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At this point I was beginning to get annoyed with the face pulling antics of our server especially when I asked her to hold the bread basket so that I could take a photograph. I was starting to regret our return visit.

Sorry but I find this potentially hilarious. Can I ask, were you the only diners in the room at this point or did she have other people to serve, or perhaps even unattended tables to prepare for imminent diners? I guess we can't possibly know. I empathise completely with you that they are in the service industry and shouldn't be pulling faces but you seem to push that expectation to the extreme. Offering good service is one thing, having the whole rythym of service disrupted so a blogger can conduct his personal photo-shoot is another.

The communication problem is unforgiveable though - can I ask, did you try the fail safe approach to all 'foreigners' of shouting slowly?

Did you read my review? :laugh:

We were first in. First out.

All tables were laid. No one else was in when the bread was served. Three people on service for a total of 14 covers over the whole lunch? Do me a favour.

My point and shoot was on auto. One photo (I'm good) :wink: 15/20 seconds max, if that.

End of.

I did and I am still none the wiser why you don not deem it worthy of 2 stars? Your main gripe relates to service, accents, light, facial expressions,little or no atmosphere, non compliance in breadbasket balancing, and no warmth, Just wondering how these factors relate to Michelins 2 star criteria, I am genuinely interested??

You make an interesting point when you state " Having said that perhaps I would have enjoyed this more if the service had not grated on me so much", as this relates to a research area of mine, which examines mood congruent eating. It follows the hypothesis that when negative emotions are activated it can have an impact on olafactory experiences, which then produces a negative bias towards pereception of what is being eaten. The inverse is true when people are in a positive mood state they experience food as being of higher quality and tasting better even if they are actually eating the same dish. Thats why inspectors detach emotion from inspecting and return again to control for these confounding variables.

I don't now if anyone has ever looked at tripadvisor, but check it out some time and you will find that those who have had a negative experience in a Michelin Star restaurant always state that the place "does not deserve its star".

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Thats why inspectors detach emotion from inspecting and return again to control for these confounding variables.

Oh come off it. Detach emotion? From a meal? You're having a laugh.

Sorry I meant to say they do not let a waitresses facial reactions decide on whether the restaurant gets a star or not. Well at least I hope they don't?

I did not state detach emotion from a meal, I stated detach emotion from inspecting. As emotions can often be a major contributor in decision making, sometimes resulting in overidealisation or being overcritical, therefore this is a factor (of which I am sure there are many).

However to stay back on track it appears in this case emotion and biased cognitive distortions were a major contributing factor behind LCS not being deemed to have two stars , rather than the claim being arrived at via Michelins criteria.

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Thats why inspectors detach emotion from inspecting and return again to control for these confounding variables.

Oh come off it. Detach emotion? From a meal? You're having a laugh.

Sorry I meant to say they do not let a waitresses facial reactions decide on whether the restaurant gets a star or not. Well at least I hope they don't?

I did not state detach emotion from a meal, I stated detach emotion from inspecting. As emotions can often be a major contributor in decision making, sometimes resulting in overidealisation or being overcritical, therefore this is a factor (of which I am sure there are many).

However to stay back on track it appears in this case emotion and biased cognitive distortions were a major contributing factor behind LCS not being deemed to have two stars , rather than the claim being arrived at via Michelins criteria.

I'm sorry, but the idea that anyone reviewing a meal is at all is detached from emotion, immune to cognitive distortions and whatnot is just ridiculous. Any reviewer who thinks themselves capable of such a thing is completely deluded.

A reviewer might not think it goes into the asessment, but unless michelin inspectors are robots, every single factor will invariably go towards the end decision, whether they like it or not.

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Thats why inspectors detach emotion from inspecting and return again to control for these confounding variables.

Oh come off it. Detach emotion? From a meal? You're having a laugh.

Sorry I meant to say they do not let a waitresses facial reactions decide on whether the restaurant gets a star or not. Well at least I hope they don't?

I did not state detach emotion from a meal, I stated detach emotion from inspecting. As emotions can often be a major contributor in decision making, sometimes resulting in overidealisation or being overcritical, therefore this is a factor (of which I am sure there are many).

However to stay back on track it appears in this case emotion and biased cognitive distortions were a major contributing factor behind LCS not being deemed to have two stars , rather than the claim being arrived at via Michelins criteria.

