Hospitality is something that is quite important to me.
I know I generally have quite high expectations and pay, sometimes, too much attention to detail – but it’s only because I care. I think that if someone is coming into your establishment and paying for a service they should receive it to the best of the providers ability. Every single person, every single time. No excuses. Leave your personal problems at the door and do your job and fucking do it properly.
It disappoints and frustrates me that so many people in the hospitality industry can’t seem to uphold standards. They just stop caring. They walk in the door and do the minimum just to get paid at the end of the week and leave as quickly as they can. It doesn’t bother them if there are an abundance of short cuts being made because at the end of the day, the bare minimum is done and they can go home.
It makes people like me wonder if it’s worth caring.
Luckily, I’m privileged enough to know people with the same expectations as me – and that’s enough to keep me sane.
That said, sometimes you accidentally stumble across people with the same values as you, when you aren’t expecting it and that brings me to Saturday just gone. We played (and by played I mean totally ruled) at Black Cherry’s Christmas party at The Factory Theatre in Marrickville. After we loaded in and set our stuff up and got our sound check out of the way, my girlfriend and I ducked off to grab some dinner.
We walked up the street to the Vic on the Park because it was the closest place to eat and we could just walk there. We walked in and took a look at the menu and both decided the Pork Chop sounded good. That with vegies.
We went over to the counter and the chef came over to take our order as it was only a tiny kitchen and the waitress was out clearing tables. He informed us that he was out of the Pork. Damn. Oh well, the next item down was a garlic and rosemary marinated Lamb Chop. This sounded equally as good. Oh, nope… they had ran out of those too. It had been a busy weekend he said, after he questioned “what kind of chef am I? oh my god”.
He sat down. He meant business. He went through what he had run out of, and offered us a couple of things he could do which weren’t on the menu. We both settled on chicken schnitzel with vegies and dianne sauce. I added some mashed potato to mine after he assured me it wasn’t “the powdered stuff, I make it properly”.
After getting free softdrink from the bar, we proceeded out to the beer garden and 10 minutes later our meal was ready. The schnitzel was awesome. It was obvious that it was prepared fresh. It wasn’t thin and overcooked like most places do and it actually tasted like chicken should, not like cardboard.
The vegies were great. It was simply broccoli, carrot and cauliflower sauteed in butter and garlic. Seasoned beautifully. He accidentally left the dianne sauce off and after I mentioned it to the waitress she ran back in and returned a couple of minutes later with a jug of it. It was a little heavy on the worcestershire, but I didn’t mind that because again, you could tell he made it fresh. And I happen to like worcestershire sauce. Also, as he assured me his mashed potato was actually made with potatoes.
As we finished the chef came out to check how it was and cleared our plates for us. We had a quick chat with him before we left and he apologised for the third time about our first two orders being unavailable. He was a really nice guy who obviously took pride in what he did. Everything he cooked was freshly prepared and it was so refreshing. You could tell.
It seemed to me as though he had only recently started leasing that kitchen (I might be wrong and I hope I am). Either way it was apparent that he had not lost the love for food and what he was producing. Even though he was only cooking simple pub food, it was inspiring. He cared. I hope he holds on to that love and passion and doesn’t fall into the rut that so many (fucking lazy) people seem to and start taking short cuts that inevitably lead to shitty, uninspired and disappointing meals and restaurant experiences. The world (and the hospitality industry) needs more people like him.
There you go, I’m not always a snobby prick.