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Thread: Trust the Chef?

  1. #1

    Zwiefel's Avatar
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    Trust the Chef?

    One of our esteemed members shared this article elsewhere and I thought it would be good conversation fodder:

    http://onmilwaukee.com/dining/articl...stthechef.html

    I'm definitely sympathetic to this perspective with the **** I see some people doing at restaurants. My former FiL was a prime culprit. He didn't want to pay $1 more for the a la carte prices to get what he actually wanted, so he would order a combo special and request 6 different changes to it. embarrassed the **** out of me every single time and I needled him for it...usually in front of the waiter.

    But, we also all have our own peccadillos. To give only 1 example, I cannot stand to mix sweet and savory...I've tried quite a few versions of it and I find it rather unpleasant..not unlike how unpleasant 95% of people find my level of chile preference! So I will request to have any honey/apple/pear/whatever glaze left off of my pork/fish...I will get a separate pizza if someone wants pineapple...etc.

    I examine the menu carefully to see what appeals and what I could be happy with, while keeping any changes to 1 (very rarely, 2). In probably 20% of cases, my alternative would be to leave as every single menu item has something I find....whatever the opposite of appealing is, disappealing maybe. In the other cases, I would just have an experience that was sub-par and probably would end up not coming back. This also happens 2-3 times a year as I can't find anything that I'm comfortable with requesting the number of changes I would need to enjoy it.

    I also see there being a difference between fine dining and a taco truck/burger joint/etc. on this question. I have generally found that fine dining restaurants tend offer something that I don't want to make changes to, or that it's done in a way that I can just ignore the part I find objectionable (sweet glaze served on the side, perhaps).

    How do you guys feel? I put this in BOH, but I'm interested in everyone's thoughts.
    Remember: You're a unique individual...just like everybody else.

  2. #2
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    I have to disagree, as long as the chef composes in the proper way. I do enjoy peach or Apple with my pork, or sour cherry or raspberry with duck, aslong as the chef knows how to compose the flavors properly. Granted, a lot prolly cannot. Not to knock them, but it's a matter of maturing and understanding how to cook with the product you have. Not "going off" a concept or theory one has that sounds right, but truely understanding.

    My 2*¢

  3. #3
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    kitchens HATE HATE HATE modifiers. order as it comes, or get something else!

  4. #4

    Zwiefel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by panda View Post
    kitchens HATE HATE HATE modifiers. order as it comes, or get something else!
    Even if that means dining somewhere else?
    Remember: You're a unique individual...just like everybody else.

  5. #5
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    yes, cant please everybody. rather have people who are going to really enjoy my food than try to cater to every palette out there.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Chuckles's Avatar
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    I find much easier to say no or get mad when the restaurant is a busy one. When the restaurant is half full it is very hard to play the 'my way or the highway' routine.

    Additionally, my restaurant has a ton of business groups. Many of these diners are traveling. (This should sound familiar to you Danny!) When I get an order for three scallops and some grilled asparagus I try to picture someone that is forced to eat out 5 nights in a row and can sympathize with them not wanting to become obese. I figure they would order a protein shake if they could.

    And I can picture what the owners of my company would say if they knew I was denying special requests. 'So they asked for a substitution. And you Could do it but you Didn't do it. And this is the HOSPITALITY business.'

    It's not rocket surgery. Honor the special request but make them $$PAY$$ for it.

    I like Panda's post about not catering to every palette out there. I just don't have control over the concept of my restaurant and catering to every palette definitely seems to be part of the scheme of my spot.
    'I don't want to achieve immortality through my work... I want to achieve it through not dying.' Woody Allen

  7. #7
    On the question of trusting someone to do their job - one of my professors in engineering school once said to us:

    "When I know what kind of engineers you will be, I am terrified to go to the doctor"

    On the other hand, I also work in an industry where requirements change daily (the joys of IT) with management saying - "I know its not huge, can you replace "core functionality" with "3 months of programming for new stuff" by tomorrow. We already promised the customer", so I make my best to eat the dish as is. It is rare to find menu where every item is incompatible with my taste.

    Just tell your FOH staff what kinds of requests are unacceptable. ******* up other customers orders and wasting everyone's time just to please a special snowflake is not good for business too.

  8. #8
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    I was tempted to troll this thread with some silly remarks around customers being always right or I know my taste buds better than the chef or some such rubbish. But on a serious note, I am an eastern Christian orthodox, that mean that for some times of the year I am either
    A) vegan
    B) vegan but allowed some fish.

    I try to go for the vegan option but sometimes it's not possible. What do I do then. I can't walk to the back and explain to chef. I know people have an entitlement mentality these days but it's either change the dish or walk off.

  9. #9
    I think there's a balance to strike.

    If you're running a destination, chef-driven restaurant with accolades then sure, you can get away with saying that this is the menu you're going to receive and that's how it is (although many/most will be accommodating).

    For 99% of the other restaurants that are out there, it's an on-going dialogue between guests and house. No one like it's when someone builds their own menu items (like your FiL - subbing 6 things etc), especially when it's busy, but part of our job/goal is to make people happy. Sometimes that involves dumb sh*t we don't agree with.

    A lot of the cooks/chefs you'll see throwing hissy fits & declining simple things (butter pasta for kids - in an Italian restaurant - for example) just on 'principle alone', are simply sissy, egotistical pricks. And this profession/field has no shortage of those.

    I've seen chefs put out absolutely horrible vegan/veg dishes just because the restaurant's food is fat/dairy & protein centric and it would take a bit of effort to throw together something decent. I think that's weak.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by JDA_NC View Post
    I think there's a balance to strike.

    If you're running a destination, chef-driven restaurant with accolades then sure, you can get away with saying that this is the menu you're going to receive and that's how it is (although many/most will be accommodating).

    For 99% of the other restaurants that are out there, it's an on-going dialogue between guests and house. No one like it's when someone builds their own menu items (like your FiL - subbing 6 things etc), especially when it's busy, but part of our job/goal is to make people happy. Sometimes that involves dumb sh*t we don't agree with.

    A lot of the cooks/chefs you'll see throwing hissy fits & declining simple things (butter pasta for kids - in an Italian restaurant - for example) just on 'principle alone', are simply sissy, egotistical pricks. And this profession/field has no shortage of those.

    I've seen chefs put out absolutely horrible vegan/veg dishes just because the restaurant's food is fat/dairy & protein centric and it would take a bit of effort to throw together something decent. I think that's weak.
    Wow couldn't have said it better myself, everything you said was on point, especially when you said the egotistical sissy prick comment Right On brother right on

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