So you want to be a world class chef? Learning your fractions is
an understatement. Chefs can not prepare meals properly unless they
know what portions of an ingredient need to be added to the recipe.
The have to fully understand fractions, because they must be able
to multiply, add, subtract, and divide fractions in their head. They
typically do not have time or the paper handy to calculate fractions
Let's look at an example: A chef needs to double the recipe that
has 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/8 teaspoon of cumin, 2 1/2 cups o flour,
1 1/4 sugar, and 2/3 tablespoon of vanilla extract. If you do not
know your fractions this can be a challenge to double the recipe.
However, if you do then it is a snap. The doubled recipe is 1/2 teaspoon
of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of cumin, 5 cups flour, 2 1/2 coups of sugar,
and 1 1/3 tablespoon of vanilla extract.
One reason it is important for a world class chef to learn fractions,
is that world class meals are prepared on the spot and not in advance.
So the chef has to be able to know what he/she needs now. Customers
do not want to hear that their meal is late because the chef is still
working on the recipe due to not remembering fractions. Fractions
are part of everyday cooking when preparing meals.
Another use of fractions by world class chefs is when they have to
divide a food product into equal portions. For example: dividing a
cake into 16 equal parts so each slice becomes 1/16 of the whole cake.
Why to do they use such precise measurements? They do this because
of uniformity of the cake served to the customer and for ensuring
that the appropriate profit is returned on the cake to the restaurant.
Chefs not only cook the food for their customers, they are usually
the owner of the restaurant and they want to make a living. They have
a building to pay for, food supplies to pay for, and employees to
pay. A world class chef likes to cook and he/she wants to ensure they
make enough money to have a good life in the process.
This is another reason why they need to know fractions. Food tastes
better when the correct amount of ingredients are in the recipe, results
in customers liking their food and coming back. When they come back
for their favorite dish, it will taste the same, because the chef
used exactly the same ingredients as he/she did last time.
A world class chef has to determine the price that he/she
wants to charge for each item of the menu. Guessing will put them
out of business quickly. They need to know what it cost for each item
on the menu. Let's take the slice of cake as an example. The ingredients
in the cake costs $4.50 (1/4), employee costs are determined a complicated
formula and for the cake it is $4.50 (1/4). Then there are the costs
of the building, cleaning supplies, electricity, gas, water, and trash.
Using another formula it is determined that the cost for the cake
is $2.25 (1/8).
Now the chef wants to make a profit so he/she has determined that
a good profit on the cake is 3/8 of the total price for the cake.
So if a customer was to purchase a whole cake they would pay $16.00.
The profit for the chef is $6.75 (3/8) and if the cake is divided
into 16 equal slices then each slice will sell for $1 and the chef
will get the $16.
The world class chef uses the same method for determining the price
for each item on the menu. As you can see being a world class chef
requires a thorough understanding of fractions.