Monday, 10 January 2011

Ban The Brands!

Bonsoir mes morceaux moites de monkfish...Joyeux Noël et nouvelle année heureuse !

What a way to start a new year! The untimely passing of British actor Pete Postlethwaite, musical genius Gerry Rafferty and one of our Brethren, Ainsley the Big Yin!

No readers that’s not Mr Ainsley 'rattle yer pots and pans' Harriot before you get excited (although it would have been a better choice by the Grim Reaper) but a member of the Culinary Fraternity from Ayrshire in Scotland.

Big Yin was an old school Chef! True to his culinary roots with a wicked sense of humour and a true taste for life, family and food. He will be sorely missed by all that knew him, past and present, and will live on in our hearts, memories and stories. Our thoughts go out to his Family and Friends at this difficult time.

May the Culinary Angels lead you to that great Kitchen in the skies Chef....C.C.I.P (Cook & Create in Peace)

And so to the long awaited new post from the Grumpy Chef...

A change in direction recently has postponed my 'jovial' postings yet it has moved me to write again and force feed the inner workings of my grumpy persona...aren't you the lucky ones!

My current position is Head Chef with a 'branded restaurant chain' which for legal reasons I cannot name, nor would I dare to, for fear of death by pizza dough!

My career turned upside down with the knowledge I cannot cook my way. A true chef nightmare. Being told how to cook...God forbid! Yet this is where I find myself, trapped in a world of youngsters, pizza ovens, foreigners and temperamental Italian development Chefs who, for their sins, actually understand the fundamentals of classic cuisine but are bound by the constrains of the our FSA (Food Standards Agency) and Company procedures and policies.

I entered my current position with eyes open, hoping to make a difference, but was blocked at every turn by the Company and their archaic outlook on quality, cuisine and safety. I thought the FSA was bad! These 'people' make them look like choirboys and even the mention of the word 'audit' sends shivers down the spines of every General Manager (average age being 26) within the Company and sends them into a 3 month long panic.

Never in my years as a Chef have I seen such a ill-informed regimented kitchen or lack of respect for creativeness. Its mind boggling, truly it is!

What is worse, to me, is that the age of these 'cooks' is laughable and they are brainwashed to company standard and use employment law like their bible...its a fucking disgrace!

Every Chef and member of the true Culinary Brethren knows the unwritten rules...we all do! Yet these 'people' use employment law and legislation to benefit themselves.

Why is that a problem Chef”, I hear you cry...quite simple, they only use it to benefit themselves...and that, my al dente pommes de terre, is not only uncalled for but against the Culinary Oath and our 'Rules'! They have no concept of this regardless of my efforts to instil the rules of the true kitchen into them.

I would give you a fore instance but there are way too many I would want to divulge. Instead I will relinquish one quick story...

A young 'cook' came to me the other day requesting a pay rise and a new job title. He wanted to be Junior Sous Chef. I asked how long he had been with the company...9 months...okay, and where were you before that...I was a bartender...Hmm, okay, how does NO sound?

Nine months...NINE FUCKING MONTHS???

I have had Chefs work for over 7 years to even be good enough to rise to that level and not only be good enough but earn the respect of other Chefs to be even considered for that position and because you are in a branded chain, that ain’t worth shit in the Culinary Industry, you want all that after nine months...DO ONE!

Sod the procedures and policies...In my honest opinion, no one has the right to even call themselves a Chef unless they have been wrung through the mangle clockwise, passed back through anticlockwise and then pressed with a fire iron to create the sharpest crease known to man (or woman for all the feminists out there).

I have discussed my recent move and torment with colleagues, hoping I was wrong in my observations...I wasn't! Not only did they agree with me but became rather irate and infuriated that these cooks (and the company) had the audacity to even use the term 'Chef' in all documents, contracts and conversations.

Thank you Brethren! Its obviously not just me!

The crowning 'turd in the water pipe' is that people actually come to these food factories to eat! They cant get enough of it the deals? The vouchers? The area discount cards? Of course it bloody is! Even worse is the clientèle are middle/upper class...they could afford something better...a greater culinary experience, yet they choose these places because of the deals! I am astounded and confused at this!

We all enjoy food...its a necessity. So why not try your local, independent or managed public house or restaurant? They need the support. They need the business! Not these manufactured, self indulgent, arrogant and obnoxious food factories where you are just another face. A meal ticket to profit and bottom line! A plastic customer who constantly persists for seasoning and parmesan before tasting the dish...You are better than that! We, as Chefs, are better than that! Trust Us...we know what we are talking about and our only aim is to give you a fantastic culinary experience that you will enjoy and savour! That's why we train for so long dealing with copious amounts of crap from our peers to be the best we can be!

Needless to say I am now looking for my path back to my Culinary roots and to excite customers again with properly made, freshly produced, locally sourced cuisine...created by the Chefs of times gone, constantly looking to improve and perfect each dish....striving to create something new, something fun or something exquisite.

Long Live the Old School...Long Live the 'True Chef'!

So on that note, the News...

Okay...He was back again in the papers last week after a sabbatical...Chef Ramsay has been to the local hair transplant facility and had work done...but was it really only his hair?  Click the link and decide for yourselves...

Punch have been brought up on Fire Regulation breaches at one of their London Pubs...about time they got their asses felt (and not in a good way), even if it was a small one...

Okay, a new addition to the blog...a new and fresh section for other sites not related to the Catering Industry but well worth a visit...

First up is Le Garcon de Glasgow!  The site objective is to feature the most creative and interesting individuals in Glasgow and has proven massive in the UK and across the water so for all those fashion mongers and trend setters, get clicking over to Le Garcon de Glasgow and see what style is all about!

Second on my non-culinary site list is something true to my heart...after being there from the beginning, this site is moving fast and gaining notoriety as a promotional and networking tool
for your private, personal and professional life online
...Please click the link and get your account sorted as this site is going to be the forefront of our lives...I give you Waynesworld!  For those wanting a sneak preview of my account then click the link...

Jaillissent mes warthogs bien arrondis merveilleux. Je dois loin et vous offrir bonne nuit…

Je suis de retour!

Le Chef Grincheux