Having won awards for cooking in the past there are a few things that I failed on, on more than one occasion. They are always little things and the really stupid thing is 9 times out of 10 you know about it before you send it, have you ever done something that you know isn't right maybe a paper on something that you know part of it is wrong, but they'll never know and you know dame well that they will know. It's the same with food if you know that there's something wrong with that meal "DON'T SEND IT", this may seem the simplest thing in the world but I bet good money that every chef in the world has done it. The chef has to think of food cost etc, can he really afford to have the manager screaming down his neck if the kitchen is losing money, no so every now and then they take the chance and watch holding there breath at the restaurant door for 5 minutes for that plate to come back into the kitchen and hear the words "Chef there's a problem with this meal".
Right so here's how you stop things like that from happening, if you are reading this I would think awards are what you want as a chef or maybe manager/owner of a restaurant. The first rule is to stop thinking so hard, what you are trying for is an award in cooking and you cook better when you are on the ball, there is no point in being stressed before a stressful service that has an inspector in it. Every service should be the same if you think there is something wrong with that dish bin it and start again, make the customer wait, I know it sounds bad and that there are managers reading this going "NO DON'T MAKE THEM WAIT, GET IT RIGHT FIRST TIME", I agree to a point but everyone in the world makes mistakes. Try not to go over the top with your menu yes you want an award from it but people need to be able to eat it as well. So many Chefs put so many things on one plate that the flavours of everything are lost, no award there.
It should also be said that a lot of awards for food within a restaurant are lost because of the service, the waiting staff must be on the ball. The chef should take the time to tell the staff what each dish is, they should try the food that they are serving it makes it a lot easier for them to sell and they will put a lot more effort in to the sell.
You should also think very seriously to trying for awards, is your business the right place for such things. Once you have an award you should put your prices up, once you put prices up people will start complaining a lot more if there is a problem. Can your staff do what they did on one night every night without a problem? Some times you are better stay a step down and making constant money than you are taking that step up. As I talked about earlier if you have any doubts about a plate of food don't send it, it's the same going for an award if you have any doubts don't do it. However I'm not saying don't go for it, training is the key. Start getting the staff ready now for awards get them thinking inform them that there is a single dinner in the restaurant tonight and they could be an inspector, see how the chef takes the news he should be ready to impress (most catering consultants can offer a mystery dinner service, at a good rate). Monitor the response of that service from the front and back of house, look at areas that could be worked on.
Always keep in your mind that it takes years to get an award in a restaurant but seconds to take it away.
I wish you all the very best of luck, and if you think I could help you please feel free to contact me on the details below. I always like to help.