In my neck of the woods, the last ten years or so have demonstrated to me how knowledge and professionalism has been on a sad decline in our industry. I'm not a chef, but when I began in the industry, chefs spent a great deal of time talking to FOH about what they were doing and how things were prepared. FOH management would disperse their knowledge to newcomers to the world, and everyone shared experience and knowledge all the time.
Back then, however, being a FOH professional was a good career choice. Nowadays, all I get through my doors as waiters are people studying to be marine biologists. They give little attention or care to my field of work, other than studying their paycheck every week.
Just last week, I was talking to a guy who told me he has more than ten years experience as a barman. Great! I thought.
Knowing that I'm old and have been doing this forever, he asked me:
"So the other day, some random guy at the bar saw me polishing a beer glass and said I shouldn't do that. What's that all about?"
I rolled my eyes, somewhat.
"He was right, young padawan, you never polish a beer glass. The fibres and soap in the polishing cloth stop the beer from heading up properly. Never, ever, polish a beer glass!"
Words like "scullery", "cruets" and "mis en place" are nowadays met with blank faces. No one knows how to silver serve anymore, and tongs are used to serve bread, rather than the spoon and fork.
Am I too old school for hoping that some of these nice dining traditions should be passed on to younger folk, or am I shouting at clouds?