I'm sorry, but the idea that anyone reviewing a meal is at all is detached from emotion, immune to cognitive distortions and whatnot is just ridiculous. Any reviewer who thinks themselves capable of such a thing is completely deluded.

A reviewer might not think it goes into the asessment, but unless michelin inspectors are robots, every single factor will invariably go towards the end decision, whether they like it or not.

Now reviewing is different from inspecting.

I am saying that of course emotion maybe a factor even for michelin inspectors but to ensure that such extraneous variables are not overly impacting judegement which it can do, is why a criteria is followed (the food being the factors), repeat vists are made and other inpsectors may need to judge the same place.

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Thats why inspectors detach emotion from inspecting and return again to control for these confounding variables.

Oh come off it. Detach emotion? From a meal? You're having a laugh.

Sorry I meant to say they do not let a waitresses facial reactions decide on whether the restaurant gets a star or not. Well at least I hope they don't?

I did not state detach emotion from a meal, I stated detach emotion from inspecting. As emotions can often be a major contributor in decision making, sometimes resulting in overidealisation or being overcritical, therefore this is a factor (of which I am sure there are many).

However to stay back on track it appears in this case emotion and biased cognitive distortions were a major contributing factor behind LCS not being deemed to have two stars , rather than the claim being arrived at via Michelins criteria.

I'm sorry, but the idea that anyone reviewing a meal is at all is detached from emotion, immune to cognitive distortions and whatnot is just ridiculous. Any reviewer who thinks themselves capable of such a thing is completely deluded.

A reviewer might not think it goes into the asessment, but unless michelin inspectors are robots, every single factor will invariably go towards the end decision, whether they like it or not.

Now reviewing is different from inspecting.

I am saying that of course emotion maybe a factor even for michelin inspectors but to ensure that such extraneous variables are not overly impacting judegement which it can do, is why a criteria is followed (the food being the factors), repeat vists are made and other inpsectors may need to judge the same place.

Yes, but it doesn't matter what you do, how many repeat visits you have, however you define what you are doing - you can't eliminate cognitive bias when visiting a restaurant.

Of course, michelin, with multiple visits and so on should be more accurate, but is it really that difficult to believe that David's experience might have been lower than that which you might expect at a 2* restaurant? I don't think he worded it too well, but I think this has got rather silly.

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You make an interesting point when you state " Having said that perhaps I would have enjoyed this more if the service had not grated on me so much", as this relates to a research area of mine, which examines mood congruent eating. It follows the hypothesis that when negative emotions are activated it can have an impact on olafactory experiences, which then produces a negative bias towards pereception of what is being eaten. The inverse is true when people are in a positive mood state they experience food as being of higher quality and tasting better even if they are actually eating the same dish.

Can you point to some books/websites/others that deal with this kind of studies?

Thanks!

Teo

Teo

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"Of course, michelin, with multiple visits and so on should be more accurate, but is it really that difficult to believe that David's experience might have been lower than that which you might expect at a 2* restaurant? I don't think he worded it too well, but I think this has got rather silly".

Yes it is hard to believe as the review does not reflect it and neither does his reasons for stating it is not 2 star. Yes I agree it has got silly

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Hi Teo

Here are some

Dess NK, Edelheit D (1998) The bitter with the sweet: the taste/stress/temperament nexus. Biol Psychol 48:103–119.

Heath, TP, Melichar, JK, Nutt, DJ, Donaldson, LF (2006) Human taste thresholds are modulated by serotonin and noradrenaline. Journal of Neuroscience26: 1266412671.

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Hi there everyone out there in foodie land.

I generally don`t like to interfere with people`s opinions of my restaurant as it is all a subjective opinion.

But I think I should just raise a point about this latest review.

Mr Goodfellow arrived at our restaurant, taken to his table and was brought his amuse bouche and immediately put held up his recorder to the waitress, and asked the young Czech girl to repeat the nibbles she of course did , but thought it rather strange and uncomfortable that he was recording, after the nibbles were served the same thing occurred with the Amuse bouche.

Both of our waitresses felt offended that they were being recorded, and so My wife took the starters to the table and asked him politely not to record what was being said for the above reason.

It was then Mr Goodfellow started to act like a child with his toy taken away, saying he had eaten in much bigger places than ours and nobody had ever said this to him before. That he was writing a blog and didn`t want to miss anything.

He very obligingly, but I expect rather begrudgingly, stopped recording but continued to seethe.

I expect the waitresses or my wife wouldn`t have minded if they had politely been asked if they could be recorded, but they weren`t, this might have led to an unfriendly service.

