Consumed – with the industry.

Finding that right place to eat…you know you won’t just settle for just anything. It kinda sucks, because you think your trained a bit; enough to distinguish better…or the best, and you don’t want to let any of your family, friends or co-workers down. You recommend…perhaps a flop…perhaps not!

This doesn’t happen all the time, but enough to piss you off.

You enter the joint. Immediately you begin watching what goes on. You are greeted…or not! Analysing almost every aspect of the business from a “Dick’s” point of view. This sucks…but I’m consumed!

I wish that I had the gift of being a good food “CritDick”. Then again, maybe I wish that I remain like I am…just a “Dick”. I am no longer allowed to address the issue when it presents itself…but I still often do, with a word, words, or phrase, that is intended to grab the person’s attention about something they’re doing right or wrong. Even about something in class that a student says or does that is correct or incorrect about the F&B industry.

I heard recently from one of my professors, he said while addressing the class; “You and I both know that, although they now have the degree, they still have no idea how to cook or run a restaurant!” I thought that was very profound beyond what most of the students in the class could possibly fathom. I am an experienced home cook that kinda knows what I’m doing in the kitchen (bragging). I would go as much to say that I’m possibly on of the better cooking students in my university (bragging). But I’ve seen what some of the students do, I’ve tasted what those students have made, and I seen what the students do in the kitchen. Some of which are down right frightening. Yet I have seen others that deserve respect, praise and admiration for what they do, have accomplished, and can make happen. I try to go out of my way to analyse, inspect, and taste some of the creations and some are quite impressive…not quite as good as mine, but now I’m bragging…or even boasting, cause I’m bad ass!.  And it’s not so funny when this old guys’ stuff kicks ass over some of the young pups coming up through the ranks. Some of these kids have desires to be the next “Top Chef”.

I see and taste what they do. I “CritDick” what they create. I tell them how I feel. Some good, and some VERY bad. Some of it, down-right scary. I listen to their thoughts and expressions and see the way they handle themselves in the kitchen. I see those that cook, but don’t clean, that can’t keep a clear work station. I go to a restaurant and watch what the staff does, and how they treat the customer, how they present the food. “Did he just touch the inner lip of the plate?” Hard not to do, but where is his training. Did he serve from the right or the left? Did he or she make follow-up suggestions for another drink, or an after dinner dessert? Did they ask a “yes or no” question or an “opened ended” sales question? Did that server, bartender, host, or busser do what it takes to accelerate the business, or just “f” things up for the whole night? Is this the right place? The right situation? The right student I want to lead and/or follow? Does this person have skills I would employ or mimic?

I think some of us can appreciate a good establishment and/or employee that drives the business. A place we would want to go back to. An atmosphere we would want to re-live. That’s what the question is. What have I gained from this experience? What have they gained? Is this place or person worth the while? Did this situation just get “CritDick’d”?

Totally consumed…it hurts! Ouch!!!

I hope you’re learning from all this…



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