Tuesday 8 March 2022

The Wizard

Chefs get way too much credit!

I mean 20 years ago nobody cared about the people making their food. But today with the success of Master Chef and kitchen television, the title of "chef" is glamorous and important. When I told my parents 25 years ago that I wanted to be a chef it was cause for deep concern. The irony is that that same title of “chef” today is added before a cook’s name giving them the recognition of professions like a doctor. A doctor… someone who saves people’s lives whereas everything I work with is already dead. 

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the newfound prestige the job holds, but I can promise you a restaurant is not about the chef. A chef is actually a very small percentage of what makes a restaurant great. The customer does come primarily for food, but the food takes a journey and an army of talented and well-trained people to get it to them.  Products need to be hooked, harvested or farmed by professionals, found by purchasing, received, stored and served and all of this needs to be managed, paid for, marketed and organized by someone and it ain’t the chef. 

Making sure people can find the restaurant, update websites, organize events, reply emails, pay staff, sort out crises, repair all that is broken and make decisions that keep the lights on is not done by the chef. There is one secret every restaurant has, and it is the difference between open and closed. A person who makes decisions based on logic, education and understanding as opposed to chefs whose decisions are based on passion and emotion. It is the person everyone including the chef goes to when there is a problem, and no one credits for the solution. This person is rarely seen much, like the wizard of Oz making decisions from behind a curtain, and without them, no one would care about Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow or the Lion. 

So, the next time you go to a restaurant and enjoy a meal, look around at the cast of characters and try to spot The Wizard. In our restaurant, her official title is Director, we call her "boss", her name is Virginia and her mother calls her "Cuca", thus the name on the door.

By Chef Kevin