Recipes, old school, new school.

Recipes, old school, new school.
Grandmas gingersnaps

Todays blog goes back to some things I wanted to cover regarding recipe writing, scaling and yields. The recipe above was written out by my grandmother, which she got from her mother. That would make this recipe over 120 years old, or more…I made a batch yesterday, being in isolation for 10 more days, I have no access to Anyway, I changed nothing in the recipe with the exception of using organic, unbleached flour and sugar. Note there is no procedure to speak of. Only quantities, and baking instructions. This is a more typical format for professionals. I’ll show you two more examples, one for students, one for a restaurant/hotel chef. The only significant difference between the three is the amount of information provided. In the early days of chefdom, there were no procedures given, just reference. It was expected that a cook or baker understood the basic principles cooking and baking, and didn’t require a full out recipe. Have a look at this second example for a standardized recipe for chefs. You can click on the image to go to the site I used for this. There is a free light version, full version is $10 a month. You can get a free month by subscribing to this website…BTW.


Why does this format matter, over say a hand written recipe? Primarily because it included a few important features. An image capacity, for visual people, and to ensure presentation is done to standard. Also, it can generate food cost, and contribution margin. Also you can include a nutritional database, which as of a few years ago, is required by QSR and other chain restaurants. Lets look at one more format for students. Having worked as an educator, I have a pretty good idea of how young cooks depend on recipes to be very detailed, at least initially. I always made it a point to have them off recipes by the time they finished there second year, to head into the industry. I really didn’t want to send any dummies into the industry, I wanted them to carry the torch, and be leaders!


In this case the recipe, which by the way is not a recipe, but an exercise, is very descriptive and detailed. Why? Because they are students, and have no idea what they are doing….I know cooks 10 years in, that couldn’t pass this simple exercise. Kind of scary eh….some of them are cooking for you at your favorite bistro. Anyway, enough with the rant! The point here is the exercise, and an introduction to fundamental practices. From this point forward the amount of information I provide shrinks, I want them to learn procedure, formulas and technique. That’s what makes a good cook, and eventually a chef.


I didn’t really get into recipe writing, so to speak. I provided you with a few examples of formats that could be used. Recipe writing and menu engineering are a full course on there own. If you feel as a chef or cook, you need to expand these horizons, my year two advanced culinary & pastry program covers this in detail. Join me today! or email me for details,

Cheers, and happy cooking!