Back when I was in college and with the tennis team (no snickering peanut gallery) we had a player from one of the Scandinavian countries. I recall him telling me that before he came to college he spent a year in the army as that was required of all 18 year old men. I am thinking to myself that must have been an eye-opener but then I started to realize that I have never heard of a Scandinavian country ever declaring war but still I bet that left a mark on him and he learned a lot.
It was this little non-beer riddled brain cell that made me think of that while I was watching my home boy Anthony Bourdain’s No_Reservations this past week named “obsessions” The show was about a guy who has a hard on for a 26 dollar burger made from the best aged steaks, an Australian who raises Wagyu beef and a chef who loves cheese that I actually copied one of his recipes that made my own doctor divorce me. Meanwhile during this whole episode Anthony is butchering a pig as that is what he declares is his obsession – Pork. The show moves along and it is pretty good and then you get to the the bloggers….
Don’t get me wrong I am a huge an of blogs and I chose to read/follow those that make me happy as I life is too short to get all fired up some stupid comment but these guys take the cake. I won’t go into great detail but as they are taking pictures of the plates (I hate that BTW!) they are telling Anthony that it led to a break up of a partnership and let me tell you those guys are angry! One of them had more cholesterol than blood and is now forced to eat rabbit food and another bitches about leaving a 400K job to write about food. Um hello boys you may need to see professional help or better vodka.
Anyway to my point and scroll back up to the top if I have lost you in my dribble….(I can wait) I think that everyone should work in a restaurant at one point in their life. I have to be honest I loved putting my thumb into soups, standing over an ice bin hungover so bad that the smell of the waitress spill mat was about to make me hurl and the knowledge of how a restaurant ticks. To me the best part was watching a kitchen tick in that the took a raw product and made a meal, and they did it over, and over, and over again.
It was these bloggers made me ask the question, I bet they have never set foot into the back of kitchen and seen guerrilla warfare at it’s best while diners are getting annoyed that their salad with the Sauce on the Side is taking too long. Now I am not saying that one should be subjected to crappy food, a server who needs to check the attitude at the door, or an owner who is more concerned with making cash over customer satisfaction because I wouldn’t. I think that you will find people who are former restaurant servers, cooks, bartenders are a little bit more understanding if there is by chance a problem and their head won’t spin off axis if the mushroom risotto isn’t properly seasoned correctly.
Now here is my problem with Food Bloggers and those bad experience tweeters on restaurants (oh dear CBT is on the soapbox) is that these people who blast a restaurant or meal never made one comment to the management/owner or never worked in one. That to me is wrong and cowardly because if you are going to have the stones to tweet “I had a meal at XXX and it sucked, the service was slow and I am never coming back and think everyone should not go there!” and yet walk right by the owner/manager and not say a thing then shame on you! If you happened to catch the show you will know what I am talking about.
Last summer I recalled a trip report on a message board from a friend of mine who visited a new/upcoming restaurant on “that crappy island I love” and he kind of drug it in the mud. This owner of the restaurant was not a frequenter of the message board but one of her friends who owns a B&B on that “crappy island” was and she forwarded the review to the owner. Sure enough my friend who originally wrote the review made a retraction on his trip report in that the owner had apologized for the bad experience and the next trip back to please come visit her again and see if she can make amends. To me that is the way one should handle complaints and I caution those who are about to be ugly please put yourself in their shoes for a second.
Take it light and make sure you tip your server!