The knackered Chef: A week of reflection.

Never short of anything to say this week I’ve decided not to review a venue simply because I had some feedback after last week’s article, it would seem that I may have rubbed a few people up the wrong way and if I did then I do apologise however as I stated at the very start of my article I rove Herne Hill and the close proximity visiting local business’s to promote and champion all of which I do in my own time, call it a hobby if you will. An acute knowledge of food and drink bias’s me in one direction.

I’m not cutting edge when it comes to food I’m traditional as are the values that I expect from any venue be it either a florist, bookshop or a well-known high street food chain, service is at the heart of my core values as is an understanding of how hard people like yourself work to afford the finer things in life like an evening out with family. Money no matter how much we spend or have as an expendable resource is always hard earned and therefore when passing it to another business one expects a certain level of competence such politeness, compassion, a cheerful disposition, customer service and a varied knowledge of a product are but a few key aspects we look for when we choose where and how we spend.

The venue in question wasn’t and won’t be named out of professional courtesy, sadly I did have a less than pleasant experience with little or no time to source another venue I wrote what I felt was a fair reflection of my visit.

We’re reminded on a daily basis that no matter what our appointment we have to bring our A game to stay ahead of the competition, second or third isn’t enough. Criticism although harsh at times does cause friction that being said if I did name and say it was a great venue and something similar happened to your good self then I’d have been in the firing line I should imagine.

I’d be lying if I was to say that in the best part of thirty years in the business that I had never had either a complaint or a less than favourable review, even the very best no matter who they are subject to scrutiny it’s how we respond that matters. Change happens if not we stagnate and become everything we aspire not to be.

Failure drives us to succeed in attaining what we perceive as an ultimate in what we choose as our WHY!, sugar coating the truth isn’t my what I do as I see it as being dishonest “Objection my Lord” I hear you cry, I’m reminded of a time when a lovely couple came to one of my restaurants I couldn’t do enough for them they’d been on the hunt for a location to hold their 25th  wedding anniversary. Out came the red carpet along with all the bells and whistles, with Basil Faulty at his very best I set out to win this lucrative reception, I’d been told that there would be upwards of eighty covers and the bar would be open as long as they could have a closed venue. It was a Saturday afternoon which was a busy time, however I didn’t care I’d seen money.

In doing so I threw my dart and missed the board, neglecting forty out of forty-two sat in my restaurant I let my standard slip, my focus had been shifted and efforts had centred around two people, and the only people that noticed it were the two I was trying so hard to impress, the gentleman at the end of his visit commented that I’d not collected glasses from several tables and he’d noticed a few anxious faces.

What could I say he was correct I’d tainted his experience by not paying attention to detail, I lost what could have been an opportunity to showcase my talent because I didn’t perform at my best. Not one customer commented about uncollected glasses that day but one did notice something that could possibly have interrupted his night to celebrate something that he would want to remember for the rest of his life. He told me that he would unfortunately not be holding his anniversary at my venue.

Professionally I maintained my composure however inside I was seething with rage how dare he it was only a few glasses, out came my passive aggressiveness when I walked back into the kitchen slamming my hand down and throwing a temper tantrum, strangely enough I’ve never left an empty glass on a table. His opinion made such a vast difference to a young man setting out in business and a valuable lesson had been learned that day his criticisms pushed me to another level I became obsessive about customer service learning the true value of how to pay attention to the smallest details.

Throughout the years I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs more recently the downs did outweigh the ups, however I’ve always taken responsibility for my actions.

If I did in anyway offend anyone with my article please accept my sincere apologies, when I write these articles they are my opinion and they do not represent those of the Herne Hill Forum, I always intend to represent myself as a voice for the businesses of Herne Hill that promotes the hard work and good they do, I’m passionate about what I do and never undertake to give any less than 100%.  I try where I can to be objective and constructive.

Until next week.

KC