As chefs we have to get used to criticism from both our customers and the media. I will never forget one night years ago when I went out to visit a table in the dining room. When I arrived the group actually stood up and applauded the meal. Then as I ambled back towards the kitchen briming with pride an elderly gentleman who was dining with his extremely beautiful granddaughter, proceeded to tell me that his was the worst meal he had ever eaten. Of course I immediately forgot about the applause and cried in my soup about grandpa and the princess for the rest of the night.
Several of the most mediocre chefs I have seen, have won the Food & Wine Top Ten Best New Chef award and some of the best chefs get no publicity at all. I suppose the only thing we can do is continue to train hard to prefect our trade and hope for the best.
This all came about because I was reading Michael Bauers’s blog in the San Francisco Chronicle. He was talking about the top 100 restaurants. What I found interesting was how many people wrote in to question his choices. I guess its simply a mixed bag of skill and marketing to run a restaurant. Many of the most highly publicized restaurants hire PR firms, which has always irked me to some extent.
But I was never that popular in high school either, so I suppose it’s my problem.