Opening Week

Vermont Foodie Stand's food wagon has its first week of being open under its belt. It was nice to see some amazing people that have been very supportive. I can't imagine anything else more liberating than working the food wagon and interacting with like-minded individuals. The work schedule will change after foliage. I'm not sure what that will be yet. This next week will lead me in the direction I need to go. Regardless, I will continue to go strong and keep everyone up to date with my schedule and timeline. 

Income equality is an issue that warrants more attention to this inbred corporate landscape that depends on derivatives and greed.

Nothing in this country or even, the better part of the world is more mishandled than money and food. We have a banking cartel that prints money out of thin air. People get crippled financially while the 1% profits. It’s a Ponzi scheme, that has affected just about every aspect of day to day life in this country. This scheme is based on control. Just like Monsanto is trying to control the food supply. The global elite are doing a grander scale with social injustice. It’s about control. The 1% has over 90% of the worlds’ wealth. A family called the Rothchilds have an estimated 500 trillion dollars. This affects how we eat. Yes, shit’s deep. It’s about power. Food is power for the people. Food is medicinal. Other cultures who do not subscribe to our chemically-sealed and engineered, GMO-contaminated food with a nice tall glass of fluoride-spiked aqua, do not have the problems with obesity and illness. Lets face it, corporations are treating us like foie gras while getting wealthy and controlling politicians by buying them off with lobbyists. It’s pretty evil stuff.

Most people are sick and often unaware of what they are putting in their bodies. Affordable alternatives are not provided to families and the vast majority of the population. This isn’t the restaurants fault. They get squeezed. It’s the buying power of big businesses associated and regulated by important people. This all works out great for the for the pharmaceutical industry, by the way. Off course they are going to help fund this concept.

This is my reality of the state of affairs. If it offends someone because they want to justify shoving a bacon triple MC slammer cheeseburger from TGI MC Factory farms. That’s okay. You do you. Do you.

My solution to this madness is to make REAL food affordable. Perhaps I’m trying to justify my rant. My food wagon is going to provide affordable food. Like I mentioned in my rant, restaurants have far to much overhead to be affordable with REAL food. My goal is to have everyone enjoy our basic right of having something wholesome. Hopefully more of these options pop up in the future. Food trucks are often a good avenue for quality and affordability. We need that if we are going to turn the tide. Who knows. Perhaps people will actually embrace it. Stranger things have happened.

A slightly bipolar chef is the best chef.

To have the same emotion in the kitchen all the time is not good for the business.

Being the chef, you are responsible for the quality of the food, the food costs, and sanitation. A lot can go wrong with those responsibilities. It also comes with plenty of derivatives. If the chef fails to do his job, the end result can be unhappy customers, a failing business, and even food poisoning. This is a heavy burden and it should be taken seriously.

People often wonder why chefs have such a strong personalities. It has to do with what I mentioned. Plus any job that has demanding time lines and hot temperatures can make a chef wear thin on patience.

All that stress doesn’t mean that good times are not to be had. Joking and laughing can be pretty common in most kitchens. Moods can run very high and also turn very low. It’s nice to have a happy medium. But it’s not likely in a industry that is pretty straight forward with customer feed back. The customer often determines the chefs’ mood.

Music in the kitchen is a good thing. If the stress is crazy, classical music works every time. That’s a random example, but yet an effective mood stabilizer.

This theory depends on the chef. A lot of chefs are assholes. I’ve worked for plenty of them. The chefs’ mood typically determines the mood of the kitchen and the servers.

In the past decade, chefs have lightened up a little bit. More people do not put up with verbal abuse. The work force is stretched pretty thin; it demands that chefs lighten up.

Television has also given the customer a distorted version of reality. The reality cooking shows are not accurate. Screaming chefs are a thing of the past. TV packaged that concept from years ago and added some post ironic bullshit to acquire ratings. A lot of drama gives these shows ratings. It’s easier to feature fantasy drama rather than cooking ability. Some cooks from a couple decades ago, myself included can remember ducking saute pans being chucked across the kitchen. That was some real stuff. It’s not like that anymore.

