Dish of the Day: The chefs’ code

Dan Doherty

DuckWaffle bean trotter fin 300x225 Dish of the Day: The chefs’ codeRule 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.

Follow Dan on Twitter @DanDoherty_ and visit

Tagged in: , ,
  • Zen Bonobo

    Keep quite what? This is what one finds in copy that is crafted in the technical warehouse district of Mumbai.

    You are quite welcome.

  • QuantamPro

    “Do footballers judge each other publicly? It seems not.”

    … What planet is this guy on?. Has he never heard of the Premier League? Has he ever heard of chaps called Suarez, Ferdinand, Rooney, Cole, Terry, Gerrard, Barton, Ferguson, Benitez, indeed practically every footballer with a twitter account who are more than happy to give their opinions on other players and teams.

    And I am not sure why a newspaper is paying someone too frightened or bootlicking to criticise his colleagues.

  • Daniel Doherty

    It’s not about being ‘frightened’ or ‘bootlicking’, it’s about showing respect to people who share the same industry. And regarding footballers, they are not as open as you imply. Rarely will you hear lampard say Defoe is awful etc.

Most viewed



Property search
Browse by area

Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter