Welcome back to Restaurant Confessionals, where we talk to the unheard voices of the restaurant industry from both the front-of-house (FOH) and back-of-house (BOH) about what really goes on behind the scenes at your favorite establishments.
Chef/Restaurant Owner, 35, Los Angeles.
Truth in restaurants is super hidden. For instance, a table will get a pasta that's al dente, and they'll say, "This is not al dente. This is raw. I've been to Italy. And I ate in all the best restaurants in Rome. And the pasta was cooked much more than this."
And I just go, "OK. I'm sorry you don't like it." But what I really want to say is, "Just because you've been to Italy doesn't mean you know anything. The truth is Rome is so touristy now, that when [my husband and I] went we were disgusted by how horrible the food was. Horrible." And other Italian chefs will say, "Oh my God, you ate in Rome? Don't eat in Rome. Just visit Rome to see the sights and bring a picnic lunch or charcuterie. Don't eat the pasta."
But I let it go because I don't want to argue. More often than not, I'll get the guest who will then go, "The chef is a cocky asshole who thinks he's better than me and tried to trick me into this." We're now afraid to explain food or educate guests because it's a fear of a bad review. Allowing a guest to actually learn something becomes a risk that people don't take anymore, which is sad.
I think customers forget that when they go into a new experience, you should balance it. You should eat something that you are going to love but maybe try one thing new. And you might surprise yourself.
[Most customers] are great, but then you get these crazy people. It's so disgusting. I wish people had better manners. This did not happen 50 years ago. You did not go into a restaurant and swear at your server and tell them "go fuck yourself" if they explain that a dish can't be altered. What the hell? People are crazy. And customers think it's OK to swear at servers because they're indentured servants, apparently.
I think everyone should work in the service industry for at least one year. Then they'll think twice about the next time they scream at the barista or the person behind the counter.
But at least 95 percent of the people who come in are nice people who do treat the servers well, and are appreciative. And even if they don't like something, they still try it. It's sad that that five percent kind of poops on it. It's a small percentage. But they're very mighty. They have the power to ruin someone's night. They are relentless and make sure that you feel their misery.
This first appeared on MUNCHIES in December 2016.