Alright. Back to my point. A chef can’t have the patience of a normal person with a laid back job. It’s not a laid back job. Don’t piss off the chef. It’s not worth everyone’s time.

Hopefully I contradicted myself at least a couple times in this blog. Bipolar express baby. What are you talking about!

Walking the tight rope of overkill with preparing a meal for a chef is essential to stand out.

In the past few years, simple is more has been the motto. It is true to a certain extent, but little touches make that thought process thrive.

When executing a dish it’s wise to think about this. Flavor: savory, spicy, sweet, bitter, salt. Whatever it is, these flavors shape the dish. It’s also important to have depth. For example, a few bay leafs go a long way. Then you have texture. It’s important to have a crunch or something crispy to lift the dish. Height. To have something edible lifting up the dish typically in the center of the plate is ideal to catch the eye. Clean. To have a well executed plate it’s important to catch any splatter or thumb prints. The flavors should also be clean. Don’t make the food submit into something else. A tomato should taste like a tomato. The dish should also not be aligned with the flow of the presentation. A good way to test this concept is to take a picture of the dish at a tilted position. Color is also something to take into careful consideration. Color can make or break a dish. We eat with our eyes. Certain colors play well with each other. Once again. A camera will show you that from another perspective.

So taking in consideration: overkill. The more experience I’ve gotten, the more I think along the line of what can I take off the dish rather than what can I add. A nicely prepared protein with a nice sauce with some carefully cut vegetables can be a beautiful thing. Doctoring up crazy garnishes or using inedible garnishes are a thing of the past.

So when you hear simple is more, remember there is a tight rope associated with that theory. Top chefs don’t get the respect from peers and publications by just putting out food that is simple.

Straight edge Punk mentality.

Call me crazy, but I would rather have a lower paying chef position and produce amazing food prepared from scratch than work for a soul-less enterprise that serves up chemically sealed and engineered garbage. For example, a lot of chef jobs pay a handsome wage for someone to come in and manage the product and staff and compromise the quality of the ingredients and finished product for some big corporations bottom line that makes it’s consumers sick. Honestly, no job could pay me enough to subscribe to that. It’s always been about the food. This is how I like to think about this topic. It’s like Taylor Swift playing at the super bowl with the Rolling Stones if that makes sense. Hopefully it does. Stranger things have happened. Basically that person is a sell out!

To be great in this industry you have to compromise your profits to offer the customer the wow factor. This is how a business or a person stands out. It’s just like anything. Sacrifice is key. It also helps if someone has the basic foundation to execute this principal. Try to make food from scratch, use your training or get some more training, eat like you give a fuck and don’t be a very small percentage on someone’s payroll, making a lot of money for some corporation that doesn’t give a shit about you.

The cliché term, money doesn’t buy happiness; it’s true. Cliché terms are cliché terms for a reason. It’s better to be a happy chef working with a strong desire to provide the best you can do, than a unhappy chef making six figures, who hates his life. Not to say all corporate chefs hate life, but that only makes me question why they don’t.

We all have our vices whether it be, a Snickers bar, bag of chips, tobacco, or a cola and so on. That’s just based on consumption. Chef vices could also be a completely different topic of reality. So, if someone is going to say hey I’m a chef, then pay attention and see if they take pride. In this instance. Don’t be a Rolling Stone. Be a Ramone. But just say no!

Tried to be rational, but that didn’t work.

In the Food and Beverage Industry, being rational and having integrity can be frustrating.

I’m glad that I’ve made the effort to work with certain people and try to put my differences aside. So this theory has a purpose. To try to do the right thing can involve people misunderstanding kindness as a weakness. Often people with the right intentions get taken advantage of. Sometimes the cry babies get taken care of. The unpleasant reality is that the cry babies have a sense of entitlement and know how to manipulate situations in there favor. Lies seem to the ammo behind this type of behavior. In this politically correct society, to point this type of behavior out brings you down to a lower level in the eyes of higher arches. Also stating the reality of someone else being toxic and bringing down the whole team makes the person with integrity feel insecure about being considered a cry baby. The powers to be often get it wrong and reward bad behavior blindly. Typically people who have a hard work ethic don’t feel the need to kiss ass, where as people who don’t do.

