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pixelchef

The Influence Of Reviews

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Greetings Chef,

First, I just want to thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to participate in this Q&A. I've been a fan of Trio for a while now.

In lieu of the recent tragedy concerning Bernard Loiseau's passing, I thought I'd touch on the subject of reviews with you. Do you personally feel that reviews/ratings have reached a level of importance that should be considered inappropriate, and possibly dangerous? How seriously do you take the reviews of Trio? Will a bad review cause you to rethink a dish, or even remove it from your menu? Or, do you just brush it off as someone else's opinion and continue on with the direction YOU feel is right?

Thanks so much for your time,

-Chris

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Chris:

Reviews are extremely important to restaurants. They can make or break businesses and even careers. This topic is very difficult because so many things come into play, I'll do my best.

Reviews have to be taken very seriously at all restaurants because they bridge us to our customers. When I was looking for a new car a few years ago what did I do ? Looked to Motortrend, Car and Driver, JB Powers and so on. The same way people look at The NY Times, Gourmet, Zagat, Mobile and so on to find a place to dine. Reviews are necessary, people need the information made available by media that scores restaurants. One of the problems being we are judging the unjudgable. The food at Trio is aweful to some and brillant to others, matters of opinion are just that ..opinion. Operational and techniqcal issues are different, and can be understood more clearly.

Any criticism of a dish, wether from a guest, a critic, or a employee provokes a second guess. I will taste the dish again, even if I have already done so or I have 100% confidence in it. But when I do so I try to think like them, obviously, if the dish has been consumed I had confidence in it during it's creation, or it would have never been served. But I am I chef thinking differently than a guest, wanting it to work, knowing why it should, and so on. We have been in situations where a particular dish has caught a steady stream of fire, commonly I decide to leave it on the menu because I feel so strongly about it. There is a fine line between customer satisfaction and artistic belief.

It goes beyond the finances, and customer counts. Chefs' are dedicated to their food. They work very hard and sacrifice a great deal to bring a part of them to the table. A bad review can be crushing on a personal level. Through our food we expose ourselves immensely. It becomes our religon, faith, and being.

In reading a review I trust that the critic is speaking on behalf of the readership, not themselves, much like a president is speaking on behalf of a country.


--

Grant Achatz

Chef/Owner

Alinea

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Thank you very much for such a detailed answer, Chef! I appreciate it very much.

Your insight is extremely valuable.

Again, thanks for doing this.

-Chris

PS - I plan to dine at Trio this year when I make the trek to Chicago from Canada. TDF, here I come.

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