5 things every great menu needs from Stokehouse chef
As any chef or restaurateur knows, crafting a well-rounded menu goes far beyond writing a list of the dishes you’re serving, in the order in which they’re eaten. In fact, putting together a menu is in itself a craft that can take years to perfect. Here, Jason Staudt, executive chef of Melbourne fine-dining institution Stokehouse, shares his top five essentials for creating a menu that goes above and beyond the ordinary.
Seasonal vegetables and respecting what’s in season really dictate the direction of our offering which, in turn, produces the best dish possible. We idolise local farms and allow them to choose what goes on the menu.
2. Clear formatting, spelling and grammar checks, and readability
I find this so important – it can be quite overwhelming for guests in venues where the menu is too random, with errors as well. Keep it simple, especially for à-la-carte dining.
3. Sustainability smarts
What I mean by this is mindfully choosing non-apex predator seafood for menus, opting instead for things that can feed the world in large volumes, such as calamari, sardines and shellfish.
It is super important that the guests and staff know that a restaurant menu is being honest in what it’s serving. If it says an ingredient or dish is from a certain provenance, it better be true.
While it may not be a menu or a menu item, the concept of specials are very important for many reasons, including keeping the regulars interested and showing that you are working on innovative dishes. It also helps keep the team engaged in what the restaurant is doing day to day, which is important. Often, if you are doing the same thing over and over, it gets a bit old and mundane, which I struggle with. Keep things fresh!