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Chef Grant Achatz takes a stand

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30 minutes ago, chromedome said:

. In fairness, I know zero of this restaurant or chef and if the bleu cheese somehow impacts on the other courses, then so be it.

 

 

 Not to prolong things...the Bleu burger is apparently a late night special offered on Saturday at 11PM or some such thing,

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39 minutes ago, chromedome said:

Truthfully, I don't see that it's an issue.

Because you’re totally missing the point. If you remove the blue cheese from a bleu cheeseburger you no longer have a blue cheeseburger.  It is that simple. Doesn’t matter if it’s hard to remove or easy to remove. Once you do it it’s no longer a bleu cheeseburger. April Bloomfield offers the bleu cheeseburger. That’s my last word. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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3 hours ago, gfweb said:

 Not to prolong things...the Bleu burger is apparently a late night special offered on Saturday at 11PM or some such thing,

Really special dish to the restaurant. They only bring it out on one day at 11pm. That means people will wait for it and, as it's not a burger stand, there may only be enough patties made for the people who go especially for it. I'm the chef and want to give my customers an experience with something I hold back on until right near the end of service. Someone comes in and asks for this special experience without a key ingredient. That's when I'd go the whole soup Nazi. I'm with chef on this one. 

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2 hours ago, nickrey said:

Really special dish to the restaurant. They only bring it out on one day at 11pm. That means people will wait for it and, as it's not a burger stand, there may only be enough patties made for the people who go especially for it. I'm the chef and want to give my customers an experience with something I hold back on until right near the end of service. Someone comes in and asks for this special experience without a key ingredient. That's when I'd go the whole soup Nazi. I'm with chef on this one. 

 

Okay, it makes more sense in the context.

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"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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29 minutes ago, chromedome said:

 

Okay, it makes more sense in the context.

barely

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Just to flog a dead horse

 

If it were your home and you were cooking...and a guest asked for no cheese...you would:

 

A. Say "OK"

B. Say "bugger off"

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C.  Fine   [ more for me .  it would be a delicious triple creme bleu , or a nice ripe camembert ] 

 

you would do the same.


Edited by rotuts (log)
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39 minutes ago, gfweb said:

Just to flog a dead horse

 

If it were your home and you were cooking...and a guest asked for no cheese...you would:

 

A. Say "OK"

B. Say "bugger off"

 

Your guest isn't paying you.

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No one forces where you choose to spend your money to eat.  If you don't like the menu, go somewhere else, simple.  It would be rude to go to a friends house for dinner and demand changes to the menu, why would it be acceptable to do it at a restaurant?  This whole "entitlement" thing has just gone too far.  Where are the Manners people? 

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Brenda

I whistfully mentioned how I missed sushi. Truly horrified, she told me "you city folk eat the strangest things!", and offered me a freshly fried chitterling!

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This reminds me of the restaurant scene in the movie "Hell or High Water".

 

Quote

A waitress, she must be ninety years old, walks up.

WAITRESS: Ya’ll are a might early for lunch, ain’t you? It’s not even eleven.

MARCUS: Howdy ma’am. How are you today?

She casts a mean glare at Marcus.

WAITRESS: Hot. And not the good kind. What don’t you want?

MARCUS: Pardon?

WAITRESS: What don’t you want?

MARCUS: Well, I was thinking I’d just get the --

WAITRESS: I been working here forty-four years. Only thing anyone’s ever ordered is the T-Bone steak and a baked potato. ‘Cept some asshole from New York who tried to order trout in 1987. We don’t sell no goddam trout. Don’t have nuthin but T-bones. So, you either don’t want the corn on the cob, or you don’t want the green beans, so what don’t you want?

MARCUS: I don’t want green beans.

She looks at PARKER.

PARKER:I don’t want green beans either.

WAITRESS: Steaks cooked medium rare.

PARKER: Could I have mine --

WAITRESS: That weren’t a question

 


Edited by liuzhou (log)
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55 minutes ago, nonblonde007 said:

No one forces where you choose to spend your money to eat.  If you don't like the menu, go somewhere else, simple.  It would be rude to go to a friends house for dinner and demand changes to the menu, why would it be acceptable to do it at a restaurant?  This whole "entitlement" thing has just gone too far.  Where are the Manners people? 

You willfully distort the issue.

 

It’s not “entitlement” unless you are talking about the chef who won’t leave off the cheese.

 

It’s not “ changing the menu” it is saying “no cheese please”.   A friend who won’t leave off the cheese is being an ass. And a bad host. 

