In a week in which Jeremy Clarkson seemed to hog the headlines & social media. There were several winners & losers that just need to be mentioned, along with a prehistoric attitude in a 3Michelin starred kitchen.
The people have spoken
The undoubted winner in this weeks social networks, has been the advent of a new Twitter account.
@WeWantPlates is a genius idea from an irate individual, who has decided that enough is enough. Their Twitter bio reads:
Crusading against serving food on bits of wood and roof tiles. Chips in little buckets, flowerpots and jam-jar drinks can do one too.
It came to my attention in the early part of the week when Guardian restaurant critic, Marina O’Loughlin, replied to the account with this jem of how she’d been served bread recently:
Needless to say, but by midweek the mainstream media had picked up on it, with articles on The Guardian, The Independent & BBC websites to name a few. Then towards the later end of the week, influential US food & restaurant website Eater.com also picked up the story.
Moral of the story chefs; the public have had enough of chips in mini shopping carts or mushy peas in demi tasse cups, so be warned or be shamed on Twitter.
Social media fail of the week
For every Twitter account like @WeWantPlates, there is at least one who really doesn’t get it. If you’re a chef or a foodie with any level of profile or following, then you’ve probably had a tweet from @emiliewright which went on to beg for a retweet & spammed 134 accounts to promote “Masterchef – The Professionals” was casting.
Unfortunately, Masterchef as a TV show has run its course. I wrote about it back in November 2013, concluding with:
Sadly for all the talk of contestants wanting to ‘challenge themselves etc”, what they really want is fame. This is probably more a comment on elements of society in general, but seems quite applicable in this case.
Chefs; if you want to challenge yourselves, do it by all means. Be a sponge & absorb everything around you; learn, watch & study. Remember, the biggest question you can ever ask is
But gameshows are not the way forward.
Think it’s just me? Think again. Grace Dent, restaurant critic for The Evening Standard (all be it understudy for Ms Maschler) wrote a scathing review of the domestic version of Masterchef on Friday. She said:
Yet, as this week’s new series underlines, there is no shortage of berks clamouring for airtime. Here they come, parading their ostentatious moustaches, offering hard-luck tales, threatening us with their avocado cheesecake recipe.
Enough said really, but don’t feel sorry for Torode & his Greengrocer mate, they can both go back to being restaurateurs, as it’s so easy isn’t it John, who said two weeks ago:
People think the restaurant industry is hard and takes no prisoners, but so does baking, so does retail and so does bus driving. You can’t blame your job. You have to control your own destiny and make your own choices.
Maybe ask your Greengrocer mate how his deal with Bespoke Hotels is going, oh wait, that ended.
Prehistoric attitudes still prevail in some kitchens.
Yes we’ve all heard the stories about how brutal kitchens can be, and twenty to thirty years ago they weren’t the places they are now. I joined the industry in 1988, violence and drink & drug abuse was common place. Not just a splif on your split, but the use of class A drugs prior to service wasn’t unknown. I’d like to state for the record, I’ve never taken illegal substances – recreational or otherwise, before anybody starts having a go at me.
But as the years progressed, what was deemed to be acceptable in the workplace became harder to live by for some. Prehistoric attitudes remained, justifying the means to an end.
Now two French culinary giants have come under the microscope after various members & former members of staff have registered complaints of kitchen violence. Notably, the initial report was against global chef brand Joel Robuchon, with 28Michelin star establishments under his command, in February there was a claim & counter claim; Report here in The Telegraph .
This week, newly anointed 3Michelin star chef Yannick Alléno faced similar claims, with a witness claiming:
chef had grabbed one of the staff by the shoulder and kneed him in the thigh.
The CGT union said:
These are individual complaints for acts of violence and harassment. Commited by Alléno & his second in command, Sebastien Lefort.
Full story here: The Guardian
PR fail – the steak that caused the Clarkson fracas.
As I said earlier in this post, the Clarkson fracas had dominated the social media for pretty much all of the week. So one supplier to the venue where it happened decided it would be a good idea to say that it was their fault. Yes, because, according to Yorkshire Dales Meat Company, that the hotel had run out of their steaks Clarkson kicked off, punching a producer and allegedly calling him:
a lazy Irish cunt.
If this was the case, and not the chef going home early, how did the General Manager then cook the Top Gear presenter a Sirloin steak?
Really, if you want to try to piggy back your product on the back of a current news story, at least think it through first.
Full story here: The Meat Journal