People need to put the focus on what’s important. That’s the customer. High School musical productions in the work place tend to have an effect on the customers’ overall experience. Go figure. Being rational with toxic individuals is a waste of the company’s time. This is why hiring people in the close proximity of a business you are trying to successfully establish doesn’t typically work. I could also state a few more facts that could offend some people, but I’ll let it marinade for another rant. Okay. Back onto the conclusion.

When circumstances become personal and blown out of proportion, rational interactions can leave even the most seasoned manager beside themselves. Be careful who you hire and ask a lot of questions. My personal favorite is, What are your strengths and weaknesses? It can be pretty rational or irrational quick.

Ego trap.

In the food and beverage industry, this is very common. Ego traps typically involve promotions where you sacrifice pay, for a career. This typically is in the best interest of the employer.

A good example would be that a bartender or server in a nice restaurant typically makes more than the manager. Sometimes it’s double or even triple the pay.

When in the ego trap you can count on more headaches, more responsibility, and far less rewards. This person is typically a servant and a slave to the establishment. They also make the establishment what it is for a short while. Then they burn out and faze out, until someone else falls into this trap.

This all comes with the notion that it’s good for a resume and sometimes the delusion of making more money. If on salary. Forget it. That person is in a world of hurt. The unfortunate reality is that it isn’t worth it, most of the time. Servers and bartenders are making more money than the chefs and managers. This completely makes sense from a economic stand point as far as matters go. The customers pay the servers and bartenders. The management is on the payroll represents a percentage; that effects the bottom line.

If you want to see this in it’s true form, go out to a bar late at night and watch servers and bartenders after a shift piss away money like a bad MC Hammer video. You can typically see some sweaty cooks in the corner drinking the cheapest draft beer.

This is why it’s important to not take salary or negotiate incentives when taking a management position. It also helps if you already have a job when you interview with a job. You are far less apt to get screwed over and backed into lesser pay. It would also be wise to review if a trap has ever been in place. Sometimes management positions are rewarding. Sometimes they help advance a career. It’s natural for an employer to want to get more for less. It doesn’t mean you need to subscribe.

Ego traps are more apt to happen when you are just getting into management. It can be a good character builder. Better be ready to suck it up and deal with some reality.

Don’t work for someone unless they are better than you. Don’t allow others to judge you when they know less.

It’s frustrating to work for someone who isn’t going to teach you anything you don’t already know. This is the fault of the person whose knowledge doesn’t match up. It’s just not healthy as far as growth goes. Sanity also runs thin in this situation. A boss should know how to do anything they are telling you to do. It’s also a plus when they can do the job better than you. It makes people question why this person is in charge. That ultimately effects the guest on some level of efficiency or annoyance.

Big corporations sometimes put people in charge for interesting reasons. The one person that stands out would be the narc. They will inform us of anything we need to know. The problem with this lies in integrity. It’s hard to have that when you lack the knowledge of associates.

This seems like a basic premise. It’s easier said than done. Sometimes we just need a job. Loyalties should apply to this type of situation. Typically bridges will get burned. That’s a good thing. A boss should be a role model.

In the food and beverage industry, it has changed a lot. I remember when a Food and Beverage Manager used to have a great knowledge of wine, beer and spirits. Be able to jump on the line and be able to cook. Be graceful with the guests. Manage the staff with procedures. Understand a profit and loss sheet. The list goes on and it doesn’t include cliché commentary either. Certain things factor into this. Money would be at the top of the list. People need to realize you get what you pay for. Sometimes it also backfires and what you thought you were paying less for ends up costing you money.