 

Like saying cook “cook it medium rare “. Not a menu change

 

Manners indeed.  

 

 

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7 hours ago, gfweb said:

You willfully distort the issue.

 

It’s not “entitlement” unless you are talking about the chef who won’t leave off the cheese.

 

It’s not “ changing the menu” it is saying “no cheese please”.   A friend who won’t leave off the cheese is being an ass. And a bad host. 

 

Like saying cook “cook it medium rare “. Not a menu change

 

Manners indeed.  

 

 

Exactly.  

 

We frequent a local restaurant. A lot. I like their burger, don't like their bun. You know what?  They put it on toasted rye for me.  They leave off the cheese, which it comes with. They put the tomato jam on the side. Significant Eater doesn't really enjoy the blue it comes with - they put a different cheese on for her.  They are in the business to make customers happy.

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13 minutes ago, weinoo said:

They are in the business to make customers happy.


And there's nothing wrong with that. For 99.763% of us who cook for a living, that is what we do. We have to. It's a tough business with lots of competition. But that other tiny percentage has reached a point where it can do what it envisions doing and do it the way it wants to do it without having to alter it and still be successful because it's worked its way to the point of being able to do that. And there's nothing wrong with that either. 

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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3 hours ago, Tri2Cook said:


And there's nothing wrong with that. For 99.763% of us who cook for a living, that is what we do. We have to. It's a tough business with lots of competition. But that other tiny percentage has reached a point where it can do what it envisions doing and do it the way it wants to do it without having to alter it and still be successful because it's worked its way to the point of being able to do that. And there's nothing wrong with that either. 

Grant may be one in a million, and with a fair amount of investors behind his vision, it makes it easier, no? 

 

But how long do young chefs who don't cater to their customers last?


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Doesn't the flexibility of the kitchen depend somewhat on the type of food being served or on the particular dish? Burgers are a perfect example of something that can be made to order. You can get a plain burger. Or a cheeseburger with a choice of cheese. Or a chile burger or whatever. If you are restaurant that serves burgers it's advisable to be flexible. Have a great meat product and they will come. But some complex dishes rely more on a combination of ingredients cooked together. If a restaurant uses a house-made red sauce on their pastas it would probably be unlikely they could make it without onions.

 

For a while I had coincidental health issues that required some pretty awful restrictions. If you are on a low-fat low-acid wheat free diet don't expect an Italian restaurant to be able to accommodate your every whim. I just ate a lot of sushi during that period. If your friends want to go out for pizza, they may not be able to sub a cauliflower crust, and hold the cheese and tomato sauce.

 

Anyone who has had a three year old knows how to go way out their way to accommodate certain, shall we say preferences. Restaurants are not your mother. If they can easily or happily make adjustments for you, patronize them and tip them well. If not, go somewhere else, no? 

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6 hours ago, weinoo said:

But how long do young chefs who don't cater to their customers last?


For the most part, not long but established successful chefs can get away with things others can't. The Soup Nazi episode from Seinfeld takes it to the extreme but the basic premise is valid... if enough people love what you do, you don't have to accommodate anything you don't want to.

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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I'm not "willfully distorting the issue".  I guess I am just jaded with all the silly entitled issues causing honest people just trying to do their thing and hope people enjoy it, so many issues.  Please forgive if I came across too harsh.  When I offer a service of something that I truly love and believe in, it hurts to have to alter my creations to cater to someone who likely has no medical reason for the request, just a preference  or a whim.  I would of course accommodate an allergy whenever possible. However, upsetting the entire routine of the kitchen because you don't like peppers or something is a very spoiled childish thing to demand.  In my humble opinion. In our day and age, there are so many options for people who have "preferences" in their dining experience.  Please choose something that you will be happy with, rather than a place you know will disappoint.  Seems like common sense to me. If you don't care for Blues rock, you don't go to the club featuring it. I applaud Achatz for making a stand.

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Brenda

I whistfully mentioned how I missed sushi. Truly horrified, she told me "you city folk eat the strangest things!", and offered me a freshly fried chitterling!

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I have no personal experience in a professional kitchen while many others here have, so bear with me.   From what I have been told or read, every change or exemption from the expected menu or recipe throws sand into the kitchen mills.    Small, informal places seem more able to custom a burger; set menu houses not so much.

 

As accomplished diners as we are here, it just makes sense to choose your venue.    Weinoo has his favorite haunt where custom orders aren't a problem.   We should each be so lucky, and/or find out own.   

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13 hours ago, weinoo said:

....

But how long do young chefs who don't cater to their customers last?

 

3 hours ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:

... From what I have been told or read, every change or exemption from the expected menu or recipe throws sand into the kitchen mills.    Small, informal places seem more able to custom a burger; set menu houses not so much.

 

It's a double-edged sword. If you spend all your time trying to cater to the special requests, every other order is not getting as much attention as it could.  The gluten free vegan may or may not  be happy, meanwhile everyone else is wondering what took so long when the kitchen got backed up because they had to stop and think, taste and adjust, make something from scratch instead of the mise they spent all day prepping that had butter and flour in it. 

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At my place, I preemptively designed the menu so that most of the items either were naturally gluten-free or could be made gluten-free with a simple substitution. I also had a couple of vegetarian/vegan-friendly dishes. Turning out 30-odd covers a night at 3-5 courses per, mostly single-handed, with a battery consisting of two domestic ranges with electric coils, meant I couldn't afford to do things on the fly.

 

My menu explained this, and also stated explicitly that (because of my limited resources) no other substitutions could be made at the time of order. Anyone else with special needs was invited to find me in the kitchen before mealtime and discuss options. If I could work with their needs I generally would, but we were out in the boonies and making a 2-hour round trip to town to pick up special ingredients was just not an option, with the best will in the world.

 

There were only a few occasions when I couldn't oblige someone and it truly sucked, because my restaurant was at a small seaside inn and there was no alternative eating place except a gas station a few km away that did pizza and fried chicken (neither of them good options for anyone with dietary restrictions I couldn't meet).

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“What is called sound economics is very often what mirrors the needs of the respectably affluent.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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There is a small pizza place here in town. While the Chinese generally have no idea how to do a pizza, this one is better than most and bearable when I'm really too tired to cook. However, like every other such place they throw c*rn into every pizza. There I ask them to omit it, because I know they are going to assemble  the thing to order right in front of me and missing a listed ingredient is not going to interrupt the flow of their service.

 

One time, I found myself unhappily in Pizza Hut - not my idea. I requested  Pizza No. 21, but without the c*rn. No can do! Impossible! That's when I remembered that Pizza hut's 'pizzas' are pre-assembled in a factory hundreds of miles away and shipped frozen to the individual restaurants.


Edited by liuzhou (log)
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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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On 11/1/2019 at 6:57 AM, weinoo said:

We frequent a local restaurant.

 

I'm hazarding a guess, but is this place an Alinea-style situation?  Does it not make a difference?  Obvs it matters that you're a *regular*; but does the genre of dining experience count in terms of when it's appropriate or not to ask for rye toast instead of the yucky bun?  

 

I've been to Alinea twice, and both times it was more of an immersive-art experience than a menu-type situation.  It just seems not really feasible to be working around all of those dishes every whichaway.  I realize that Weinoo said he doesn't go to restaurants for art; but nevertheless I think that's where they aim at Alinea.  

 

I would not say the same for Spotted Pig, for what that's worth.  Although I probably would not order a stylized bleu-cheese burger without the bleu cheese, myself.  In part because I'm kind of cheap, and wouldn't pay for a gastropub creation that I wasn't actually interested in.  

 

Which brings up an interesting question:  does one pay for the bleu cheese if you ask that it be withheld?  


Edited by SLB (log)

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I don't frequent fine-dining establishments a lot. Good restaurants, yes, but not Alinea-level restaurants. When I do, I'm putting myself in the chef's hands, save mentioning that I have celiac disease.

 

When @cyalexa and I dined at the Catbird Seat in Nashville, we had no idea what each of the courses in the 10-course tasting menu was going to be, nor what it was going to have in it, until they brought it to us. (They gave us a copy of the menu to take with us afterward, so we could remember what we had.) I would not have dreamed of asking them to change the prep of anything to fit my tastes, even had I known what it was going to be. 

 

They did ask at the time we made reservations whether we had any allergies, etc., that needed to be taken into account. As that was before I was diagnosed, we did not. It was, btw, a stunningly marvelous meal.

 

I have no problem asking the local steakhouse to leave the pepper-heavy seasoning off my steak. They seem to have no problem doing so.

 


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Don't ask. Eat it.

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51 minutes ago, SLB said:

Which brings up an interesting question:  does one pay for the bleu cheese if you ask that it be withheld?  

 

 

No discounts.  It's not pay-by-ingredient, it's pay-by-dish.


Edited by pastrygirl (log)
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