Tag Archives: philosophy

I Made Almost 2,000 People Happy Last Week

I recently read a gorgeous essay about being in the restaurant biz, by  Kylestyle, at Cocktails and Folklore (great blog name, BTW).


Just like every other great business person, I provide a product and a service to customers. I equip myself with great knowledge and the people skills to be able to provide the best service possible. The fact that I happen to sell food, wine, cocktails should not lessen the fact that I am in fact a business person who is providing a service. A service that the customer came to take part in….

I totally agree with Kyle’s assessment that a lot of customers do not think that Hospitality is a vocation worthy of respect. I know, there have been a million blog posts on this already, so I’m not going to beat that horse. If someone doesn’t respect my career choice, then I don’t care what they think about anything else, either.

I don’t need ignorant, or stupid, people in my life.

I’ve worked in other fields: banking, bookstores, car sales, catering sales. But I keep coming back to the restaurant, because I love it.

I love the rush of a busy service, orchestrating the fast-paced dynamics of getting cold drinks and hot food from the back to the front.

I love seeing the smiles on the faces and in the eyes of people enjoying themselves, eating the food that our team put together.

I love talking to the people and hearing their stories, about why they come to our restaurant, the dishes they enjoy, how they want to share an experience with family, or with friends from out of town.

Sure, from time to time there is that person who doesn’t get it. Or that just doesn’t like what we are producing. And it can grate for a bit, but I always get back up and do it all over again. Because for every Negative Nancy there are a thousand smiling faces that say, “it’s delicious, thank you for stopping by“.

That is why I do what I do, and I don’t care if some idiot thinks it’s not respectable. What could be more respectable than making people happy?

How many people, do you suppose, do they make happy every day?


“Nobody is Cooking Anymore” – A Lament

via Esquire:

“And the reason they look the same is that their creators all pretty much think the same. A protein is pared down with the loving skill of a sushi master (and frequently with the knife of one, too); it is then prepared in some diabolically clever way, and put into the center of a plate. Some vegetable, prepared with equal virtuosity, is plated with like meticulousness, on the same plate. Finally, some third ingredient, and possibly a fourth, is added on top, with or without tweezers. These items were either cooked or cured or grown separately, and they are put on the plate separately, and when I eat them, I eat them separately, unless I manage to spear two or three of them on the same fork tine. Sure, one dish might have a fermented carrot, and other locally milled grits; otherwise they differ no more than Hef’s girlfriends.”

Read more: Nobody Is Cooking Anymore – Josh Ozersky Cooking Essay – Esquire

Here in rural New Hampshire we don’t have much of this kind of “composition”, and it certainly almost never appears in my own cooking, except maybe little tapas things (and I have never used a tweezers on food!), like these Southwestern Marinated Shrimp:

shrimp salsa and avocadoIs this what Ozersky is decrying? It may look like the type of dishes that he is describing, but it is intentionally constructed to be precisely the type of dish he prefers – everything to be eaten together – a whole greater than the sum of its parts.

No, nothing has been “transformed”, though the ‘salsa-fied’ vegetables under the shrimp might disagree, but I believe it is a good example of cookery, as the distinct parts of the dish are designed to be eaten together:

  • small, one-bite shrimp
  • thin slices of avocado
  • fresh salsa
  • sour cream
  • with a tortilla chip to help you scoop it all onto your fork!

Further, I believe that this very blog will be an answering call to Ozersky’s cry for help, as it is dedicated to the proposition that people can and should be cooking high-quality food at home.

Please share your thoughts.