We do not mind people getting their Cameras out in the restaurant at all, in fact it rather flatters us.

I am sure that the incident with the recorder has helped with this wonderful review!!!!!

A fact that he appears to have omitted.

He left after 2 courses stomping out of the restaurant leaving his wife behind for Helen to collect her coat, again rather impolite/ embarrassing to his wife.

I don`t want a protracted slagging match here. I just wanted to say my piece. To view the other side.

Thank you for listening. Back to my hols!!!!

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There are always two sides to every story and I rather expected something like D E-M's response. No offence to David Goodfellow but his review read like a bit of a' toys-out-of-the-cot' diatribe and just didn't ring true to me.

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Ah, the chef strikes back.

Perhaps if you employed staff who were easily understood, it would not be necessary to ask them repeatedly to explain themselves, or record them for that matter.

They also need to get a grip on their attitude. They work in the hospitality industry.

Is it difficult to employ decent staff in Cheltenham?

Furthermore the lack of warmth in your restaurant is down to the very same staff. Sullen, unfriendly, a total lack of sincerity is evident. It was noticeable as soon as we walked in. Of course you don't see this as your busy in the kitchen.

Is it just on a Saturday lunch they don't want to be there?

Regarding "much bigger places" Total rubbish. I never said that. Other places, yes!

Staff again. Whilst I settled the bill with your wife, your TWO waitresses stood right next to the coat stand, doing exactly NOTHING. My wife could have reached for her own coat.

Yes we were both desperate to leave.

The food? Well, I have praised your cooking on numerous occasion's, and like all chefs you are more than happy to accept it.

Woe betide though if any criticism is offered. You don't want to hear it, do you?

I detest bad service, especially when it involves eating out at expensive restaurant's, and will report it whether it be a burger joint or a Michelin starred place.

Your restaurant seems lost in a time warp.

In my opinion, it is way below the standard of The Ledbury and Midsummer House both true destination restaurants, and well worthy of their ratings.

Edited by david goodfellow (log)

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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Of course there are two sides to a story, and good to have the other side to this review, seems to make much more sense now. A distortion between grandiose sense of self and non-compliance to engage in being recorded seems to have resulted in the proverbial toys being catapulted. Maybe some restaurants need to use Marco's old technique of clearing tables for such behaviour.

The point you make " Perhaps if you employed staff who were easily understood" is a somewhat bizarre and strange dining request? So how do you know if the person employed will be understood by every diner? Maybe being understood is more to do with the listener than the speaker? Why did you need to record them was it to take it to a translator to decipher the complex words being spoken.

So I now have your answer to the criteria you established for LCS not desrving two Michelin stars!

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I take it someone didn’t get their bran that morning and to be honest to say something like “perhaps if you employed staff who were easily understood” frankly sounds like something only a bigot would say. Not liking food is one thing but your comments make it personal. poor show.

We’ve always found David & Helen’s “little helpers” to be nothing but warm and friendly. And we are very naughty because we try & make them laugh when they trying the damnedest to stay professional.

I’ve been coming regularly 2 or 3 times a year for something like 8 or 9 years – I’d come more often but I live in London. During that time his cooking has constantly evolved (I still vividly remember basil mojito sorbet from a couple of years ago - wow) and a recent visit earlier this month was nothing short of spectacular. On Friday & Saturday LeCS now offer a tasting menu. For those of us who’ve become jaded by tasting menu’s I truly recommend trying this one to remind you just how wonderful a tasting menu can be.

However, you are right about one thing – the food here is no longer 2*- it’s 3*!

Anyway – enough of this nonsense. Let’s celebrate the fact that the follow-up to Essence, appropriately named Essence II, will be in the shops in time for xmas. Can’t wait!

Edited by tony h (log)
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I too appreciated The Greek's answer, which was admirably more gracious and measured than that of other chefs when criticised (David is right that for many chefs customer is king and competent till he praises, and only becomes an incompetent ignoramus when he turns critical: which is it? Do customers understand or do only professionals understand?). I especially liked The Greek's opening "I generally don`t like to interfere with people`s opinions of my restaurant as it is all a subjective opinion." His was a response that somehow made me want to try his restaurant, while the responses of others in the past had definitely put me off.

