As we all know, six sigma is a set of tools and techniques to improve processes with the goal of reducing defects. This is very important in restaurants where food is made under conditions of high pressure. My development of our award winning Aqua Pazza (Fish in “Crazy Water”) recipe is an interesting example of its use.
I learned the general recipe at a restaurant in my home town that was famous for it. The owner invited me back to show me how it was done.
In Italy, an entire fish is cooked in water and aromatics. It is then filleted and served with the liquid which becomes an aromatic broth. There is a small, critical trick which I can’t divulge.
The problem is that one cannot fillet dozens of fish during service in America. I knew that if I did this, it would be a disaster. I came up with the idea of making the broth ahead of time and cooking the fillets in it. The taste was the same but any chef could do it perfectly every time.
This dish was rated one of the top 20 dishes in Orange County by Brad Johnson, a famous local critic. Its success was because I focused on the “manufacturing” process with the intent of eliminating defects. It just goes to show that even an Italian can learn from approaches to manufacturing.