Monday, July 2, 2012

The five things chefs wish you wouldn't ask them

Posted By on Mon, Jul 2, 2012 at 8:00 AM

There are five questions sure to bring on a chefs sad face.
  • Flickr: Snapshooter.ch
  • There are five questions sure to bring on a chef's sad face.
It's a good decision to keep the people with knife skills in your life happy. The barrier has broken down more between the dining room and the kitchen, giving diners more opportunity to get the chef's blood boiling. It's not often a question of intent, but rather what happens after you open your mouth. Here are the five questions that chefs wish you wouldn't ask them.

5. How many calories are in that? Unless they're a fast-food franchise in New York City, most restaurants aren't posting calorie counts on their menus. And that's for a good reason. When you eat out, chefs don't want you thinking about that fist-sized piece of butter that made your fish taste amazing. They don't count calories and would hope that on the nights you do dine out, you follow suit.

4. Could you take this out and then add this in? Even if chefs give you the impression that they're just throwing something together, a lot of thought goes into each menu item. When you start taking components from one dish and wedging them onto something else, you're playing chef. Would you want a chef to come to your office and start dictating your spreadsheet usage?

3. Could you make me this dish that was on this reality food television show or in the pages of this food magazine (and is not your dish or featured in your restaurant)? The Food Network is proving to be the ultimate double-edge sword for restaurants. If the right show comes to your place, you could easily be driving a cherry-red convertible like Guy Fieri. The only problem is that before they get there, the art of food television and glossy magazines has made it seem like a lot of us know more about the kitchen than we really do.

2. What's good on the menu?This implies that a lot is not good on the menu. It's also a challenge to predict what kind of eater you are. So invariably, the response to this question is another one: what do you like?

1. When are you opening your new restaurant? Contractors, the health department and liquor licensing agencies all have different agendas and timelines. And in the midst of corralling those entities and trying to train a staff, a chef has to deal with the excitement (which is welcome) and persistent questions (less welcome) about when a new place is set to open. When they know, you'll know immediately. Because the only thing more frustrating than not being open is the amount of money it costs to have a restaurant that doesn't yet serve food.

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