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Why oh why do some customers expect to see the (head) chef at the table???!!!

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I bloody hate it. It's always the more, ehem, provincial customers that expect a friendly chat ("how did you like my chicken supreme tonight yada yada") and p***ing in their pockets in this place, the city types couldn't care less. Believe it or not, I don't have the bloody time!!!

My kitchen is open to the dining room, so because they can see me, they expect it even more, as I have already greeted them from a distance. Some of those customers are seriously disappointed if I don't do it, almost snubbed. I sometimes wish I could hide in a BoH kitchen...

post #2 of 19

Hiding doesn't help.

 

In spite of working in a closed kitchen (and some fairly pronounced anti-social tendencies) I still get regular requests for FOH table side visits.

 

Personally, I blame food TV. Their viewers have a hard time grasping the concept that not everyone wants to be a star, that some of us just want to practice our craft.

 

Fortunately, due to my aforementioned tendencies, my employer recognizes that such visits would probably not turn out well and handles them himself.
 

post #3 of 19

Anthony Bourdain's book "Medium Raw" has a pretty good chapter dedicated to this same complaint. 

post #4 of 19

At least you guys get requests...as in advance warning. I've been having people come right into the kitchen when I'm actually in the middle of firing orders, like saute pan in hand, deer caught in headlight "uhhh...who are you" look on my face. They're usually tipsy. Apostate, I'm the same way, I don't like speaking to people. I'm not one for idle chit chat because in real life I'm quite shy. It's not to say I don't enjoy compliments. of course I do, but in an indirect way.. via waitstaff or owner, or just advance notice warning. I'm very flattered though, and extremely grateful and am always gracious.

 

How I handled one request in the past, I told the waiter to tell the patron I was too busy, but I wasn't, I was just timid. Because then I would have to walk out into the dining room, and then everyone would be looking at me, and I don't like that kind of attention. It's like the long walk of shame. So I sent a glass of wine, not on the house, but from me. They were very happy and grateful.

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.”
Oscar Wilde

 

 

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“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.”
Oscar Wilde

 

 

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post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 

You know, I think it's stage fright. I have played thousands of gigs as a singer-songwriter in the past and always needed a couple of beers before getting on stage, just to take the edge off my nerves. Then I could be entertaining and funny, even. These days, when I have to go out into the dining room, and I do do it almost every day, I can't knock down a few shots beforehand. I can force myself to be somewhat charming and quite funny, but I'm dreading it every night. It's just not me.

 

I also find it difficult to deal with compliments. I often tend to distract from my skills and stress the quality of the ingredients we buy. Not exactly celebrity chef material, I guess...
 

post #6 of 19

The times I've been asked to go to a table it's always been American tourists, I assumed it was only there that it was a 'thing'. I agree that a lot of people think we all want to be TV 'chefs', some of actually like cooking instead of rockstardom.

 

I've had a table of 4 women asking me to go up and drink with them before, probably the most tempting one but still a no from me biggrin.gif

 

I've also had people wander into the kitchen before, the kitchen door is near to the customers toilets so they see it unfortunately. I actually have a sign on the door warning of bad tempered trolls within, probably makes it more interesting when they're tipsy I suppose. When it happens I just get all Gordon Ramsey like and tell them it's illegal for non-staff members to be in a food prep area. I think, in this country at least, you can generally get away with being a bit surly and anti-social thanks to Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsey giving everyone the impression that we're all arseholes, it's kind of what people expect.

 

Recky, even with the open kitchen, never make eye contact, don't even acknowledge their existence, they may feel less snubbed if you do the whole artist focused on his labour of love. If anyone does try to talk to you give them a slightly confused look and point them towards a waiter tongue.gif

post #7 of 19

Oh, you guys are forgetting about the greatest "laterallity" afforded a chef. An expected BAD attitude. If you don't want to make a table visit, and it's justified, say so. If some drunk-a** walks into your kitchen during service, kick them out. Despite the Food Network, the general population still thinks that most good chefs are supposed to be a**holes. That's the greatest gift you can have if you don't want to talk to people. You can be a total d**k to them, send them out a fantastic dinner, and they'll still love you. Heck, they may even enjoy it. Then, when you are no longer busy, and you want to cruise the dining room so people can pat you on the back without you having to worry if your saute station is going down, you can show them your charming side.

