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article imageMeet Bill Peet: Executive Chef of Tavern on The Green in New York Special

By Markos Papadatos     Jun 28, 2019 in Food
New York - Bill Peet chatted with Digital Journal about being the executive chef of the iconic restaurant, Tavern on The Green, in New York City. Peet also spoke about the impact of technology on the food service industry.
A few weeks ago, Tavern on The Green hosted a Summer Solstice Dinner. "The Summer Solstice Dinner options came from a combination of our new summer menu items and current summer specials that I am offering," he explained.
"Tavern on The Green is at a very good place right now: the food, the service, and the atmosphere are consistently well done. If you haven't been to Tavern on The Green, now is a great time to come, and it's getting better every day," he said.
As executive chef, his job description is quite comprehensive and elaborate. "I am responsible for really everything that takes place in the back of the house, including scheduling (100 back of house employees weekly), menus for lunch, dinner, brunch - our ToGo outlet - specials - dealing with the event menus, overseeing ordering for the specials and new menu items, costing of all the menus (each dish that is offered)," he said.
"I am also involved in the hands-on training for all the new dishes that we unveil for the menu, coordinating the stewarding department to keep up the cleanliness of the property and of course upholding the standards of all the food leaving the kitchen," he said.
The chef continued, "It is my job to be on top and ahead of the day to day operations, as we more than double for lunch and dinner and with walk-in diners every service, we are a very high-volume restaurant. I have been told by so many guests that we are a 'Bucket List' destination restaurant so we have to be ready every service every day. Also, Tavern on The Green is the place to be on the Holidays, at least 1500 covers for each holiday meal."
"As if that weren't enough, we are also responsible for all the events that are related to the New York City Marathon in November, including the Pasta dinner the night before the race for 5,500 people,' he added.
On his plans for the future with Tavern on The Green, he said, "To keep upgrading the food that we serve, presenting a consistent product. Tavern on The Green was always a destination for tourists, but more and more New Yorkers are coming on a regular basis. I have also been working on a Tavern on the Green Cookbook, reworking all of my recipes for home use. It is a project that will take some time with our bustling business, it is like changing a tire on a moving car."
Regarding the key to longevity in the food industry, he said, "A good work ethic. I wake up very early each day, arrive to work very early and get ahead of the day. I also try to keep relevant to the food business, using new products and incorporating my experience into each menu. Food, like fashion runs in cycles (trends), when I started in the industry we were serving Baked Alaska, Beef Wellington, and French Food. They all fell out of favor but are all coming back now. I think I have a good feel for what our guests want, I cook for them, not for me."
Digital transformation of the food service industry
On being a chef in this digital age, he said, "Technology has changed the industry for the better. Starting out, I would have had to do a lot of long drawn out research when putting together a menu: going through books, magazines, going out to see food first hand, costing products, but now information is at your fingertips. Writing recipes, scheduling, all documentation and record keeping that was done in a restaurant is easier by far."
For young and aspiring chefs, Peet offered them the following advice: "To be serious about your career. You have to put in the time to get the results. It is a hard industry, long hours, hard back-breaking work, hot kitchens, working while your friends and family are off, but it is very rewarding at the same time. Personally, I look forward to coming to work every day."
Chef Bill Peet defined the word success as follows: "To be happy and content with my life, both at home with my family and at work."
To learn more about Tavern on The Green, check out its official website.
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