Tuesday, September 2, 2008

So You Want to be a Chef?

I got really angry at a customer today. It doesn't happen very often because I'm pretty good at shrugging off things. Excuse me for a second while I vent; I couldn't vent at the customer.

On our lunch menu, we have a pasta called Ed's Pasta, named for me because it is my favorite pasta. It's a simple pasta really, just tomatoes, artichoke hearts, capers, browned garlic, hot pepper flakes, basil and white wine. Each ingredient in the dish is there for a particular purpose and the quality of the dish depends on the quality of the ingredients.

A female diner ordered Ed's Pasta for lunch today without tomatoes, which to me is unthinkable. The tomato is the sine qua non of the dish, the essential element, contributing flavor, color, and acidity. My initial reaction on getting the ticket was, "This is going to be boring!" But since I'm in the hospitality business, I didn't go try to talk her out of it; I just cooked it like she requested.

But she crossed the etiquette line when she told her server that the result was "bland." No kidding! Just what you asked for. That's why I'm the chef and you're not.

If you ask for changes to a dish on someone's menu, you have no right to complain when you don't like the result.

There, I feel better already.


  1. You rock, and I already like the flavor of your blog...I'd write more, but about to kick off a party of 15...keep in touch



  2. I am the meat and fish chef at our church's monthly fellowship dinners. One of the most popular meals is always the grilled ribs. Inevitably, there will be at least one request for "no sauce." And almost as inevitably, the same diner will judge the meat, "a bit on the dry side."

    What they don't understand is that sauce isn't something that's slapped on at the last moment like catsup or some boiler-plate condiment designed to mask flaws. While sauce indeed adds flavor, it's also an essential part of the cooking process and the dish's ulitmate feel, texture, experience, and yes, taste.

    So fine, I can lose the tomatoes and sauce. But you've also lost your right to open your mouth for the rest of the evening to do anything except eat.