If I had to guess what happened...it is possible that, like at many restaurants with husband&wife at their core (I have especially in mind a starred one near home here in Fife, but I've seen several), service while generally charming is just a little less supple and professional, and a bit more 'emotional', than in, say, a well-oiled and hard-nosed metropolitan operation. Just possible. So that they react to unusal requests and customers' quirks with less panache than others.

That said, I really think (I've always shown sympathy to David on this forum so I say this without malice) it tarnishes the reputation of bloggers and of picture-taking food lovers in general to let our 'reviewing' (the use of the word 'review' for a few mangled comments seems excessive to me) activities interfere with service, be it by asking people to hold still with trays, bottles, etc. in their hands for more than the briefest of instants or recording their descriptions or moving around holding a camera. I find that intrusive and impolite. The civilised thing to do is to be as discreet as possible, and just photograph what happens in 'real time' with no fuss at all, having as a firm priority the avoidance of any disturbance to other (reasonable) people, customers or staff, rather than the quality or quantity of the pictures. While I'm at it, I also think one should not take recognisable pictures of other customers.

The moral of this interesting story for me is that reasonable people will always live well together. As Chef The Greek says, he's not bothered by the act of taking pictures in itself (he's even flattered): that's a positive, reasonable attitude. A fight signals unreasonable behaviour somewhere. It's only when you have unreasonable intrusiveness on one side or unreasonable intolerance on the side of customers or staff, or both, that tthings go awry.

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I also think one should not take recognisable pictures of other customers.

I'm not into taking photographs when my partner & I eat out - but I usually enjoy seeing other people's efforts (except if they are inconsiderate enough to use flash while taking the piccies). That said, I entirely agree with you, Man, about photos of other customers. It seems intrusive to me - one can never know who the customer is, who they are dining with and why.

John Hartley

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Frankly, I am surprised this merits debate. David Goodfellow and wifes experience was clearly not up to the standard of a two star michelin experience.

I accept that it would have been better had he mentioned to the restaurant on booking that he would be taking photos and recording dish descriptions however I would suggest that even without prior warning most two star michelin restaurants would have taken this in their stride.

There is simply no excuse for making faces at diners which shows a total lack of respect for the paying customer and reflects badly on the restaurant as a whole.

I have encountered language issues with staff in the past and there is absolutely no doubt this can adversely affect the overall experience. It's fundamental that guests clearly understand what it is they are eating and if this isn't the case something has to be done. Sometimes I wonder whether restaurants actually listen to the candidates at interview or just hire by CV.

Edited by Tastymorsel (log)
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thanks, tony h - I did not know that a "Essence II" was coming out, but will certainly be buying it. I own and frequently cook from David's earlier two books which are both quite fantastic. and highly original.

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....I have encountered language issues with staff in the past and there is absolutely no doubt this can adversely affect the overall experience. It's fundamental that guests clearly understand what it is they are eating and if this isn't the case something has to be done....

Much of my dining out takes place in France where more frequently than not the server has trouble making ingredients perfectly clear. Regardless, I find delight in a plate at face value. It boils down to whether one is dining for enjoyment or for publication.

eGullet member #80.

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in France where more frequently than not the server has trouble making ingredients perfectly clear.

In the parts of France to which I tend to travel, it's because the staff only speak French and my French is pretty much limited to what I was taught at school some 45 years ago. "La plume de ma tante" isn't a great deal of help when I don't understand which fish is on the menu.

John Hartley

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in France where more frequently than not the server has trouble making ingredients perfectly clear.

In the parts of France to which I tend to travel, it's because the staff only speak French and my French is pretty much limited to what I was taught at school some 45 years ago. "La plume de ma tante" isn't a great deal of help when I don't understand which fish is on the menu.

Indeed. However, I find that ingredients or techniques given in French are much more understandable than some English translations! :)

eGullet member #80.

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I think what is striking me as off-key is the lack of a relationship with the server. Even when we don't have a common language, we always try to establish a working relationship with restaurant staff. It is part of our enjoyment of the meal. The server is, after all, our conduit to the kitchen. We question specific herbs or flavors or techniques, and find that servers are universally interested in trying to explain or find answers, even when language is a barrier. I can't imagine duplicating this relationship with a recorder.

eGullet member #80.

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David, (if you are still there) when you came to Red Chilli in Manchester did you complain to management about the servers being hard to understand? Do you think like you stated about LCS that the staff should have been "English"? Or is it because Red Chilli is not a Michelin Star restaurant then communication faux pas's are acceptable?

Think your views would help develop the debate?

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