A case for punishing bad chefs

hungry-angry-unhappy-man-waiting-for-dinner-poor-service-bad-review-restaurant-pen-ink-drawingDisaster strikes

We’ve all been there. You’ve decided you deserve a nice evening out. You pick a restaurant. Menu looks good, nice vibe, but then the food. The food doesn’t live up to expectations. At first you’re reluctant to criticise. You picked this restaurant, surely you haven’t

cocked this up!

“Ok the mashed potato wasn’t that great but try some of the lamb. “

You make your way gradually around the plate hoping to find some sort of redeeming quality in this meal.

“That looks like instant gravy”

“Why is there a pool of water forming under the vegetables?”

Slowly but surely reality sinks in. You have made a grave error. Your night out is ruined.

You start to think how this is possible. You ordered an expensive cut of meat, how have they got this wrong?

Unfortunately I was victim to this cruel fate quite recently.  My hopes were high going in. All the signs pointed to a good meal – nice *hotel, nice restaurant decor, busy and expensive! I ordered a fillet of lamb meal thinking its a nice cut of meat, you can’t really go wrong.  I was sadly mistaken, and it made me think.

“Is it acceptable to take a fillet of lamb and turn it into a below average meal?”

It seems simple. An expensive cut of meat and a professional chef should equate to a delicious meal, but all to often this isn’t the case and I think more needs to be done to prevent it happening again.

Appreciating the sacrifice

The animal here is central to my argument.  It’s not just that this chef has ruined my night. It’s that if this meal contained meat, they’ve completely squandered that sacrifice the animal has made.  I’m a former vegetarian and while I no longer disagree with the premise of killing an animal for food I do believe that we should respect the animal by allowing it a happy life, reducing suffering at slaughter and appreciating the sacrifice the animal has made by not wasting anything and making the meal as delicious as possible.

Crime and punishment

Now a chef cooking bad food will eventually be punished through the free market.  His/her restaurant will start doing poorly and the chef will be sacked or the restaurant will go bust.  This issue is how long that takes. It could take a month, it could take five years.  How many more animals will have to make the ultimate sacrifice only to be served up on an ugly looking plate with, fake gravy and overdone vegetables?

So what’s the solution? Slow roasting the chef? Public shaming? I’m not sure, for now I’ll have to stick to the free market solution and frustrated blogoshpere ranting.  I do hope people take my point however that next time you have a shit meal don’t just be annoyed on your own behalf, be pissed off on behalf of the animal as well.

*This episode has also taught me to be wary of hotel restaurants. A significant proportion of diners are only there because they are staying in the hotel. The hotel is not exposed to the same levels of competition as on the high street and as a result quality drops.    


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