. Still, everyone rose to the occasion and it is done. At more or less the same time this was going on, I was set what I like to call a ‘chef’s challenge’. An 80th birthday for people we know was booked with us, and the organiser wanted the birthday girl’s favorite meal. This was Turbot, with a sauce that is not too heavy, and iles flottants, or floating islands (meringue in custard with caramel). It was lucky we were given a couple of weeks notice as Turbot is a very expensive fish and a tad tricky to get one’s hands on. So I did the Turbot pan-fried and finished in the oven on a bed of asparagus with a port, sherry and morel sauce. The iles flottants I had a couple of goes at as my meringues kept sinking (don’t you hate it when that happens!), but finally got very creditable ones using my Thermomix. Quite a lot of trouble to go to for just 2 portions, but it’s quite an honor to be chosen as the venue! Oh the pressure… However, it all seemed to go fine. Better than fine, even, she said she was quite overwhelmed, so hopefully a good memory for them all.

Business is mad. It swings so much, it is just not predictable. Just last night, for example, we opened at 7 pm with just one table for 2 reserved. By 8.30 we had 25 and had turned down at least 10. One quote to add to our archive classic collection, when turning down 2 guys saying we were full….même pas si on viens de Provence? Even if we have just come from Provence? It is so tempting to say something like ‘ well, sir, you should have said! There is a table that I had completely forgotten about….’ but of-course we smile and just say sorry….

One lunchtime recently we nearly came to grief as it had been quite quiet at lunch, we had not asked the girls to work lunches for the moment. Well, about 12.30 this day it was like a small bus had parked at the top of the hill and everone had got off all at once and were descending the hill towards us. It was only 14 people which we can usually handle between the 2 of us, but all at once…some went downstairs, most were outside, some wanted mains only, most wanted entrées, t-bones, foie gras, expensive stuff that requires all my concentration…in short, a nighmare! For the first time in a very long time I got the back-pain-of-stress warning, so we took the hint and now the girls are working lunches. It really pays off if it is busy, it’s not worth scrimping on the staffing costs. So I’m free to catch up on reading and fun stuff for a while, hurrah!


About chefinheels

We own and run a small restaurant in the Pyrenées, South France. Tiffany is in charge of the food and Dave, her husband, does everything else.
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