Reality TV is a good example for this rant. Look at the concept. It wouldn’t work if they didn’t have a jerk. This is typically how these type of people react when they get thrown into a situation where they lack the knowledge to keep up on a fundamental level. Well perhaps scripted reality TV isn’t the best example, but it works.

Marco Pierre White did something awhile back that I admired. He gave back his Michelin Stars because he was tired of being judged by people who know less than him. He was the youngest Chef to achieve three stars. I look up to that on many levels. It’s extremely annoying to get judged by people who lack the knowledge of the person providing the product. We now live in a culture that abounds simpletons who like to act like they know. They don’t! I would like to see them pull off a catering event for let’s say, a thousand people. Don’t make anyone sick and pull it off in a timely fashion and have every variable dynamic on those plates be on point. Mr White had some poetic reasoning behind his decision. His personal freedom would be the most admirable.

People like to judge. All I ask is teach me something, if not have a nice day!

Organic you say.

Currently the word organic is being taken advantage of. The practice makes sense. With big business and politics getting involved it also makes the premise corrupt. It’s about making money and having control of the food supply. That’s the only thing that makes sense for these people.
 Small farmers get squeezed financially. They have to come up with far too much money in order to provide a label.
A lot of farmers do things legit. They don’t feel the need to get involved. I’m assuming that may have something with limited capital.
I have seen enough situations where uninformed people raise a stink because someone doesn’t have the organic label. They are merely uniformed. It’s also insulting to the farmer to criticize the hard work that is involved.
With food labeling already being a sham. It would be polite to just support your local farmer. Also growing your own vegetables is always a good idea. Hopefully it’s organic enough.
The people responsible for this labeling know what they are doing. It’s to bad that hard working people have to take this off the chin. These same people also don’t want the small farms to thrive or survive.They want factory controlled farms where they can cut costs on the feed. This evil derivative will make you sick. You get what you pay for. Support local farmers as much as you can. If you stop going to the grocery store no one will notice. If you support a farmer. It could save his or her farm. It’s as simple as that.
Organic is a trendy idea. It’s a good idea. It’s also a good idea to question things and research each label; it can be very misleading. Legislation is put into place to make sure this is this way. People are on the band wagon. I just hope more people figure out where its destination is. It’s far easier to go through a source that is reliable. Co-ops. Farmers’ markets and specialty food sources. Then this process doesn’t need to be like figuring out an Rubik’s cube.

A politically correct chef kitchen doesn’t work out.

In a hot kitchen with organized thoughts, attention to detail, deadlines, unusual distractions, fire, sanitation, sharp objects and so on, keeping things politically correct can be tough. Being quick, decisive, and to the point is a must. That usually doesn’t fall into line with being PC. This is why chefs get labeled as jerks.
People whose feelings get hurt are not cut out for the restaurant life. I treat others like I would like to be treated most of the time. But when the board is full of tickets and people are making crucial mistakes, it merely becomes a cute idea. It doesn’t make the customer happy when they have to wait. If they have poor food because you didn’t want to hurt someone’s feelings and do your job; it becomes a bigger problem.
I don’t think it’s okay to be a jerk just to be a jerk. It’s also not okay to let things slide and try to be everyone’s friend during crunch time. A lot of people simply don’t like to be told what to do, even though they are new to the industry or have old dog syndrome.
More people should realize that the customers come first. They should reflect and evaluate the responsibility and accountability of their actions.This also goes for some hot shot chefs. Too many people make decisions that suit themselves rather than the customer. Blindness and denial comes to the forefront.
A lot of people who are really good, know how to cut through the bullshit. The only things the elite chefs are willing to sugar coat is a pastry or perhaps the occasional strawberry.
It’s simple. Don’t hire cry babies. It will single handedly ruin your business. Ask them what they have for strengths and weaknesses in a job interview. That usually gives you a notion on what you have in front of you. If they can’t give you a couple of weaknesses then that should be a good indication. That type of person will bitch when you tell them to re plate a meal that looks haggard. Once again. The customer doesn’t benefit from PC. Do what you got to do to make it happen!