Brandon O'Dell

 

Friend That Cooks Home Chef Service

www.friendthatcooks.com

O'Dell Restaurant Consulting

www.bodellconsulting.com

 

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Brandon O'Dell

 

Friend That Cooks Home Chef Service

www.friendthatcooks.com

O'Dell Restaurant Consulting

www.bodellconsulting.com

 

Reply
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 

 

Recky, even with the open kitchen, never make eye contact, don't even acknowledge their existence, they may feel less snubbed if you do the whole artist focused on his labour of love. If anyone does try to talk to you give them a slightly confused look and point them towards a waiter tongue.gif

You have no idea how many times a day somebody walks up to the pass to ask where the toilets are!!!! :-)

post #9 of 19

Some chefs are hired to mingle and interact with clientel I have found this mostly in captive audience type places, ie country clubs,  dinner clubs, golf clubs etc.  Some chefs do not have personalities to mingle or interact. . All depends on time and place

CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #10 of 19

I have no personality at all, I'm just a cooking machine frown.gif

 

Recky, how about making a sign with an arrow you can hold up when they ask? That should convince them of your antisocial tendencies biggrin.gif


Edited by wurzel - 5/3/13 at 7:21am
post #11 of 19
Time to contemplate a new approach or two. Maybe you need to rent some low budget horror films
so you can practice your best psycho slash killer grin while fondling the largest chef knife in the house.
A little deep throated growling or deranged laughter might help as well.
post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meezenplaz View Post

Time to contemplate a new approach or two. Maybe you need to rent some low budget horror films
so you can practice your best psycho slash killer grin while fondling the largest chef knife in the house.
A little deep throated growling or deranged laughter might help as well.


Meez, I'm nearly there already! The big chef knife and deranged laughter are not uncommon in this kitchen... :-)

post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 

The night before last, with tickets piling and me somewhat in the weeds, this woman with her two- or three-year-old was blocking the entry to my open kitchen for at least ten minutes and commenting to the toddler on every bloody move I made. I nearly chucked a bowl of sliced mushrooms at her. I was getting to a point where I could no longer ask her to move in a civilised manner, which my wife noticed and kindly asked her to step away from ground zero. Happens all the time, too...

post #14 of 19
Quote:

The night before last, with tickets piling and me somewhat in the weeds, this woman with her two- or three-year-old was blocking the entry to my open kitchen for at least ten minutes and commenting to the toddler on every bloody move I made

See right there, you missed a golden opportunity--you cudda scared that little bra....er....kid poopless with the right expresssion

and gesture, and sent them both running away in terror!! tongue.gif

post #15 of 19

You need to develop your "withering glare" better.  It should be just the right mixture of pity and disgust.  I rarely have to raise my voice anymore, just the appropriate look gets things done...

post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 

I've started practising in front of the mirror in the gents'... ;-)))
 

post #17 of 19

Omg... i am not even a professonal chef but some employers even keep telling me to be more "interactive" with people, i'm not that type of person so i wish  people would stop pushing me to talk, i don't want to lol, i don't like that sort of attention ether and i' m also a bit socialy awkward and shy, i like the background stuff of cooking and organizing it, i don't mind serving it too but i will not stand ther chit chatting because my head hurts enough already focusing on doing what i'm doing, i don't think they understand how much concentration it takes to focus on several things at all, we have no brain room nor time to talk, people keep saying i'm not right for the job ether just because i'm the same way i bloody hate that people have the nerve to try and tell me what i can and cannot do just because i don't chat to people 24/7, people just can't shut up these days, from the second they get up they are texting then by dinner they are onto just 1 person for half an hour to an hour talking non-stop, they just can't enjoy the quietness for 1 minuite, people do this too because they think chefs and waiters have to be very social because of people who think they can tell us what to do but most of us are always really self-concious when people stare, i just don't know how they shut off at night at all lol.

post #18 of 19

That's a good start Recky! As soon as you "get it down" I recommend you

take a pic of it and post it here--WE will decide if it's appropriately scary, creepy

and demeaning enough to do the trick! biggrin.gif

post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meezenplaz View Post

That's a good start Recky! As soon as you "get it down" I recommend you

take a pic of it and post it here--WE will decide if it's appropriately scary, creepy

and demeaning enough to do the trick! biggrin.gif


It seems to be working already - business is down by 60%!!! ;-)))

 

(Only kidding, it's been picking up like you wouldn't believe!)

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