Dish of the Day: The chefs’ code
Rule number 1 of chef club, don’t slate your brother chefs. Only chains can be slated by a chef; when there’s a face to put to the restaurant, it’s off limits for criticism. Nobody really tells us the rules, but we all know the score. Have an amazing meal – praise it to the gods. Average and you go for a nondescript comment. When it’s bad – it’s silence.
Have a look on twitter, some chefs will say where they’re going, then you’ll see very little after that. I leave it to you to decide whether that is the sign of a bad meal and respecting the code – I think I know. Is it like that in other industries? Do actors keep quite when watching other performers? Do footballers judge each other publicly? It seems not.
Only once have I broken the code. But this was different. It was really bad, like, offensive bad. I didn’t set out to though. It’s a cool place in Soho. Very successful and I’m sure they work bloody hard. Lots of people like it. Me? I hate it. With a passion. Awful food; worse service. I vividly remember asking them if the look-like-it-had-been-mauled burger I ate was as it should be. And them, embarrassed (I hope) confirming it was indeed.
I wrote to them after – but there was barely a response. I wasn’t at the Duck and Waffle then with my own kitchen, so maybe I meant less to them. And maybe I felt a bit less constrained. Either way I felt bad about it: as if it’s undoubted awfulness did not justify me shouting on the internet about it. But should I have done? Like any paying customer don’t I have some right?
To be honest, I’m jealous of people who have the freedom to voice their opinions – because I often find I am biting my tongue to the point of self-amputation.chef, food, restaurant
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