Friday, April 23, 2010

Too many rants, not enough time

So I have been paralyzed! Too many things to talk about that I can't decide where to start.

1. potato-gate, i was going to write about how the big bully Peak of the Market, yes, the guy who talks into carrots, was oppressing the small farmer, the small grocer and the small restaurants who want to buy direct from the growers. But before i got to my computer, peak of the market met with the potato coalition people and made concessions to allow small producers to sell root crops with out restriction. (Thank you to the Shreimers, the Crampton's, Tall Grass Prairie and Ben Kramer and all the rest who lead the charge) I did get a letter back from our premier's office 4 days after the issue had been resolved, saying he would forward my letter to Stan Struthers, Ag minister.

2. Iron Chef Centrex, My team was brilliant but were crushed in the final. I was going to post a play by play, but some of the highlights include turkey skin short bread, rabbit ice cream, smoked chicken wings in a butternut bbq sauce-hanging over smoking coals, rabbit baby back ribs, butternut ravioli with butternut chutney, zucchini sangria...

3. Rapid Transit, not really a food issue, but it sounds like the city is building a bus path from downtown to my restaurant. 170 million to increase my traffic. I think i need more seats! But really, if we are going to spend money on rapid transit, shouldn't it be useful?

4. M.L.C.C , oh don't get me started!

5. Milk, it is easier to buy crystal meth than to get milk from a cow. This was going to spin into a tale of how the man (government) is so concerned about "protecting us" that they interfere with our ability to make informed choices. The people become like children...

6. Horsemeat why is it okay to eat some animals and not others? Why would rabbit pot pie make one woman cry and leave the restaurant but a chicken sandwich is perfectly fine? How do you decide what is ethical? I try to come down to two questions, Is the animal humanely raised and slaughtered? Is it sustainable? but what other issues are there?

7. Complaints and forgiveness, so many people don't complain in a restaurant cause they "don't want to cause trouble". The problem is that if you don't complain we can't fix it. If we can't fix it you will leave with a negative impression of the restaurant and then you will tell your friends how much we suck. If we can fix it, you will be happy and we will be happy. If i overcook your steak, let me make you a new one. Once you have complained, and it has been addressed, forgive us. We all make mistakes and in a busy restaurant it is hard to always be at %100.

8. %110, you can't give anyone %110. all you got is %100 percent. i was at a hotel that promised that if your room wasn't %110 clean you would get your room for free. I wanted to take them up on this, because no room could ever bee %110 anything. I could spin this rant into the overuse of meaningless cliches. Doesn't anyone have new words? hey, it is what it is.

9. waiting for your table: When you go to your dentist, and arrive on time, you expect to wait 1/2 an hour before you are brought in to see anyone. At a restaurant, why do people get annoyed when they have to wait 10 minutes for their table? At least at the restaurant, you can have a cocktail while you wait. They should have martini bars in medical offices!

10. Chew your Food why is it that in north america, the true test of the quality of a piece of meat is how soft it is. Are we too lazy to chew? Every piece of meat needs to be as tender as boneless, pumped, chicken breasts. This really limits the types of things a chef can do. Personally, i don't mind a piece of food that is a little "toothsome".

11. How Much Does Your Food Cost? I wanted to talk about what it costs a restaurant to put food in front of you, and let you in on the secret of how little money the owner actually gets to take home. I am concerned with restaurant reviews that focus largely on price, particularly when the reviewers sense of current prices is a little out of date. Food costs, labour costs, rental prices, and utility costs have all gone up in the past few years, and menu prices have to go up accordingly. My favourite customer comment is "32 for a rack of lamb", I can get one at safeway for $8. Yes sir, you could, but it is not quebec lamb, it doesn't come with a herb crust, potatoes, veg and a sauce, you would have to buy it, prepare it, serve it, pour wine, play music, wash the dishes and mop the floor when you left. You are not doing all this for $8. I think for my next blog, coming soon to a computer near you, will start here. I guess I want all of the dining public to understand that restaurant owners want you to get value for your dollar, and want you to leave happy and satisfied.


  1. I, for one, would be extremely interested in a full take out blog on the costs of doing business. Looking forward to it.

    Sucks about Centrex.

  2. lets not pretend that tender meat is only popular in north america (i'm flabbergasted, there almost seems to be negative implication on that statement), the standard breed by which all beef is measured, Wagyu (or Kobe as we call it) comes from Japan... A properly cooked Wagyu steak is simply seared, served as blue as possible. Coincidentally sushi is popular in Japan... can't get much more tender than raw. I could go on, but I feel it's unnecessary.

    also, don't worry about centrex iron chef, competitions and celebrity chef-ery don't impress anyone in the industry. Let's be pious...