Wednesday, January 27, 2010


this post started as my response to Rupert's latest...i've been thinking some of these very thoughts lately and just haven't been writing....

we, as chefs, tend to take our customers for granted, whether because we don't see them or have been in the kitchen for 16 hrs a day 6 days a week for the last 6 years...(don't take all those 6's the wrong way, its just a coincidence) we want our customers to eat our food the way we make it and like it!... we forget that the dining experience is about enjoying yourself, and that if someone needs to modify their food to have a better experience, so be it. I know we talked the last time i was down for a podcast about what our goals as chefs are as opposed to what they were when we were "just line cooks or prep cooks" and that experience we want our customers to have becomes more of a reality ... we want our guests to have such a great time that they think of us the next time they want to go out to dinner, or when they make a recommendation to friends... we put that goal of the 'experience' above most others... not to say that our old goals aren't still relevant ... of course we want to continue learning our craft, refining our skills and moving up (or forward)... but all of those 'old' goals are now support goals for that experience... we want our teams to understand that goal of the experience and to do that we must set the example, leave the negativity out of the kitchen (out of our lives) and put our teams in the right mindset... this doesn't mean you can't have a good time.. in fact it means quite the opposite.

i often think of the restaurants i've come from (particularly the one we all worked at) with a bit of regret... regret for not being more composed or tactful, regret for allowing myself to participate in the negativity and regret for not having this understanding of the 'experience'... i don't see these regrets as a bad thing,.. i was young (still am damn it!), trigger happy and foolish... i've also realized in looking back that the restaurant i (we) came from has a long way to go to even come close to that point, some of the guests there will receive that experience and some have, but most will walk away talking about the beer or the gardens...

this understanding of the whole dining experience takes our careers to a whole new level... for me it has turned me into a new chef... the chef who understands what it is going to take to create that experience and the chef who wants to cater to my guests as if they were (like Rupert said) in my home

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